Q: In the Philippines, the Patronal Feast of the church/parish is a big feast. It is happily celebrated as a Solemnity in that particular parish church. And with the Filipinos penchant for exuberance and fiestas, the feast day of the patron is indeed a big solemnity both liturgical and outside the liturgy. It is also one of the rare occasions that the Bishop comes to visit the parish and celebrate Mass for the parishioners. Newly renovated churches and some newly established parishes schedule the dedication of their churches on the same day of their patron’s feast. I believe, in the coming years, the Solemnity of the Anniversary of the Dedication will trump the Solemnity of the saint in that locality perpetually because the Anniversary is a Feast of the Lord. However, some bishops insist of doing it on the same day. Could the celebration of the Anniversary of the Dedication be resolved by the bishop issuing a decree that its celebration will be held some other day, the Sunday before the actual date, for example?
A: Regarding a bishop choosing another day for the dedication anniversary, all I can tell you is that that happened in the history of my own diocese. We have some parishes who celebrate the anniversary on a different date at the decision of the bishop. I suggest you consult with local canonists, however, to make sure.