RSS feeds

RSS feeds (sometimes called "Web feeds") are a way of presenting changing content in a format that can be understood by a computer program.

A typical example would be a news site that publishes new stories regularly. Here are some of the ways you could use that site's RSS feed:

Live bookmarks
If your browser understands feeds (the latest versions all do) then you will see a little feed icon Feed icon in the address bar. Clicking on it creates a link that points to the summary (Firefox calls them "Live Bookmarks"). Your browser regularly checks to see if a new item has been published, and warns you in some way if it has. You don't need to keep on visiting a page to see if anything new has appeared on it.
Browser plug-ins
For some browsers, plug-ins are available that can do extra things for you, such as display a summary list of recent blog items in a sidebar. Sage Reader for Firefox is an excellent example.
Feed readers
You can also install self-sufficient feed readers that are independent of your browser. These are much less common than they were, but they don't depend on the browser understanding feeds, so you can carry on using an older browser if you want.
Syndicating the content
"Syndication" means incorporating the items from a feed into a web page of your own, so that your web page changes whenever a new item is published. For example, if you have an account on iGoogle or My Yahoo!, you can customise your home page to incorporate RSS feeds. Wordpress has similar tools. If you have your own web site then tools are available for incorporating external feeds into it.

Available Universalis feeds

Mass Readings (today)
Readings for today. Because "Today" means different things in different parts of the world (for instance, Thursday evening in America is Friday morning in Europe) you may need to check that Universalis knows which time zone you are in before you try using this link.
Mass Readings (3 days)
Readings for yesterday, today and tomorrow (GMT). This wider range means that you don't have to worry about time zones. For instance, if you are in New Zealand and it is Sunday afternoon at Greenwich, it will be Monday morning where you are, and this feed (covering Saturday, Sunday and Monday) will contain the texts you need.
Weekly summary
The feast of the day, plus links to the Hours and Mass readings, for a week ahead.
3-day summary
The same, but for yesterday, today and tomorrow only.

All these feeds are in Atom 1.0 format, which all modern feed readers can understand.

Using these feeds

EITHER Go to the Mass page or the About Today page. In your browser's address bar you will see a feed icon Feed icon next to the page address. Click on it, and your browser will give you some options for which feed to use and how to use it. Other tools such as feed readers and syndication sites may also be able to "auto-discover" the Universalis feeds if you give them the page address to look at.

OR you can get the address of the feed you want like this:

  1. Right-click on one of the following links: Mass Readings (today) · Mass Readings (3 days) · 3-day summary · Weekly summary
  2. In the menu that pops up, ask your browser to copy the link or shortcut.
  3. Go to the program that is asking for the feed address, and paste the address into it.
  4. BUT – if you are putting the link into a web page for other people to use, please read on, to see how to specify the calendar and time zone as part of the feed address.

Calendars and time zones

When you visit our site and ask our server for a page (or a banner or a feed), there are two things it is impossible for our server to know all by itself. One is the day on which you visited the site, because that depends on where you are. At 10.30am GMT on Thursday at Greenwich it can be half past midnight on Friday on Christmas Island but still only half an hour before midnight on Wednesday on Midway Island. When you make an ordinary visit to one of our normal web pages, the page contains a little Javascript code which will ask your computer “What is the real time where you are?” and adjust the page accordingly. But this little piece of extra intelligence can’t be done for banners or for RSS feeds, and if you are far away from GMT then you need to specify the time zone explicitly as part of the address you use for the banner or feed.

The other thing our site doesn’t know is where you are liturgically. Which region is it? Which country? Which diocese? Everyone’s calendar is subtly different, and sometimes more than subtly. For instance, in parts of the Middle East Sundays are celebrated on Friday as well as on Sunday. Again, when you’re just visiting the site for yourself, you only have to follow the “Settings” or “Current calendar” link once, and after that your computer will remember the setting; but with banners and feeds, this doesn’t happen.

You can specify both the time zone and the calendar as part of the web address or URL, so that people are seeing what you expect them to see. For example, the image location for a Universalis banner using Eastern Standard Time and the USA "Ascension on Sunday" calendar would be:


See How to Link to Us for more details of this extra information and how it should be formatted.