Only the beginning…

January 7, 2010 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

Before people had ready access to calendars, it became a custom at the Epiphany to announce the dates of the feasts that would occur later in the year: Septuagesima (pre-Lent), Ash Wednesday, Easter Day, the Ascension, Pentecost, and the First Sunday in Advent. A modern form of the announcement is this, for the year 2010:

Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us until the day of his return. Through the rhythms and times and seasons, let us celebrate the mystery of salvation. Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his Last Supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his resurrection celebrated between the evening of the 1st of April and the evening of the 4th of April. Each Easter, as on each Sunday, the holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the 17th of February. The Ascension of our Lord will be commemorated on the 13th of May, and the joyful conclusion of Easter, the Day of Pentecost, will be celebrated on the 23rd of May. Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ in the feasts of Mary, the Mother of our Lord, in the feasts of the apostles, martyrs, and saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, the Lord of time and history, be endless praise, forever and ever.

The tradition of the announcement of the church year has been preserved in some places and revived in many others because it teaches that the celebration of the Nativity is only the beginning of the liturgical celebration of Christ’s life and that it has its culmination in the Paschal Mystery, the center of the liturgical year. Moreover, the announcement on the feast of the Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, is an anticipation of the parousia, when Christ will come again in all his glory to gather the nations under his gentle rule.

from Philip Pfatteicher, New Book of Festivals and Commemorations

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Sermon Advent 4 – December 20, 2009 Sermon Epiphany 2

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