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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Epiphany

Today is Epiphany.
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In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (post Vatican II Novus Ordo) it still falls on January 6, even though most conferences of bishops have transferred it to Sunday. At least when Christmas is on a Tuesday, Epiphany is celebrated on its proper day in the Novus Ordo liturgy universally. In Rome and some other places, it is always on January 6.
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Part of this post and a few below give my opinion, shared by many, on the transfer of Epiphany and Ascension from their actual day as well as the loss of the Gesmima Sundays as you will read below and the Rogation and Ember days and Holy Days of Obligation. As you read, keep in mind this verse from Psalm 73: "They have set fire to thy sanctuary: they have defiled the dwelling place of thy name on the earth. They said in their heart, the whole kindred of them together: Let us abolish all the festival days of God from the land."
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Before most people could read and prior to the publication and availabilty of calendars, it was necessary to advise the faithful of the dates of the major feasts and seasons. Except for those fixed on a calendar day, many are fixed to the date of Easter and it was on Epiphany that these dates were announced. Many don't realise that this proclamation can still be done, in English and in the reformed liturgy.
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Here are some presents from Vox for Little Christmas. Below is the text of the proclamation in Latin as in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite--the Traditional Latin Mass. In the Novus Ordo in Latin and its vernacular translations, the reference to the pre-Lented Gesima Sundays (a loss!) are removed. The English translation is from the United States Catholic Conference (now USCCB). Don't let the length of the English text confuse you. Latin can say much more in fewer words because one word can mean a phrase in English. I've also included two videos; the trio from Felix Mendellsohn's great Oratorio, Christus. You can view and listen to it first in German and then in English; remember to turn the player to your left off.
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Noveritis, fratres carissimi, quod annuente Dei misericordia, sicut de Nativitate Domini nostri Jesu Christi gavisi sumus, ita et de Resurrectione ejusdem Salvatoris nostri gaudium vobis annuntiamus. Die vigesima Februarii erit Dominica in Septuagesima. Nona Martii dies Cinerum, et initium jejunii sacratissimae Quadragesimae. Vigesima quarta Aprilis sanctum Pascha Domini nostri Jesu Christi cum gaudio celebrabitis. Secunda Junii erit Ascensio Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Duodecima ejusdem Festum Pentecostes. Vigesima tertia ejusdem Festum sacratissimi Corporis Christi. Vigesima septima Novembris Dominica prima Adventus Domini nostri Jesu Christi, cui est honor et gloria, in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Here is a little less than a minute from last year in St. Peter's Basilica. It is in Latin. This is for the Novus Ordo liturgy (yes, it is normally celebrated in Latin) so the words above would be slightly edited to remove the Gesima Sundays. Note that the music is the same as the Exultet from the Easter Vigil. Here it is sung in English to the dates from 2009.
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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 of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation. Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the twenty-first day of April and the evening of the twenty-third day of April, Easter Sunday being on the twenty-fourth day 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 ninth day of March. The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the second day of June. Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the twelfth day of June. And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the twenty-seventh day of November. Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christin the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed. To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen.

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