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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany

Sadly, very few parishes, if any, down here in the South Texas hinterland will proclaim these beautiful words during this evening's or tomorrow's Masses to mark the Solemnity of the Epiphany.

According to the rubrics found in the Sacramentary Supplement:

"The Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany dates from a time when calendars were not too readily available.  It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date.  The number of weeks that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter.

"Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany Proclamation still has value.  it is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year."

And so, here is this beautiful and ancient Proclamation:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

The glory of the Lord has shown 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 teh evening of the 21st of April and the evening of the 24th of April.

Each Easter - as on each Sunday - the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has forever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.  Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the 9th of March.  The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the 5th of June.  Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the 12th of June.  And this year, the First Sunday of Advent will be on the 27th of November.

Likewise, the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and the 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.

This beautiful proclamation puts everything into perspective.  Every liturgical celebration of the Church finds its authentic meaning in the Paschal Mystery, even Christmas.  The Paschal Mystery was precisely why the Eternal Son of the Father, the Eternal Word, deigned to leap down from heaven and become incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virign Mary.  He was born in time so that He could give His flesh for the life of the world.

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