Friday, January 02, 2009

Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany, 2009

The Solemnity of the Epiphany is a traditional time to announce the major feasts and celebrations of the Church for the upcoming year. Before the advent of online calendars, Blackberries, perpetual calendars, and handheld organizers, the formal announcement at Epiphany was the usual way the Church made known the date of Easter and all the celebrations that are dependent upon its date.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the date of Easter moves each year because it is affected by the lunar and solar cycles. The Council of Nicaea (325 AD) determined that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, or first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere). (The Orthodox Churches use a different calendar system, and so their date for Easter is different. You can read about the difference in Easter calendaring here.)

The Sacramentary Supplement, in which you can find the proclamation, states: “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” (#2).

The proclamation can be sung (a cappella) or spoken by a deacon, cantor, or reader at the ambo after the gospel, after the homily, or after the prayer after Communion.

The text of the proclamation remains fixed except for the dates for that year which must be inserted for the proclamation. Below are the dates for 2009 (in red).


Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany

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 ninth of April
and the evening of the twelfth 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 twenty-fifth of February.
The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated
on the twenty-fourth of May*.
Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter,
will be celebrated on the thirty-first of May.
And this year the First Sunday of Advent
will be on the twenty-ninth 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 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.

*In the western dioceses of the United States, the celebration of the Ascension is moved to the seventh Sunday of Easter.

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