Life and Soul

Omnium Gatherum

According to the older, traditional Roman liturgical calendar, we are now observing the Season of Epiphany. The newer, post-conciliar calendar reduces this season to what is commonly called “Ordinary” Time. The feast of Epiphany, which derives from the Greek for “manifestation” (of the Lord’s divinity during his earthly life) has been celebrated as a feast for longer than Christmas. This is the last major feast before we move into the next great liturgical cycle of the year, Lent and Easter.

Speaking of feasts, y’all should know that on Epiphany it is customary to announce solemnly the dates of the major movable feasts of the year. Pace Ernest Hemingway, a movable feast changes its date each year because of the vagaries of the moon. While Christmas and, 12 days later, Epiphany are fixed to December 25 and January 6, Easter, and therefore the pre-Lent Sundays and Ash Wednesday, slide around depending on the date of the full moon after the vernal equinox.

That means that Pentecost also shifts, because it falls 50 days after Easter. You have to know these dates, of course, so you can plan your lives around the liturgical calendar.

How are they announced? After the Gospel on Epiphany, a cleric wearing a white cope sings the Noveritis, from the first word, “Let y’all know”. It sounds a little like the Exsultet, sung on the Vigil of Easter. Here is a translation into which I have inserted the proper dates for the year of our salvation 2016:

Know, dearly beloved Brethren, that by the mercy of God, as we have been rejoicing in the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, so also do we announce unto you the joy of the Resurrection of the same our Saviour. Septuagesima Sunday will be on the 24th day of January. Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the fast of most holy Lent will be on the 10th of February.

On the 27th of March we shall celebrate with joy the holy Pasch of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ will be on the 5th of May. The feast of Pentecost on the 15th of the same month. The feast of Corpus Christi on the 26th of the same. On the 27th of November will occur the first Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom are honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.