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Proclamation of the date of Easter on Epiphany

There is an ancient tradition of announcing the date of Easter on the Feast of the Epiphany. In the past, when calendars were not common, it clearly had functional value to give the date and feasts dependant on the date of Easter Day. It still has value as a proclamation of the centrality of the resurrection of Christ in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year.

The proclamation may occur after the Gospel, homily, or after the prayer after communion [if blessing chalk (after communion), the earlier options may be preferred so as not to clutter the conclusion of the Eucharist]. It may be sung or said, by the deacon, or other(s).

Here is a version for two lectors. It can be adapted in a number of ways – including being proclaimed by one lector.

Lector 1 stands at the Ambo, Lector 2 stands at the Cantor Lectern

Lector 1
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.

Lector 2
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.

Lector 1
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.

Lector 2 Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the ninth day of March.

Lector 1 The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the second
day of June.

Lector 2 Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the twelfth day of June.

Lector 1 And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the twenty-seventh day of November.

Lector 2
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.

Lector 1
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. [Amen. Amen.]

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Epiphany chalk house blessing

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7 Responses to Proclamation of the date of Easter on Epiphany

  1. Perfect timing Bosco, thank you. I was just thinking about this and was going to look it us. We are doing both the blessing of chalk and the proclamation at our Epiphany liturgy.

    A couple of questions: 1) why chalk? 2) I remember reading about the proclamation in the BCP (I think) but cannot now find it. Do you happen to know where that is?

    Great and timely posts. Thanks again. Peace

    Mike+

    • Mike, I can’t quickly answer the BCP question (I presume you mean TEC’s BCP?). Maybe another reader can. I guess chalk works practically on stone, wood, concrete, or brick houses. It is not permanent. It is quite earthy. As I quoted in my post, “Chalk is made of the substance of the earth and is used by teachers to instruct and by children to play. As the image of the chalk fades, we will remember the sign we have made and transfer it to our hearts and our habits.”

  2. Here in the U.S. I think the only communion to transfer Epiphany to a Sunday (this year Jan 2) is the Roman Catholic Church. The Revised Common Lectionary and the “old” Episcopal Lectionary seem to mark Jan 2 as the second sunday after (or of) Christmas, and Jan 9 the first sunday after Epiphany. In this context have you ever heard of the Easter proclamation on a “non-Epiphany Sunday”? Or if you want the proclamation do you just have to go to church on Thursday?

    And do these question make sense?

    • The question makes good sense, Joel. For those communities that celebrate Epiphany next week Thursday, would you use the proclamation Sunday 2 or 9 January? I’m hoping some others might chime in with their experience. My thought is that if you have a service Thursday to which most of your regulars come, you probably wouldn’t want to repeat it. But if it’s the half-dozen midweek regulars only, then you might (or might only use it on Sunday?) – particularly as it’s not that closely tied to the readings? Others?

  3. The Episcopal RCL also offers the Epiphany gospel reading as an option on Christmas 2, assuming, I guess, that most will not go to the mid-week Epiphany Feast Day. This offers a chance for the principal service to focus on the Feast of Epiphany. I will still celebrate Epiphany on January 6. We are using the Luke text, Jesus in the temple at age 12, for Christmas 2. I had not thought about reading the proclamation on Sunday and glad this question was asked. Liturgically and traditionally it seems it should be on January 6, pastorally there are good reasons to read it again on Christmas 2 especially since we will have only about 20 on the Feast of the Epiphany.

    Peace, Mike+

  4. I read the proclamation at our Epiphany service, on the feast day itself. We also do our pageant at this service, which helps boost attendance.

    Frankly, I think transferring everything to Sunday sets a low expectation for our communities. We should expect people to come to the principal feast days. If we don’t expect it, why would they come?

    The chalk blessing is not found in the Episcopal Church’s BCP, nor is it in our Book of Occasional Services. As you’ll see in my blog post to which Bosco links, we cobbled our rite together from several sources. This practice is increasing in the Episcopal Church, at least by my observation. It’s a nifty way of connecting our common liturgical life to private home devotions.

    Pax,
    Scott+

    • Thanks so much, Scott, for your comment. I’m all for raising thresholds etc. I’m also conscious that here in the Southern Hemisphere most people are on the beach! Maybe we’ve got to become creative and get the proclamation onto the beach… my point being that getting people to church on a Thursday when most are (or should be!) camping and on the beach is ummm… difficult (ps. remember the percentage of Christians in USA – we have about 10% Christian here – so in USA there is still the cultural context, plus the what do we do in winter context). Interestingly NZ Anglicanism has refused to transfer Corpus Christi to a Sunday; here of course that is a… winter feast 🙂

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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