The Epiphany Proclamation

The Announcement of Easter and Movable Feasts – also known as the Epiphany Proclamation, is this for 2017:[gview file=”http://www.praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Epiphany-Proclamation-2017.pdf”]

It is for places where the Ascension and Corpus Christi are transferred to Sunday. The opening phrase is given only as “brothers and sisters,” which in the Missal is the option in parentheses after “brethren.”

I suppose no one “needs” this information in this form anymore – you can google on your phone and find the date of anything anywhere. But I think it is a good thing to be reminded, in the liturgy of Epiphany, how we Christians keep time and attempt to order our lives.

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16 comments

  1. I think the most salutary aspect of the Epiphany proclamation is the way it links the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle of feast to the Lent-Easter-Pentecost cycle. Given the cultural emphasis on Christmas, it is easy to miss the true centrality of Easter to the liturgical calendar. And the Epiphany proclamation makes the connection in the most subtle of ways: its musical “quotation” of the Exultet.

  2. If it were merely a matter of conveying information, it would be otiose, to say the least: better to put the dates in the Bulletin, pin them to the noticeboard or tell people to google it. But I think the proclamation has a theological point – or several, actually.
    Fritz has made a good point.
    Another is to see that the proclamation is saying that God is made manifest in time, and especially in the celebration of the liturgy. We may ask whether this so, given the evil in the world. But the gifts carried by the magi may be seen as three answers customarily given to that “problem of evil”. Gold is for a king. Let God be king. Let God be God. Who am I to question Providence? Incense speaks of mystery and Godhead. How can I comprehend God’s plan? Perhaps some evil is necessary for some good: how could compassion exist, were there no suffering? But these two answers leave us unconvinced. There was, however, a third gift: myrh. For death. God is not distant and uninvolved in our suffering: he entered our world, took our flesh and suffered in it, even unto death. This is not an answer, precisely, as to why the good suffer, but it takes us deeper into the question. And it allows us to see that Christ is made manifest particularly in his Cross, and in all those “who make up in the flesh whatever is lacking in the sufferings of Christ” to quote that rather bold verse of Paul (Col 1:24)

  3. Might make an interesting poster or bulletin cover for places where there’s no one who can sing the text adequately.

  4. Thanks for posting this. Because we plan to do the Epiphany Proclamation at our English and Spanish Masses this weekend, you’ve saved me some time. I was going to edit my scanned version from Appendix I of the Missal.
    Could anyone provide a Spanish version with music? The text, but no music, is given in the two editions of the Misal Romano that I have.
    Thanks also to Father Martin and Deacon Fritz for commenting on the significance of the Proclamation. Happy New Year to all.

  5. This is a good example of something that I once found very interesting, even exciting, but now question its value in pastoral practice. If I stood up and chanted this at Mass on Sunday, how many people would know or understand why? Out of the 1000 people gathered each weekend, perhaps just two (the priest and myself), maybe four or five at best. That would leave around 995 people wondering why I was up there going on and on about God-knows-what. I suppose I could do it anyway, then post a video online for my traditionalist friends to congratulate me and suggest next year to chant it in Latin. But meanwhile I would bore or annoy 995 people who I am supposed to lead in prayer, not show off my knowledge of arcane liturgical practices.

    Catechesis, you say? Ah yes, I could write a scholarly article for the bulletin explaining the rich history and tradition of this practice, which few would read, fewer would care about, and would likely persuade no one who is not already inclined to such things. I am reminded of my friend in a traditional-leaning parish who greatly dislikes the music and is even more put off by the weekly tome in the bulletin wherein the music director tries to educate all these poor dumb folk about their own rich history and tradition which they have so cavalierly discarded in favor of that banal pablum of contemporary music! My friend likens this to a mother explaining to a toddler why he should eat his broccoli like a good boy.

    This is why I no longer chant the Epiphany Proclamation and a good many other such things.

    1. @Scott Pluff: “This is why I no longer chant the Epiphany Proclamation and a good many other such things.”

      Chanting the 3 minute proclamation on Epiphany (Sunday-Transferred), because it’s something from the Old Rite that is transferable to the new Mass, is a small concession to those like me who like tradition and look for such things that mark the day as extra-ordinary and special or different from the banality of Ordinary Sundays. Thanks for making the tent big enough for everyone.

  6. Scott Pluff :This is why I no longer chant the Epiphany Proclamation and a good many other such things.

    Would that include the Exultet at the Easter Vigil? I suspect that out of 1000 people you get at the Vigil (in my dreams), 995 wonder why you are up there going on and on about God-knows-what. In fact, probably the same thing could be said about the Eucharistic Prayer.

    Also, catechesis doesn’t need to be done in the form of a scholarly article. It can be a sentence or two.

    Of course, I’m the guy who thought it was a good idea to preach about Nestorius.

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt:
      Good point, though it’s generally a self-selecting crowd that attends the Easter Vigil who know what they are in for. Anything optional that extends the length of a regular Sunday Mass is highly suspect in the eyes of the faithful, so it had better be something really good if you’re going to make them five minutes late for brunch!

      1. @Scott Pluff:

        Maybe that bored look the faithful people in the pews give you really is their way of saying to you, “Stop being so presumptuous and condescending towards us. We know and understand and care more than you think we do.”

      2. @Scott Pluff:
        “Anything optional that extends the length of a regular Sunday Mass”

        Of course, by that standard, we should never use refrain-based settings of the Gloria.

      3. @Scott Pluff:
        Just as people have come to know and expect what takes place during the Easter Vigil – by experiencing it… and coming back for more – so, if the Epiphany Proclamation was made part of that day’s celebration, would they come to eventually know and remember, “When the kings come, we read/sing/hear the calendar.” Even better, they might get the point Martin Wallace has made.

  7. I know that when the Christmas Proclamation (Kalendra?) was chanted a few years back, many people were moved to tears.

    I think if chanted well with a little catechesis this could also be meaningful.

  8. “Anything optional that extends the length of a regular Sunday Mass is highly suspect in the eyes of the faithful,”

    A common problem, to be sure, but if that’s the case, the catechetical needs run much deeper than explaining obscure practices in the bulletin.

  9. I realize that there are parishes which attract a good number of well-formed, highly-engaged Catholics. These may include metropolitan cathedrals, monasteries, seminaries, religious communities, certain university chapels, historic churches, traditionalist parishes, oratories, and other such intentional communities. All of these serve the needs of their particular congregations which may be attuned to more traditional expressions of worship. For these parishes, chanting the Epiphany Proclamation may be formational, appropriate, and well-received.

    But there are also a good many churches like the one I serve: large suburban parishes, not particularly historic or beautiful, which are facing steady declines in attendance and engagement. Our primary task is not to serve a stable group of well-formed Catholics who appreciate the finer points of ritual, but a mass of loosely-attached cradle Catholics who, on any particular Sunday morning, might be found on the golf course, out to brunch, or trying out one of the thriving evangelical mega-churches just up the road (which are filled with ex-Catholics, BTW).

    God has called me to focus on attracting, retaining, and engaging people who already have one foot out the door. In my experience, the most effective way to engage these people is with contemporary styles of Catholic liturgy with an emphasis on music, message, and ministry. I appreciate and honor those parishes that maintain traditional forms of worship, but that is not where God has led me these past several years.

    I suspect that many of the regulars on this blog have spent a lifetime in exceptional Catholic communities which has shaped their perspective of what a “normal Catholic” is and how to serve them. I would suggest that many Catholics have no interest in things like Epiphany Proclamations but are thirsting for preaching that speaks to their lived experience, music that speaks their vernacular musical language, and being shown a path to discipleship.

    1. @Scott Pluff:
      I can respect all of this, Scott, but I wonder if you’re overusing a simple binary of “contemporary” and “traditional” here. Different communities will have very different sensibilities, to be sure, but it can be a lot more of a mix-‘n’-match. My last parish, for example, would never be mistaken for a “traditional” parish in any typical sense. But when we chanted these proclamations, for example, they rolled with it and loved it. That’s not because of any overarching association with a particular worship “style,” but because they had a long formative history that left them with a fundamental openness to all kinds of experiences. That’s the goal of liturgical catechesis, ISTM: not that any one practice has been “explained” to them, but that they have developed a capacity for appreciating and authentically worshipping with what the liturgy has to offer, even without explanations or justifications.

  10. @Scott Pluff:
    Another challenge for such suburban parishes is that they can also effectively repel non-traditionalist people who want what for lack of a better term is often called a “higher” liturgical praxis within the reformed postconciliar liturgy and who end up having to chase the few pastors and/or directors of music who cultivate such approaches as they move from place to place in a given diocese. The elimination of “gestures” to such folks can also be costly.

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