I learned about something new this Epiphany. Well, what I learned is not new. It was just new to me…The Proclamation of the Date of Easter.
The proclamation of the date of Easter and other moveable feasts on Epiphany comes from a time when calendars were not readily available. It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance since many celebrations of the liturgical year are calculated in relation to its date.
Although now we can easily find the date of Easter (all we have to do is ask Siri or Google-it), the Epiphany proclamation of the Easter date still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the death and resurrection of the Lord. After all, we would not remember the Magi visiting a manger if there was no empty tomb.
The Announcement of Easter
and the Moveable Feasts
Know, dear brothers and sisters, that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God’s mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Savior.
On the 17th day of February will fall Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the 4th day of April, you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the 13th day [or, where applicable, the 16th day] of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the 23rd day of May, the feast of Pentecost.
On the 6th day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
On the 28th day of November, the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(From the Roman Missal)