Chaplain’s Corner | The Christmas Season 2013-2014 (December 29, 2013)

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Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Even though it has been over forty years since the reform of the Church calendar, there is still some misunderstanding about the feasts the Church celebrates after Christmas.  This was the part of the calendar that was changed the most.  Since our parish also provides the Traditional Latin Mass with the traditional calendar it is important to make some clarifications on what is being celebrated on each Sunday and weekday.  The Traditional Latin Masses will follow the traditional Catholic calendar as it was before the reform of 1970.  For us that means the Monday through Friday daily Masses at 7:30 a.m. and the Sunday Masses at 11:00 a.m. as well as the First Friday Mass at 6:30 p.m. and other special occasions.  Whereas our ordinary form Masses will follow the calendar according to the reforms established in 1970 and after.

In the traditional calendar the Christmas season, or Christmastide, continues after Christmas Day until the Commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord on Monday, January 13th.  The Epiphany is fixed on January 6th, which also falls on a Monday this year.  This day is the traditional twelfth day of Christmas.  The Season of Epiphany, or Epiphanytide, is celebrated after January 6th up to and including February 15th, which, therefore, overlaps with the Christmas season for a few days.  February 2nd, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Candlemas Day, occurs on Sunday this year.  Sunday, December 29th is the Sunday in the Octave of Christmas; Wednesday, January 1st, which is a holy day of obligation, is the Octave Day of Christmas or the Circumcision; Sunday, January 5th is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus; Sunday, January 12th is the Feast of the Most Holy Family; the 2nd and 3rd Sundays after Epiphany are January 19th and 26th; the 5th and final Sunday after Epiphany is February 9th.  In the traditional calendar the three Sundays preparing for Lent (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima) are February 16th, 23rd, and March 2nd.  Ash Wednesday is on March 5, 2014.

The calendar used in the ordinary form is different.   The Christmas season continues after Christmas Day until Sunday, January 12th, which is the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord.  The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on Sunday, December 29th; Wednesday, January 1st, which is a holy day of obligation, is the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God; Sunday, January 5th is the Epiphany of the Lord.  There are no Sundays after the Epiphany and since the Epiphany is no longer fixed on January 6th in most countries there can no longer be the twelve days of Christmas, at least liturgically.  Since the Christmas season ends well before Lent and there are no preparatory Sundays before Lent, the Sundays after the Lord’s Baptism revert to Sundays in Ordinary Time.  The exception this year only is the Feast of the Presentation, or Candlemas Day, which falls on Sunday, February 2nd.

The Church has good reason for breaking up the mysteries of our faith for us to celebrate throughout the year.   Little by little we drink in the tremendous Christ Event.  The key to approach these profound and sacred mysteries of our faith is to realize that what happened then is happening now.  These sacred events of long ago reach out to us to bring us God’s love and grace in the here and now.  They are more relevant than the front pages of our newspapers or the latest internet news.  We must stand read to respond.   The invitation remains constant and so must our response.  That is the way it will be always.

God bless you and your families In The Year of Our Lord 2014, Anno Domini MMXIV.

Yours in the Divine Savior and the Holy Family,

The Rev. Mark G. Mazza, Chaplain

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