While a day like Christmas is fixed in our minds and on the calendars on December 25th, many of the important feasts of the Church year move, based upon the date that Easter is set. Easter changes each year moving to the Sunday after the “Paschal Full Moon,” and can fall between March 22 and April 25.
In ancient times before calendars were common, most people did not know the dates for the upcoming Liturgical year. On Epiphany Sunday, the upcoming dates were “proclaimed”. After the singing of the Gospel, a Deacon or cantor, in keeping with an ancient practice of Holy Church, announces from the ambo the moveable feasts of the current year according to * this formula:
Know, dear brethren, (brothers and sisters,)On the Fifth day of March will fall Ash Wednesday,
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.
and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the Twentieth day of April you will celebrate with Joy Easter Day,
the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Twenty-Ninth day of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Eighth day of June the feast of Pentecost.
On the Twenty-Second day of June, the feast of
the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
On the Thirtieth day of November
the First Sunday of Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever.
Much more helpful (at least to me) is this recording. Download it to your iPod.
Just remember to change the dates! You’ll recognize some of the musical settings from the Exsultet.
Last year, I was handed the text by our administrator, who said, “By the way, you’re chanting this at the next Mass.”
I told him I didn’t know it.
He snorted. “Well, just make it up,” he said.
So I did.
I’ll try and do the version that is actually, you know, composed this year…