We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $23,825 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

The Grinch of the liturgical calendar

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 06, 2009

 By ordinary reckoning today, January 6, is the feast of the Epiphany. In the US the celebration has been transferred to the closest Sunday-- for this year, last Sunday, January 4. The feast is the same, of course, but the celebration is just a bit different. 

There are-- remember? I insist!-- 12 days of Christmas, concluding with the "twelfth night" revels on the eve of the Epiphany. If the Epiphany is on January 4, then "twelfth night" falls on the 10th day of Christmas. Two days have been shaved off the celebration. The Grinch of the liturgical calendar has stolen a little slice of Christmas cheer.

When the celebration of a weekday feast is moved to Sunday, we lose a bit in the transfer. We may hear the same Scripture readings and sing the same hymns, but we don't have that special, salutary feeling that comes with a break from the ordinary work-week. We lose of day of feasting (since Sunday is always a feast), and don't we all enjoy feasting? We lose a little bit of our Catholic heritage.

Yes, of course it's simpler to celebrate the feast on Sunday. A lackadaisical Catholic-- someone who is oblivious to the liturgical calendar, and finds it burdensome to get to church even once a week-- might miss the Epiphany altogether if the celebration came in mid-week. That problem becomes more acute when the feast is a holy day of obligation, and the inattentive Catholic might not realize until too late that he should have attended Mass. By streamlining the calendar, our bishops have eased the burden on many churchgoers. Fine. But the change takes something away from those of us who are attuned to the rhythms of  liturgical calendar, and want to live out each feast, each season of celebration, to the full. 

To put it in a nutshell, moving a weekday feast to Sunday makes it a little bit easier to conform oneself to the workaday calendar of the secular, corporate world-- and a little bit harder to conform oneself to the liturgical calendar of the Church. 

Happy Little Christmas!

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($23,825 to go):
$25,400.00 $1,575.00
94% 6%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines April 24
A More Militant Church? April 24
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops April 24
Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot April 24
With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? April 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21