First Sunday after the Epiphany (Feast of the Holy Family)




This is another of those Sundays where what feast you are celebrating depends on what calendar you are following as a result of the unfortunate enthusiasm for liturgical wreckovation that escalated from the 1950s onwards.

Some have suggested that I'm being far too harsh in my judgments on these changes.  Let me then, quote our beloved Pope Emeritus on the subject:

“One of the weaknesses of the postconciliar liturgical reform can doubtless be traced to the armchair strategy of academics, drawing up things on paper which, in fact, would presuppose years of organic growth. The most blatant example of this is the reform of the Calendar: those responsible simply did not realize how much the various annual feasts had influenced Christian people's relation to time […] they ignored a fundamental law of religious life.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Feast of Faith, 81-82 (published by Ignatius Press).

The quote is cited in a very useful exposition of the problems associated with the destruction of Epiphanytide over at the New Theological Movement.

**And there is now a nice article on this topic quoting from a number of blogs who have raised the calendar problems of late, by Peter Kwasniewski over at New Liturgical Movement.

Pick your feast...

Older calendars mark this Sunday as 'Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany', with the texts (save for the Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons) being of that feast.

But it also has a history as the feast of the Holy Family, with origins in New France (Canada) dating back to the seventeenth century.  It was made universal in the Roman calendar for this Sunday in 1921, and remains in the 1962 Vetus Ordo calendar.  Though the feast is of relatively recent origin, it does represent genuine organic development, as the Gospel for the Octave Sunday and the Feast are the same.

The feast of the Holy Family was not, however, as far as I can discover, ever imported in the (General) Benedictine calendar, and so for those following the Benedictine calendar of 1962-63, this Sunday is the 'First Sunday after Epiphany', which mostly uses texts constructed from those of the old Octave.

For those wishing to celebrate the Feast however (in accordance with your own monasteries calendar for example), the texts for the day hours are provided as a supplement in the Monastic Diurnal; the Matins readings can be found at the Divinum Officium website.  Those looking for Matins readings for the 'First Sunday' can find them there also, by selecting the pre-Tridentine monastic option.

In the Novus Ordo, the Feast of the Holy Family has been moved to the Sunday after Christmas (or December 30), and this Sunday is instead 'Baptism of Our Lord' Sunday (ie the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord, traditionally celebrated on January 13, transferred to the nearest Sunday).

The traditional Benedictine Office this week

The main feast in the calendar this week is of course the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord, on January 13, which marks the formal end of the Christmas season in the 1962 calendar: though the greater Christmas season formerly ran up until the Feast of the Purification (albeit with some modifications when Septuagesima Sunday fell early), that is no longer strictly the case (save in the Office of Our Lady on Saturday).

Sunday 12 January - First Sunday after the Epiphany, Class II [EF: Feast of the Holy Family; in some places, St Benedict Biscop]
Monday 13 January -– Commemoration of Our Lord’s Baptism, Class II
Tuesday 14 January – Class IV; St Hilary [EF: Class III] and St Felix, memorials
Wednesday 15 January - Class IV [**In some places, Our Lady of Prompt Succour, Class I; EF: St Paul the First Hermit]
Thursday 16 January – Class IV; St Marcellus I, memorial [EF: Class III]
Friday 17 January - St Anthony, Class III
Saturday 18 January - Saturday of Our Lady  [EF: Commemoration of St Prisca; St Peter's Chair]

2 comments:

James Robinson said...

Remember that before the reformation (and I think unofficially afterwards minus candles)in England this Sunday was known as Plough Sunday when the ploughs were takes to church,prayers offered and a vigil kept up with many candles, for the success of the ploughing and sowing.

Alan Robinson said...

This Sunday, First Sunday after the Epiphany, was known in pre-Reformation England as Plough Sunday, when, accompanied by prayers and many candles the plough was brought to the church and a sort of vigil took place ending on Plough Monday.It continued without the candles after the reformation and may have been revived in the 20th c.