6 January 2016

Two Epiphany queries

(1) An acute reader, Timothy Graham, asks about the differences between the Sarum and the Tridentine propria for the days after the Epiphany. I give an edited version of the account in that immensely useful 1930s Anglican manual Liturgy and Worship.

A dislocation appears at Epiphany I between the ancient rites and the Tridentine and the Prayer Book rites on the one hand; and Sarum and the other medieval rites on the other.

At first, the Epiphany had no Octave, and the services for the 'Sundays After' resumed their ordinary course on the first Sunday after January 6. When the Octave was first instituted, it was treated as one continuous feast which included the Sunday which happened to fall within it. Thus the propria for the following Sundays needed each to be moved one week later so as to get them out of the way of this newly-inserted Octave. S Pius V and Archbishop Cranmer, well-known close buddies, reverted to the earlier, pre-medieval arrangements (in spite of the fact that the Tridentine Rite keeps the Octave). Thus, in the Tridentine Rite, as in the Anglican Prayer Books, the service given for Epiphany I is the original service for Epiphany I before the Octave introduced its complications.

(2) This is the time of year when right-thinking people feel the need to agitate for the restoration of the Epiphany to January 6 in those countries where liturgical decay is so far advanced that it has been 'transferred' to a Sunday. The instincts here are admirable. BUT ... think carefully ... the present arrangement encourages people to attend Extraordinary Form Masses in order to get a genuine Epiphany on January 6 ... including people who otherwise have no burning desire to attend the Extraordinary Form. Because the EF is the only place you can get a proper Epiphany (unless you have a Greek church handy). The same holds for the Ascension and Corpus Christi. Thus the present situation provides a highly useful tool for Tridentinist proselytism. I think a ballot of Tridentine-favouring folk would reveal that large numbers of them have come to realise the advantages in the current, albeit thoroughly corrupt, set-up. Perhaps they should write to the Episcopal Conference and thank it for its felix culpa.

In my view, the Ordinariate should urgently seek the same liberty as the EF to observe the Epiphany on January 6 (and the Ascension and Corpus Christi on the Thursdays); thus Catholics generally would be the more encouraged to attend and to get to know our splendid Liturgy and would have increased facilities to celebrate properly the Epiphany, especially in parched desert areas where the EF is still not very easily accessed.


philipjohnson said...

Great idea Father!Off to Tridentine Mass tonight.God Bless.

Joshua said...

This reminds me of the year I had two Christmases and two Epiphanies: the first Christmas, OF, at home in Tasmania according to the Gregorian Calendar; the first Epiphany, OF, at the Oxford Oratory, on the Sunday; the second Epiphany, EF, at the FSSP church in Edinburgh, on the 6th of January; and the second Christmas, in the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Florence, according to the Julian Calendar.

Woody said...

After checking the website of Saint John the Evangelist in Calgary, which celebrated Epiphany last Sunday, I gather that both options for keeping the day are being used in the Ordinariate here in North America.

Seamus said...

In my view, the Ordinariate should urgently seek the same liberty as the EF to observe the Epiphany on January 6 (and the Ascension and Corpus Christi on the Thursdays); thus Catholics generally would be the more encouraged to attend and to get to know our splendid Liturgy and would have increased facilities to celebrate properly the Epiphany, especially in parched desert areas where the EF is still not very easily accessed.

Does the Ordinariate of OL of Walsingham not have that liberty? In the United States and Canada, we have the option of celebrating Epiphany on Epiphany(http://ordinariate.net/documents/resources/Calendar_for_Ordinariate.pdf), and I'll be attending an Epiphany service at my Ordinariate parish this evening.

UnanimousConsent said...

I live in the Diocese of Arlington, USA. We have 69 parishes, and, I believe I am correct in saying that this diocese is where the Mass is the most widely available to the Faithful.

Of note below, not one of our Parishes regularly offers Holy Days of Obligation. There may be an Epiphany Mass somewhere, but it Does it differ regularly elsewhere?

For what it is worth, it was celebrated as an external solemnity on January 3 in our parish, in accord with PCED Prot N. 107/97.

Disappointing to say the least.


The Mass of Blessed John XXIII is celebrated in the Diocese of Arlington at the following parishes and times:

Holy Trinity Parish, Gainesville: Sundays at 12:30 pm

Saint Anthony Mission, King George: Sundays at 12:45 p.m.; Thursdays at 9 a.m.

Saint John the Apostle Parish, Leesburg: Sundays at 10:30 a.m. (Historic church).

Saint John the Baptist Parish, Front Royal: Sundays at 12:30 p.m.; Mondays at 7 a.m. in the Chapel; Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Contact parish for more details (540-635-3780)

Saint John the Beloved Parish, McLean: Sundays at noon; Mondays at 7:30 p.m. (Low Mass)

Saint Lawrence Parish, Alexandria: Sundays at 12:30 p.m.

Saint Mary Parish, Alexandria: Third Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

Saint Michael Parish, Annandale: Sundays at 7:00 a.m.

Saint Patrick Parish, Fredericksburg: Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

Saint Raymond of Penafort Parish, Springfield: First and third Fridays of each month at 7 p.m.

Saint Rita Parish, Alexandria: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

Anonymous said...

The other important point to consider, is the availability of clergy. The present arrangement allows many priests the opportunity to say an EF Mass on these major feasts.

KaeseEs said...

When I finished reading this post, the though came to me: wise as serpents, guileless as doves.

Matthew Roth said...

I also like to take advantage of the current calendar sitution. My parish TLM celebrates Holy Name instead of Epiphany, so if my pastor said Mass today in the usus antiquior he would have said Epiphany.

As an aside, did pre-Tridentine editions of the Missale Romanum have a Sunday before Epiphany/after the Octave of Christmas? I know some Anglican forms retain it. I am not fond of Holy Name, and it’s also too bad the Mass of Epiphany 1 was relegated to the ferias when Holy Family was instituted.

Vincent Uher said...

I understand that the Ordinariate parishes and communities in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter observe the Epiphany on its proper day, the 6th of January. (At the Principal Church of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, Epiphany Mass was offered at 12 noon and at 7 pm on the 6th of January.)

Anonymous said...

Reply to Matthew Roth:

Not absolutely sure about the Roman, but certainly Sarum use has no Sunday propers for 2nd-5th Jan, as one celebrates the Octaves of Stephen, John & SS Innocents followed by Epiphany Even - although the 5th Jan Epiphany Even Mass and office varies slightly if it falls on a Sunday.

Unknown said...

Dear Woody,

St John the Evangelist, Calgary kept the *Mass* of the Epiphany last Sunday (3rd) as an External Solmenity, which is duly permitted according to the rubrics of DW. Both priests are absent from the parish today. Nonetheless, you will be encouraged to know that I, as the parish priest, kept today's solemn feast here, in Boise, Idaho (where I am currently on holiday), on its proper day, with a Low Mass and with as much solemnity as I could muster! Fr Kenyon

Woody said...

I was at the Noon said Mass, only about 85 minutes in length, but really good.

Matthew Roth said...

Oh, right, I forgot about the Octaves that commence on days during the Christmas octave.

Of course, now I’m realizing I read the SLP blog and the post on the Vigil of the Epiphany. The Vigil text is what used to be Sunday, the original vigil being displaced due to the last octave ending on the 4th and one of them ending on a Sunday

The next question is what texts do the 2002 Missale and the 1974 Graduale (published by Solesmes) have for this Sunday.

Anonymous said...

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Rubricarius said...


Yes, there was a second Sunday and it appears in some of the early sacramentaries. It is basically Dum medium etc with minor variations.

Protasius said...

The 1974 Graduale has the same chants for the 2nd Sunday after Christmas as the 1908 Graduale has for the Sunday in the Octave of Christmas (Dum medium silentium) except the Offertory (1974 Benedic anima mea vs. 1908 Deus enim firmavit) and the Communio (1974 Domine, Dominus noster vs. 1908 Tolle puerum).

Matthew Roth said...

Which would mean those chants are heard in the new form given that the 1962 Sunday was replaced by Holy Family (which really messes up the progression, less so than 1/2 of the Purification Gospel pericope does).

Woody said...

Dear Fr. Kenyon, many thanks for your clarification and update on the Epiphany at Saint John's. Keep up all the good work, and best wishes for an apostolically fruitful new year. Woody

Anonymous said...

Here in Germany it is absolutely common to have Epiphany on January 6; I do not know any case where it is celebrated on the Sunday prior Epiphany, even not in those mainly Protestant areas, where the 6th is no public holyday (that differs here depending on the so-called "Land(country)" in which you live). Thus, it is astonishing for me that your clergy in the English speaking countries obviously decided mainly for shifting the Epiphany. Anyway, in our EF mass here in Northern Germany, we did not only have the usual sung mass with all Gregorian propers, but also the eleborated benedictions of the Holy water and salt in the evening of the vigil, and gold, charcoal and incense after the mass on January 6, which both were well attended.