Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Blessed Epiphany!
It is a long-standing tradition of the Church to announce the Date of Easter and the other moveable feasts of the Liturgical Year on the Feast of the Epiphany. This hearkens back to days long ago when people did not have or use calendars as we do today and relied on this oral proclamation to know and plan the year. As we begin a new calendar year, this tradition brings to the forefront the importance of the rhythm of liturgical time that should have a place in the life of every Catholic. As the Epiphany is all about the manifestation of the coming of God in the flesh, so too we acknowledge how the Paschal Mystery is manifested in the various feasts and times throughout our year. So, on this Epiphany Day, I offer the traditional announcement here:
Know, dear brothers and sisters, 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!
On the fourteenth day of February will fall Ash Wednesday
and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the thirty-first day of March, we will celebrate with joy Easter Day,
the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the twelfth day of May will be
the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the nineteenth day of May, the feast of Pentecost.
On the second day of June,
the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
On the first day of December,
the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom is honor and glory forever and ever! Amen!
So we know the dates of Easter and the other feasts during 2024, but what else will happen during this year to come? What does God have in store for us and for the whole world?
We know that this is an election year, so politics will be front and center as our nation chooses a new president; certainly our prayers are necessary! The Summer Olympics will take place in Paris, so hopefully that will be an occasion for the world community to come together in peace and comaraderie. This year will be leap year, so I encourage you to make February 29 a special and memorable day; after all, it only comes around every four years! We all hope that there will be no resurgence of Covid and that the flu season will be mild. We hope for mild weather and for no natural disasters. We continue to pray for an end to the wars in Ukraine and Israel for an end to gun violence and crime in our city, yet all that will happen in God’s good time. The news will unfold and time will march forward. We will have good days and bad days, joys and sorrows. We will experience birth and death, comings and goings. But the Lord is in charge of all our days, so now, at the beginning of this year, let us place our trust and renew our hope in God’s plan and God’s providence.
The Christmas season ends tomorrow, January 8, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. As we put away our Christmas decorations, we give thanks for all the blessings and gifts of this season. Thanks to so many of you who were so kind to me at Christmastime. I appreciate your cards, warm wishes, gifts, and cookies! I am so grateful and humbled to be the pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland, and I look forward to leading and working with you throughout 2024 and beyond!