Friday, January 06, 2012

"Dear Bishops...

...of England and Wales,

Please may we have our feast-days back? Today is the feast of the Epiphany, one of the most important celebrations in the Christmas season, marking the manifestation of Christ to the wider world. If I were in Scotland, or if I were an Anglican, I would find it marked in my calendar - but as I'm a Catholic in the London suburbs I have to pretend it doesn't really exist, as it has been officially arbitrariuly abolished by being merged into the nearest Sunday. No one asked for this to be done, and it has caused much hurt and resentment. We feel we have been robbed.

Please, as part of the New Evangelisation, may we have our proper feast-days back? We need to know we are part of the worldwide universal Church, and can celebrate our faith certainty and with joy. Celebrating feasts and seasons is something understood by everyone: it forges a bond with people of other faiths, links us to one another in neighbourliness, offers opportunities for bringing Christ into weekday life. Going to Mass on a feast-day is not a chore, it's not something we do with plodding steps and a sense of doom - it's something important,joyful, significant, it gives meaning and purpose, lifts our hearts, reminds us why we're here, why we were born.

Of course I know I can go to Mass today - like many other Londoners I often go to a weekday Mass, and it's an important part of life. But it won't be the official Epiphany Mass, and there will be a sense of muddle.

Please may we have the Epiphany back, on its proper day, so that we can celebrate Twelfth Night, linking the joy in church to the celebrations we have in our homes?

Dear Bishops, please may we have our feast-days back?

Yours sincerely and obediently,

Joanna Bogle."

14 comments:

Laura said...

Amen

Patricius said...

Hear! Hear!

berenike said...

And the Ascension. That's a particularly daft one to move.

Meanwhile, here in Poland, January 6th is, as of last year or so, a state holiday as well as a holy day of obligation :)

Holy Family Guild said...

Thank you Joanna. Could a Bishop please reply here and tell us why our feasts were taken from us? I have been to an Extraordinary Form Mass today for the feast but that is not always an option for the faithful. Afterwards the priest blessed our chalk and we administered the inscription on our home entrance when we got home from our Mass and celebration.

Yorkmum said...

I found yesterday especially disconcerting as we attended a Mass celebrating Epiphany (EF) yesterday, spent the day as a family celebrating and yet abstained from meat in obedience to our Bishops. The day had a feel of "is it a feast or isn't it?"

One of the reasons for seeking out an Epiphany Mass on Friday is that tomorrow we are visiting friends and attending their ordinariate Mass. Thus we nearly ended up completely missing Epiphany this year. : - (

I note that next year Epiphany falls on a Sunday (hurrah!) and hopefully by the year after, all this mess will be sorted out.

paulantony said...

I agree Joanna and I would also like to see the other Holydays put back to where they were.It might be a good idea of starting an official campaign on the website without giving offence to our Bishops.

paulantony said...

I agree Joanna and I would like to see the other Holydays put back to where they were.It maybe a good idea to start a campaign on the website,without giving offence to our Bishops.

Clearly Salmon said...

Hear! hear!!

Bernadette said...

If you lived in Italy you would find the same.

Et Expecto said...

Some months ago, the Bishops of England and Wales announced that they would be conducting a consultation about retunning some of thr transferred Holydays of Obligation back to the actual date. Little has been said about this since.

I would urge people who feel strongly on this subject to write to their bishop with their views.

Anonymous said...

I expect the reason why the festivals falling on weekdays are transferred to the nearest Sunday is because Sunday congregations are far bigger than weekday ones. I do not think there is any conspiracy to abolish the festivals but rather to achieve a larger participation from the faithful.

Anglicans have the option of celebrating a festival on its proper date or of transferring it to the nearest Sunday. But horrors such as "All Saints Sunday", which actually appear in the Common Worship calendar, suggest the same thing is happening in the C of E too.

Churches need to teach the importance of observing the liturgical cycle as fully as possible, and that attendance on weekdays as well as Sundays is desirable.

But do remember when it is cold and dark many, understandably, simply would not turn out. And then there are of course the manifold distractions which over the years have intruded into all our lives and worn away the attendance at mid-week festivals. I know it is all about priorities, but the challenge is a stiff one.

To celebrate the Epiphany in style this year, with a Sung Mass on a Friday evening, you would have needed to muster a serving team, a choir and a congregation to do the feast justice. To choose the to transfer the feast is sad but understandable.

pelerin said...

Hear hear!

Anonymous said...

OK we have just returned from singing at York Minster all weekend. Wonderful!!! Friday saw a Solemn Eucharist with a packed quire, followed by procession to add gold, frankinsense and myrhh to the crib. Sunday was celebrated as Baptism of the Lord. Of course this year 6th will be on a Sunday for everyone.

Mary Elizabeth said...

In the US, of course, we encounter the same. I am with you Joanna. Honoring time old traditions such as celebrating Feasts on their actual day of remembrance is important to us all, especially in teaching our children. They are impressed with "outside the normal" celebrations on days other than those already designated as special, like Sunday. Here's hoping your pleas are heard by bishops all over the globe.