Bishop Jenky (Diocese of Peoria) has just announced that he is petitioning the Congregation for Divine Worship to allow for Rogation Days to be added to the liturgical calendar for the Church of Peoria. (Letter of announcement available on his Facebook: link.) Could you please explain what Rogation Days are, and why they have disappeared?
Rogation Days were on the traditional Roman calendar for 25 April (Major Rogation Day) and the three days before Ascension THURSDAY (Minor).
“Rogation” comes from rogo “to ask”.
For the Major days, the Greater Litanies were recited and there could be a procession and prayers for blessings on crops. Remember, people didn’t divorce prayer from the things which were critical for survival.
The Minor days included the Lesser Litanies. Again, there are prayers and blessings for crops, given that it is spring (at least in the northern part of the globe). There would be the ceremony of the “beating of the bounds”. The procession would go around the boundaries of the property, singing litanies and prayers.
The traditional Roman calendar more thoroughly integrates the mysteries of the Lord’s life and turning of the Earth into the passing days of our lives.
Reason #746 for Summorum Pontificum, if you ask me.
Why did Rogation Days disappear?
Like many other aspects of sacred time Rogation Days were dropped from the Roman calendar and, thereafter, fell into oblivion. Ember Days and Pre-Lent Sundays were brutally excised from our lives and they ought to be reclaimed. Another reason why Rogation Days fell away may be because we are now less rural and agrarian than ever before in human history. Also, perhaps such days tend to favor a Northern Hemisphere mentality. Dunno.
Across the board, we are less in touch with the sacred time. The electrification of our lives and ability to live in comfort without having chopped wood and gathered food all summer has pulled from our consciences a fundamental connection with God’s amazing cosmic set up.