Mothers and Fathers, Get the Spirit

Before you look it up on your pda calendar or on the net or lower down in this post, answer this quickie: can Mother’s Day or Father’s Day ever fall on Pentecost?

I don’t know about other nations’ observances of parental love and commitment, but in the US, these holidays are observed on the 2nd Sunday in May and the 3rd Sunday in June respectively. Almost always, Pentecost falls between these two American Sundays. But in extreme situations like the very early Easter of 2008 and next year’s very late Easter, Pentecost can land on Mother’s Day and get pretty close to Father’s Day.

The odds are high against Mother’s Day and Pentecost coinciding: it happens only about two dozen times in a millennium.

Next year’s Easter will be observed in the West on April 25th. It can only be one day later than that. Father’s Day and Pentecost could coincide only if Easter were to fall on April 27th. Moving the holiday is much more likely to happen.

A March 9th Ash Wednesday means almost all of Lent will be after the equinox. Easter Vigil, to accommodate the “nightfall” rule, will have to start at 9PM for most of the US, or even a little later.  Poor Fairbanks Alaska. According to my almanac, your sunset on Holy Saturday 2011 is a few minutes shy of 10PM. That puts nightfall around 11PM. There’s still time for all nine readings and a full cadre of elect before dawn. How do you think a bishop would or should handle a situation in which there is no night for the Easter Vigil, either because of an extreme polar celebration, or a future human settlement on a planet without night?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Mothers and Fathers, Get the Spirit

  1. Jim McK says:

    OK, I follow everything but the odds against Mother’s Day and Pentecost falling on the same day.
    Second Sunday in May falls on or before the 15th. With 30 days in April, that means we have to get 5 days from March to get to the 50th day, so anytime Easter falls before March 27, Pentecost falls on the second Sunday of May = Mothers Day. That happens about every 10 years, no?
    (Sorry my mind feels frazzled today, and I thought this would be a pleasant little diversion to exercise my math muscles)

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