The Armchair Liturgist: The Strange Liturgical Year of 2008

With a post-conciliar record low of three Sundays before Lent, how do you or would you handle seasonal music at your parish, especially if you switch Mass settings from Christmas to Ordinary Time to Lent?

In three years, we’ll celebrate the latest Easter since Vatican II: on April 24th. It can only be one day later that that, and late Easter will take place in 2038. That year we will get the Emmaus readings on Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day will be Trinity Sunday. (Father’s Day can never fall on Pentecost, by the way.)

Speaking of Mother’s Day, are you ready for Pentecost falling on that American observance? The co-existence (or collision) of “veni” and “ave.” I suppose someone could do a very funny, slightly sacrilegious fusion of the two musical traditions if they wanted to. Or not.

Will this early Easter happen again in our lifetimes? Depends on if you plan to live a few centuries. The next March 23rd Easter will be in the year 2160. It will happen again in 2228. The earliest possible date for Easter is March 22nd, but for that, we’ll need to wait until 2285.

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Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: The Strange Liturgical Year of 2008

  1. wolftracker says:

    Fascinating. Easter this year is on one of my son’s birthday. But it appears it will not happen again in his lifetime. Thanks.

  2. sacerdos says:

    In the Extraordinary form Septuagesima (pre-lent – “70” days before Easter) begins on Sunday – so there is no lull b/w Christmas and Lent!

  3. Todd says:

    I suspected it was time for that. I wonder how they handled that before the Gregorian calendar reform; Spring had crept backwards to as early as March 11th, and Easter, in turn, could fall as early as the 13th.

  4. Liam says:


    IIRC, Easter never fell earlier than it does today because it was only calculated from the Paschal Full Moon (PFM), which was still only reckoned from a fixed date – a fixed date that HAD been linked to the equinox but lost that linkage over the centuries. The Gregorian calendrical reforms did many things that can require exhaustive explanation, but they did make the apparent calendrical recession of the equinox much much slower placed in time to it. Still, most of the calculations involve nominal rather than actual astromical placement.

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