For a return to Rogation Days

In the calendar for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is a Rogation Day. Rogation Days were instituted by the Church to put off the wrath of God for man’s sins and to seeks His blessing upon their crops. In the past, they were also days of fasting. As Jesus tells us: “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mk 9:29)

The Rogation Days are:

  • April 25th, known as a Major Rogation Day
  • Three days before the Feast of the Ascension, Minor Rogation Days.

The Rogation Days are the 25th of April, called Major, and the three days before the feast of the Ascension, called Minor. The Major Rogation, which has no connexion with the feast of St. Mark (fixed for this datemuch later) seems to be of very early date and to have been introduced to counteract the ancient Robigalia, on which the heathens held processions and supplications to their gods. St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) regulated the already existing custom. The Minor Rogations were introduced by St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne, and were afterwards ordered by the Fifth Council of Orléans, which was held in 511, and then approved by Leo III (795-816). This is asserted by St. Gregory of Tours in “Hist. Franc.”, II, 34, by St. Avitus of Vienne in his “Hom. de Rogat.” (P.L., LVIII, 563), by Ado of Vienne (P.L., CXXIII, 102), and by the Roman Martyrology. Sassi, in “Archiepiscopi Mediolanenses”, ascribes their introduction at an earlier date to St. Lazarus. This is also held by the Bollandist Henschen in “Acta SS.”, II, Feb., 522. The liturgical celebration now consists in the procession and the Rogation Mass. For 25 April the Roman Missal gives the rubric: “If the feast of St. Mark is transferred, the procession is not transferred. In the rare case of 25 April being Easter Sunday [1886, 1943], the procession is held not on Sunday but on the Tuesday following”. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

The Roman Ritual, Volume 1 for Sacraments and Processions gives the following rubrics: (pg. 505)

The clergy and people congregate in church at the appointed hour of the morning, where they kneel and devote a few moments to humble and contrite prayer. The celebrant and his ministers are vested in alb, and cincture, and the celebrant wears a stole and cope or at least a surplice and a purple stole.

After the antiphon is read,

Then all kneel down, and two clerics who are kneeling before the altar begin to chant devoutly the Litany of the Saints, etc invocation being repeated by the others.

As soon as the invocation: Hail Mary, prayer for us has been sung, all rise and continuing the chant of the litany they march out in the proper order. …

If the procession is particularly long, the litany may be repeated or some of the penitential or gradual psalms may be aded. However, they are to keep the penitential spirit.

It may be time for this beautiful tradition to be reinstated or even practiced as a private devotion in the Ordinary Form. God knows, we have enough evil in our world, that we must do all we can to appease His justice. Remember, Jesus did tell St. Faustina, “Speak to the world about My mercy … It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy.” (Diary 848)

here is a little clip from the movie Padre Pio: Miracle Man.