CNP Feedback - Seasonal Baptism?
The "Feedback Box" on the CanticaNOVA Publications website has proven quite effective in promoting communications on a variety of subjects, and expressing concerns of liturgists and musicians.
From time to time, we'll compile a few of these questions or comments and put them in public view, with the hope that others with similar concerns may benefit from their content.
Q. Dear CNP:
I need some confirmation on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
I noticed that according to your website, this day is part of the Christmas season and as such Christmas carols may be sung.
I did just that, but was informed that Baptism of the Lord is not part of the Christmas season and as such Christmas carols are inappropriate.
Clarification please: is the Baptism of the Lord part of the Christmas season?
Noel the Baptist
A. Dear Noel:
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is most definitely part of the Christmas season.
Here are the appropriate quotes from the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar (1969):
- #33. The Christmas season runs from Evening Prayer I of Christmas until the Sunday after Epiphany, inclusive.
- #37. Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, unless [as in the U.S.] it has been assigned to the Sunday occurring between January 2 and January 8.
- #38. The Sunday falling after January 6 [Epiphany] is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
Further, the General Roman Calendar (adapted for the U.S) says:
The Sunday between January 2 and 8 is celebrated as the Solemnity of Epiphany.
The Sunday after Epiphany is celebrated as the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
From the Sacramentary [at the end of the Orations for the Baptism of the Lord]:
Ordinary Time begins on the Monday following this Sunday [Baptism of the Lord].
If Ordinary Time does not begin until Monday, obviously the previous Sunday (Baptism of the Lord) is still part of the Christmas Season.
Confusion may arise because of the statement: "The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord takes the place of the First Sunday in Ordinary Time."
However, it replaces what would have been the First Sunday in Ordinary Time — it's not synonymous!
There is no First Sunday in Ordinary Time — there's a First Week in Ordinary Time (Monday through Saturday after the Baptism of the Lord), which
is logically followed by the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (beginning the Second Week in Ordinary Time).
We have conclusively established that the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord lies at the close (and within) Christmastide, and Christmas carols are appropriate at Mass.
However, I would be careful which carols I program.
Carols speaking about an infant in a manger, or the shepherds, or the angels, are perhaps not the best choices.
Sure bets are: "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise," "Of the Fathers Love Begotten." "Once in Royal David's City," "How Brightly Shines the Morning Star" and the best of all, "Joy to the World."
Also see the CNP Liturgical Planning Pages for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord: