Proper Material

The Christian Year includes the following notes about the observation of festivals, lesser festivals and commemorations.

Festivals, and the liturgical provision for them, are not usually displaced. For each day there is full liturgical provision for the Holy Communion and for Morning and Evening Prayer.

Provision is also made for a first Evening Prayer on the day before the festival where this is required.

Festivals falling on a Sunday may be kept on that day or transferred to the Monday (or, at the discretion of the minister, to the next suitable weekday). But a festival may not be celebrated on Sundays in Advent, Lent or Eastertide. Festivals coinciding with a Principal Feast or Principal Holy Day are transferred to the first available day.

When kept as principal feasts, the Patronal and Dedication Festivals may be transferred to the nearest Sunday, unless that day is already a Principal Feast or one of the following days: The First Sunday of Advent, The Baptism of Christ, The First Sunday of Lent, The Fifth Sunday of Lent or Palm Sunday.

Lesser festivals, which are listed in the calendar, are observed at the level appropriate to a particular church. Each is provided with a collect, psalm and readings, which may supersede the collect of the week and the daily eucharistic lectionary. The daily psalms and readings at Morning and Evening Prayer are not usually superseded by those for lesser festivals, but at the minister’s discretion psalms and readings provided on these days for the Holy Communion may be used at Morning and Evening Prayer.

The minister may be selective in the lesser festivals that are observed, and may also keep some or all of them as ‘commemorations’.

When a lesser festival falls on a Principal Feast or Holy Day or on a Festival, its celebration is normally omitted for that year, but, where there is sufficient reason, it may, at the discretion of the minister, be celebrated on the nearest available day.

Commemorations, which are listed in the calendar, are made by a mention in prayers of intercession and thanksgiving. They are not provided with collect, psalm and readings, and do not replace the usual weekday provision at either the Holy Communion or Morning and Evening Prayer

The minister may be selective in the commemorations that are made.

A commemoration may be observed as a lesser festival, with liturgical provision from the common material for holy men and women, only where there is an established celebration in the wider church or where the day has a special local significance. In designating a commemoration as a ‘lesser festival’, the minister must remember the need not to lose the spirit of the season, especially of Advent and Lent, by too many celebrations that detract from its character.

© copyright 1999 Simon Kershaw
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