Rogation Days

When all else fails, why not reckon with God?

Barbara Cleary
Catholic Way Home

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Image courtesy of catholicallyear.com

In putting together our bulletin for May, I happened to see on the calendar that May 6–8, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday are “Rogation Days”. No longer observed by the Church (like Ember days) since they were removed in the great Liturgical Reform of 1969, these were days of prayer and penance.

What is that all about? Diving down the rabbit hole, I found a wonderful 2022 article by Peter Day-Milne detailing the history of rogation days. Among other things, I learned that rogation comes from the Latin word rogare, which means “to ask”.

Historically, Rogation days were days of public penance and prayer when the faithful would ask God for protection from natural disasters, and a bountiful harvest. People would walk in procession from church to their diocesan boundaries stopping at various churches along the way, saying the Litany of the Saints, singing psalms and responses, and many wept as they realized the horror of their sins.

These processions took various forms in regions throughout the Church, but in the fifth century, St. Mamertus, bishop of Vienne (in Gaul) seems to be credited with the customary form used until 1969. His flock in Vienne had been afflicted with a series of natural disasters from earthquakes, and a fire that burned…

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Barbara Cleary
Catholic Way Home

Catholic wife/mom/Nan to four grandchildren. Writing about my faith, and life in a chaotic multigenerational home while trying to see the humor in it all.