While you’re out flinging holy water at your friends’ animals for a Saint Francis Day blessing, let’s take a moment to look ahead towards the end of this month. Specifically, let’s look at October 28th.
The last Sunday of this month, the 28th, is Saints Simon and Jude Day. Chances are you’ve already got a sermon topic in mind by now, but give this some consideration…
The Prayer Books before 1979 had a different approach to Major Feast Days: whenever one landed on a Sunday, it was celebrated on that Sunday in place of the regular Collect and Lessons. Advent, Lent, Eastertide, Ascensiontide, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday were exempt from this, but that leaves Epiphanytide, Trinitytide, and Christmastide fair game for the celebration of Major Saints’ Days on Sundays. Only in the ’79 book, with the introduction of a completely new Sunday lectionary and radically revised calendar system, did this rule get relegated to the status of “rare exception.” Today, many Anglicans are completely unfamiliar with the idea of celebrating Major Feast Days on Sundays.
Although the Calendar and Sunday lectionary of our up-and-coming Prayer Book remains in the modernist form akin to that of 1979, the rubrics have changed, allowing for this piece of the Anglican tradition to make a return. Specifically, the Calendar of the Christian Year says:
Any of these feasts that fall on a Sunday, other than in Advent, Lent and Easter, may be observed on that Sunday or transferred to the nearest following weekday.
Here two choices are given: observe it on Sunday or on the next free weekday (usually Monday). One can understand this rubric either to be posing both options as equal recommendations or the first option as primary and the second option as secondary. The Saint Aelfric Customary opts for the traditional choice – if it isn’t too late for your worship planning, consider giving Saints Simon and Jude a try that Sunday!