Celebrating the Annunciation and Incarnation











The early church believed that celebrating the Annunciation/Incarnation fit perfectly within the Lenten celebration of sacrifice and mortification. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “Although in olden times most of the churches kept no feast in Lent, the Greek Church in the Trullan Synod (in 692; can. 52) made an exception in favour of the Annunciation.”    Although I admit that it is possible to arrive at other possible interpretations, I do not see how it would be possible to maintain the position that the early church believed the celebration of the Annunciation and Incarnation interfered with the Lenten celebration or was somehow liturgically unacceptable or  incompatible with this season of self sacrifice.

John 2:4-5
“And Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ ”


Personally, I find little consolation in those overly sweet meditations that say how Jesus and Mary stared into each other’s eyes and how they happily drew consolation from one another.  Jesus was going to His death, a very real death.  No son wants to see his mother suffer and cry.  And no mother is going to find earthly consolation with the prospect of her only son going to his death.  To white wash His and her suffering is unrealistic and in my opinion unwise.


“This feast (Annunciation) was always a holy day of obligation in the Universal Church. As such it was abrogated first for France and the French dependencies, 9 April, 1802 ... Although no octaves are permitted in Lent, the Dioceses of Loreto and of the Province of Venice, the Carmelites, Dominicans, Servites, and Redemptorists, celebrate this feast with an octave.”
Catholic Encyclopedia




“Childbirth usually occurs about 38 weeks from fertilization ...
The expected date of delivery (EDD) is 40 weeks counting from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP), and birth usually occurs between 37 and 42 weeks.  The actual pregnancy duration is typically 38 weeks after conception. Though pregnancy begins at conception, it is more convenient to date from the first day of a woman's last menstrual period …
Pregnancy is considered ‘at term’ when gestation attains 37 complete weeks but is less than 42 (between 259 and 294 days since LMP).”

“The World Health Organization defines normal term for delivery as between 37 weeks and 42 weeks” (from last menstrual period which is about 2 weeks prior to fertilization.)

See Wikipedia.



Our current calendar moves the Solemnity of the Annunciation from the March 25th date 34% of the time.  26% of the time it is moved six to fifteen days ahead to the eighth day after Easter, and on some occasions as late as April 9. 

Relevant Christological Feasts
When Easter falls on the date in the first column --   March 25 falls on the following Christological Feast in 2nd column and consequently the Annunciation is pushed forward.

March  22   -   Easter. Wednesday
March  23   -   E. Tuesday
March  24   -   E. Monday
March  25   -   Easter
March  26   -   Holy Saturday
March  27   -   Good Friday
March  28   -   Holy Thursday
March  29   -   Wednesday of Holy Week
March  30   -   Tuesday of Holy Week
March   31  -   Monday of Holy Week
April       1  -    Passion (Palm) Sunday
April      8   -    Fifth Sunday of Lent
April     15  -    Fourth Sunday of Lent
April     22  -    Third Sunday of Lent


on this
Date         On these Years

3/22    No occurrences for the time span considered
3/23    1913 2008 
3/24    1940 
3/25    1883 1894 1951 2035 2046 2103 
3/26    1967 1978 1989 2062 2073 2084 2119 
3/27    1910 1921 1932 2005 2016 
3/28    1875 1880 1937 1948 2027 2032 2100 
3/29    1891 1959 1964 1970 2043 2054 2065 2111 2116 2122 
3/30    1902 1975 1986 1997 2059 2070 2081 2092 
3/31    1907 1918 1929 1991 2002 2013 2024 2086 2097 
4/1     1877 1888 1923 1934 1945 1956 2018 2029 2040 2108 
4/8     1917 1928 2007 2012 2091 
4/15    1900 1906 1979 1990 2001 2063 2074 2085 2096 
4/22    1962 1973 1984 2057 2068 2114 

From the chart above we can list the years on which March 25th falls on a Christological Feast.  When Easter falls on April 8, 15, or 22 the Annunciation is moved one day forward. This happens 8% of the time.  When the Annunciation falls on the other Christological Feasts, and this happens when Easter falls between March 22nd and April 1st, the Annunciation is moved to the 8th day after Easter.  This happens 65 times during 250 years considered (1875 through 2124 AD) or 26% of the time.  The total number of times the Annunciation is moved during the 250 year span is 85 times or 34% of the time.

“If this feast falls within Holy Week or Easter Week, its office is transferred to the Monday after the octave of Easter.” Catholic Encyclopedia

Also if the feast falls on a Lenten Sunday it is moved forward one day.

See more details on the CALCULATIONS  WEB  PAGE



Matthew 26:33
“Peter declared to him, ‘Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.’ ”