Rogation Days

Days of prayer, and formerly also of fasting, instituted by the
Church to appease God’s anger at man’s transgressions, to ask
protection in calamities, and to obtain a good and bountiful
harvest. The Rogation Days were highly esteemed in England
and King Alfred’s laws considered a theft committed on these
days equal to one committed on Sunday or a higher Church Holy
Day. Their celebration continued even to the thirteenth year of
Elizabeth, 1571, when one of the ministers of the Established
Church inveighed against the Rogation processions. The
ceremonial may be found in the Council of Clovesho (Thorpe,
Ancient Laws, I, 64; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, III, 564).
The Rogation Days are the 25th of April, called Major, and
the three days before the feast of the Ascension, called Minor.
The Minor Rogations were introduced by St. Mamertus, Bishop
of Vienne, and were afterwards ordered by the Fifth Council of
Orléans, which was held in 511, and then approved by Leo III
(795-816). This is asserted by St. Gregory of Tours in “Hist.
Franc.”, II, 34, by St. Avitus of Vienne in his “Hom. de Rogat.”
(P.L., LVIII, 563), by Ado of Vienne (P.L., CXXIII, 102), and by
the Roman Martyrology. Sassi, in “Archiepiscopi
Mediolanenses”, ascribes their introduction at an earlier date to
St. Lazarus. The order to be observed in the procession of the
Major and Minor Rogation is given in the Roman Ritual, title X,
ch. iv. After the antiphon “Exurge Domine”, the Litany of the
Saints is chanted and each verse and response is said twice. After
the verse “Sancta Maria” the procession begins to move. If
necessary, the litany may be repeated, or some of the Penitential
or Gradual Psalms added. For the Minor Rogations the
“Ceremoniale Episcoporum”, book II, ch. xxxii, notes: “Eadem
serventur sed aliquid remissius”. The color used in the procession
and Mass is violet. The Roman Breviary gives the instruction:
“All persons bound to recite the Office, and who are not present
at the procession, are bound to recite the Litany, nor can it be