Ask Ambrose: Calendar of Commemorations Confusion

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Q: My parish has more than one weekday Eucharist, and we are used to observing the lesser feasts of the Church within the authorized calendar of commemorations in the Episcopal Church. But I’m a little confused about just what is the authorized resource for this calendar, given three available options in recent years: Lesser Feasts and Fasts, Holy Women, Holy Men, and A Great Cloud of Witnesses. Can you please help?

A: My, how things have changed since I was Bishop of Milan! There are so many saints in the Episcopal Church calendar (including me!). Nevertheless, I do have an answer to your query. Based on a statement by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church this past July, Lesser Feasts and Fasts (2006) is the official resource for the calendar of optional commemorations within the liturgical year. A Great Cloud of Witnesses (which contains commemorations in Holy Women, Holy Men) is available for “devotional and catechetical use, or use in public worship.” Yes, this is all rather confusing, but you can read more about this here. All in all, I’m thrilled that your parish has a vibrant weekday Eucharist schedule and that you observe lesser feasts of the Church.