April 25th is the the Major Rogation on the old calendar. The word “rogation” comes from the Latin “rogare,” which means “to ask.” Rogation days are days to appease God’s anger, implore His mercy for our sins, and to pray for good weather and protection for crops. Since there is so much blasphemy in the world today it is disappointing that Rogation days are not better observed. The main prayer of Rogation days is the Litany of Saints which was usually prayed during processions. Rogation days are not obligatory anymore, but (as I have noted before) in 2003 the USCCB recommended this “pastoral” approach to Rogation days:
“Many already consider January 22nd (a day of penance for violations to human dignity as a result of abortion), July 4th (American Independence Day), Labor Day and thanksgiving Day as modern-day equivalents to Rogation Days. However, this does not preclude a diocese from observing other Rogation Days.”
However I am unaware of any bishop in the U.S. who has instituted any observance “Rogation Day equivalents.” So it seems reasonable to fall back on the traditional practice. Even though most of us are not farmers anymore, we are all still depend on those who are, and even non-farmers need God’s protection from calamitous weather.
Of course we all also need God’s mercy for our many sins and the sins of the world. The traditional customs for Rogation days are processions, praying the litany of Saints, and blessing crops. Fasting is also recommended.
Even if you have just a small garden, sprinkle it with holy water and pray for good produce. Even if you don’t have any garden at all, you can still join your prayers to those of others for a bountiful harvest, and fair weather. You could also try to organize a procession at your parish.
In addition to the Major Rogation there are three Minor Rogations which are observed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the feast of the Ascension.
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