The Feast of the Epiphany is the date of an ancient Catholic tradition.
It is then that the Catholic Church proclaims the Date of Easter and other important feast days for the coming calendar year.
After the homily or after the prayer after communion, the deacon, or, in his absence, another minister announces the date of Easter and the other feasts of the liturgical year.
The Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany dates from a time when calendars were not readily available, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains on its website.
It was necessary to proclaim the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date.
The number of Sundays that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday, and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter.
Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany proclamation still has value.
It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year.
Here is the Epiphany Proclamation for 2011:
Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.
Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated beginning the evening of the twenty-first day of April and concluding the evening of Easter Sunday, the twenty-fourth day of April.
Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.
From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the ninth day of March.
The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the fifth day of June.
Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the twelfth day of June.
And this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the twenty–seventh day of November.
Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ in the feasts of the Holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.
To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen.