Days of fasting and prayer in the midst of a feast season seem counterintuitive. However, Rogation Days remind us that our lives and seasons are in God’s hands.
What does “Rogation” mean?
“Rogation” comes from the Latin noun rogatio, meaning “asking” (the verb is rogare, “to ask”).
When are the Rogation Days?
The Sixth Sunday of Easter (the fifth Sunday after Easter Sunday) is traditionally known as “Rogation Sunday.” This is because the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the following week are known as the “Rogation Days,” days for fasting and prayer. The Thursday of that week is the feast of the Ascension, which comes on a Thursday, the 40th day after Easter (when Easter Sunday is counted as the 1st day).
What do the Rogation Days mean?
As the 2019 Book of Common Prayer puts it: “Rogation Days are the three days preceding Ascension Day, especially devoted to asking for God’s blessing on agriculture and industry” (pg. 689).
Churches will often mark the Rogation days with a “Rogation procession,” and the praying of the Great Litany. As the 2019 BCP notes, “The Great Litany is especially appropriate for Rogation days, other days of fasting or thanksgiving, and occasions of solemn and comprehensive entreaty” (pg. 6).
According to the Episcopal Church’s helpful online dictionary, the Rogation days
originated in Vienne, France, in the fifth century when Bishop Mamertus introduced days of fasting and prayer to ward off a threatened disaster. In England, they were associated with the blessing of the fields at planting. The vicar “beat the bounds” of the parish, processing around the fields reciting psalms and the litany. In the United States, they have been associated with rural life and with agriculture and fishing.
The Collect for Rogation Sunday
Here is the collect for Rogation Sunday (the Sixth Sunday of Easter):
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (pg. 613).
The Collects for the Rogation Days
Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand, may always give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (pg. 635).
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give us all a right satisfaction in what we do, and a just return for our labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen (pg. 635).
Other Prayers Appropriate for the Rogation Days
For the Harvest of Lands and Waters
O gracious Father, you open your hand and fill all living things with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters, and multiply the harvests of the world; send forth your breath, and renew the face of the earth; show your loving-kindness, that our land may yield its increase; and save us from selfish use of what you provide, that the poor and needy may give thanks to your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (pg. 653).
For Agriculture and Farming
Almighty God, we thank you for making the earth fruitful, so that it may produce what is needed to sustain our life: Bless those who work in the fields; give us seasonable weather; and grant that we may all share the fruits of the earth, rejoicing in your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (pg. 660).
Scripture Passages for Rogation Days
The Sunday, Holy Day, and Commemoration Lectionary in the 2019 BCP includes two sets of Scripture passages for use on Rogation Days (pg. 732).
Here’s the first set:
- Deut 11:10-15
- Ps 147
- Rom 8:18-25
- Mark 4:26-32
Here’s the second:
- Ecclesiasticus 38:27-32
- Ps 107:1-9
- 1 Cor 3:10-14
- Matt 6:19-24
Want to learn more?
- Read The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Rogation): A Collect Reflection.
- Read Get Dirty: 3 Reasons Why We Should Observe Rogation Days
- Read Homily XVII from the Second Book of Homilies, “For the Days of Rogation Week.”
- Read Rogationtide: The Wendell Berry Days of the Church Year
- Read What are the Rogation Days?
Special thanks to Tai French for her help in putting this guide together!