‘The Rogation Days should be carefully kept as days of intercession for God’s blessing on the fruits of the earth. The Litany should be said before the principal Eucharist on each day, blue being the colour for these two services. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Benson, in urging the better observance of these days, sanctioned special collects, and recommended the use of the Litany. In the new book of 1927 the Rogation Days are the only days on which the Litany is absolutely required.
Archbishop Benson also urged that “Where the Perambulation of Parish Bounds is still observed and suitable, I hope that it will always be with such religious services as are happily used in many places”. Unfortunately, the old processions had become associated with tin cans (both empty and full) and with much unseemliness. But in country places the people welcome a revival of the old religious processions; and the parson who omits them loses a great opportunity of touching and helping his flock. In large towns also processions become very popular.
As late as about 1675, at Wolverhampton, “the sacrist, resident prebendaries, and members of the choir, assembled at Morning Prayers on Monday and Tuesday in Rogation Week, with the charity children, bearing long poles clothed with all kinds of flowers then in season, and which were afterwards carried through the streets of the town with much solemnity, the clergy, singing men and boys, dressed in their sacred vestments, closing the procession, and chanting in a grave and appropriate melody the Canticle Benedicite omnia opera”. The boundaries of the parish were marked at many points by Gospel trees where the Gospel was read.
Here, then, we touch hands with tradition, and the parson may easily accommodate it to his own opportunities. For the Psalms, &c., to be used he can turn to the old authorities, and will find that Psalms ciii and civ, together with the Litany, are “by law appointed”’.
from The Parson’s Handbook, 12th edition, 1932, by Percy Dearmer, 1867-1936
O Almighty God, who hast created the earth for man, and man for thy glory: mercifully hear the supplications of the people, and be mindful of thy covenant; that both the earth may yield her increase, and the good seed of thy word may bring forth abundantly, to the glory of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon