A lectionary (Latin: lectionarium) is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Jewish worship on a given day or occasion. There are sub-types such as a "gospel lectionary" or evangeliary, and an epistolary with the readings from the New Testament Epistles.
Both Hebrew and Christian lectionaries developed over the centuries. Typically, a lectionary will go through the scriptures in a logical pattern, and also include selections which were chosen by the religious community for their appropriateness to particular occasions. The one-year Jewish lectionary reads the entirety of the Torah within the space of a year and may have begun in the Babylonian Jewish community; the three-year Jewish lectionary seems to trace its origin to the Jewish community in and around the Holy Land.
Within Christianity, the use of pre-assigned, scheduled readings from the scriptures can be traced back to the early church, and seems to have developed out of the practices of the second temple period. The earliest documentary record of a special book of readings is a reference by Gennadius of Massilia to a work produced by Musaeus of Marseilles at the request of Bishop Venerius of Marseilles, who died in 452, though there are 3rd-century references to liturgical readers as a special role in the clergy.
Lent (Latin: Quadragesima, 'Fortieth') is the solemn Christian religious observance in the liturgical year commemorating the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert and enduring temptation by Satan, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, before beginning his public ministry. Lent is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, United Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions of Christianity. Some Anabaptist, Baptist, Reformed (including certain Continental Reformed, Presbyterian and Congregationalist churches), and nondenominational Christian churches also observe Lent, although many churches in these traditions do not. Which days are enumerated as being part of Lent differs between denominations, although in all of them Lent is described as lasting for a total duration of 40 days, the number of days Jesus, as well as Moses and Elijah, went without food in their respective fasts. In Lent-observing Western Churches, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later; depending on the Christian denomination and local custom, Lent concludes either on the evening of Maundy Thursday, or at sundown on Holy Saturday, when the Easter Vigil is celebrated, though in either case, Lenten fasting observances are maintained until the evening of Holy Saturday. Sundays may or may not be excluded, depending on the denomination. In Eastern Christianity – including Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholics, Eastern Lutherans, and Oriental Orthodox – Lent is observed continuously without interruption for 40 days starting on Clean Monday and ending on Lazarus Saturday before Holy Week.
Many Lent-observing Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God. Often observed are the Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ's carrying the Cross and crucifixion. Many churches remove flowers from their altars and veil crucifixes, religious statues that show the triumphant Christ, and other elaborate religious symbols in violet fabrics in solemn observance of the event. The custom of veiling is typically practiced the last two weeks, beginning on the Sunday Judica which is therefore in the vernacular called Passion Sunday until Good Friday, when the cross is unveiled solemnly in the liturgy. In most Lent-observing denominations, the last week of Lent coincides with Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday. Following the New Testament narrative, Jesus' crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, and at the beginning of the next week the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday, the start of the Easter season, which recalls the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In some Christian denominations, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday form the Easter Triduum.
The liturgical texts in this section have been authorized by General Synod for public use within the Anglican Church of Canada, upon permission from the diocesan bishop. Copyright policies stipulate that these texts may be used free of charge by all dioceses, parishes, religious orders, theological colleges, and other entities within the Anglican Church of Canada and our full-communion partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Care must be taken to acknowledge the sources of all texts, however used. Any publication of texts that have been amended must be acknowledged in such a way that makes clear that the original text has been modified. No commercial use may be made of these texts without specific written permission from the primary copyright holders of the texts.
The forms provided in this book should be regarded as models andnot as rigid scripts whose details must be followed exactly. Thesetexts should be used as the basis of adaptation which evokes theliturgical creativity of the local church. For instance, the materialprovided for each of the seasonal festivals of readings and music ismuch more abundant than any congregation could use on oneoccasion. Similarly, the section devoted to the subject of blessingprovides not only suggestions for those who wish to write theirown forms of blessing but also theological reflection on theprinciples involved.
Pray Without Ceasing is the work ofThe Venerable Dr. Richard Leggett who presented it to the Liturgy Task Force of the Faith, Worship, and Ministry committee for use during their work from 2011 to 2016. Following that period of use and review, the texts were authorized by The General Synod2016 for a period of trial use and evaluation. In 2019 the General Synod authorized the texts for use in The Anglican Church of Canada where permitted by the Ordinary.