Ascension Holy day

Ascension Holy day

I completely forgot that other parts of the US don’t celebrate Ascension Thursday as a holy day of obligation anymore. If you’re in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, or Nebraska you do. Otherwise it’s shifted to this coming Sunday.

I suppose the thinking was that the Ascension is so important that you want people to hear the readings and prayers and since no one was going to Mass on the holy day….

Isn’t going to Mass on holy days of obligation one of the six precepts of the Church?
1. To attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.
2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
3. To receive Holy Communion at Eastertime.
4. To confess one’s sins at least once a year.
5. To support the Parish.
6. To marry according to the laws of the Church.

This is the Law of the Church. How often are Catholics, not only told of their obligation to do these things, but called on it when they don’t? I still can’t get past the idea that rather than calling people to actually live our Catholic duties, much of the hierarchy has simply chosen to throw up its hands in defeat.

We went to Mass at noon yesterday. There were about 30 of us. The only children were my two nieces and my nephew. The median age was over 60.

Funny thing happened too: The little old ladies were gossiping in their stage whispers in the pews before Mass as usual, when one of the old guys stood up and gave them a lecture on respect for the presence of Christ in the Tabernacle. Despite some weak protests, there wasn’t a peep out of one of them after that. Thank God for the guy’s courage in saying what needed to be said.

  • I work alone in an office, and completely forgot that yesterday was an obligation.  Although, if I remember correctly, the Baltimore Arch. doesn’t do it on Thursday.  I live over the line in Pennsylvania.  I recall driving over to a church here in MD and it was closed. 

    In any event, I completely forgot anyway and wore jeans and an old t-shirt to work.  Not much of a way to walk in the Church.  But by mid-day, my seasonal allergies kicked it up a notch and I was absolutely miserable.  I wouldn’t have ended up going anyway.

    I’ll probably still confess it, though, since I forgot about it in the first place.  Perhaps it’s only venial, but I don’t know.

  • I was driving past Marsh Chapel at BU yesterday a little bit after their 6:00 pm Mass had started.  From the outside, it appeared to be standing room only.  The Brotherhood of Hope does a great job at BU.

    In the suburbs, I would expect the noon Mass on Holy Days to be filled with mostly retired, disabled and the rare individual who actually refrains from servile labor on a Holy Day. 

  • We’re not exactly in the suburbs in Salem, though. We are near several large office buildings, and on Ash Wednesday the place is packed. There are Catholics around. They just aren’t going to Mass.

    You should see me trying to explain to my Confirmation class that they have to go. They sound like their parents: I’m too busy, I have too many things to do, and so on. It’s all a matter of priorities.

  • I was unaware that Ascension Thursday is no longer a Holy Day of Obligation in some parishes.  I find that very unfortunate.
    Yesterday, my husband. who works in the city, attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  He brought home a beautiful prayer card that was given out during the Mass.  The card contains a picture of our new Pope with a prayer on the reverse side for His Holiness.
    I attended Mass in my local parish, which did recognize Acension Thursday and had a special schedule.
    I pray that this Holy Day will soon be realized once again.

  • Why in the world should we expect our bishops to uphold Catholic teachings on, say, homsexuality on Pentecost Sunday when they don’t even want to bother Catholics by obliging them to attend Holy Mass on the traditional Ascension Thursday?

  • Well, I never thought I’d say this but let’s not be too hard on the bishops. American Catholics are soft and lazy. By moving the Holy Day to Sunday they may have saved someone sin. 

  • I live in Canada now, where the Ascension has been transferred in the entire country (FYI – it’s done by province – see here, and scroll down, e.g.). Like Canada needs fewer Holy Days. I hear what you’re saying, Dymphna, but Catholics in North America need to be challenged, not excused. It’s a bit depressing – sorry, Jesus, too busy to spare six evening hours (or lunchtimes, etc.) for you.

  • >>Well, I never thought I; my ignorance, Joanne, what on earth are “the ‘rents?”)

    Kelly <——come, Holy Ghost

  • Dorothy—they must have run out of the cards by 1pm. I didn’t see them at all… but then, I left by a side door after Mass was over.

  • They don’t even mention it around here.  This whole holy day thing is a terrific aggravation for me.  I’m fuming now.  I have simply concluded that most cradle Catholics don’t give a flying flip about it, and I don’t know why I still care if the blankety blank pastor and chancery don’t think it’s important to inform us what they’re proclaiming about whether it’s Thursday or Sunday.  Maybe they think we can read their minds?

    AND you can>I have to tell you, also, that this is part of a bigger aggravation, and that is that the Catholic church is a shell with a glorious past and I don’t know what kind of a present.

    You go to Mass and that’s what it’s supposed to be (if you can get through the irreverence etc. from V2—and no i’m not a radtrad—i am just not tone deaf).  But then there is no support or anything to be had for the other 6 days 23 hours and 15 minutes of the week.  It’s all solitary, homemade and ad hoc.  There is no community to speak of.  AND there is a near total lack of decent adult-level catechesis; Catholics don’t talk about their faith except in certain kinds of homogenous (safe) situations.  So nothing goes on basically. 

    Call a rectory office and you won’t get a call-back for a month.  Try to have an intelligent conversation with another catholic and you get platitudes because that’s all the intellectual fuel we have as laypeople who aren’t being attended to.  (and no, I’m not VOTF either;  I’m what you would ordinarily call a moderate practicing Catholic, but a disgusted one.)

    It’s NO WONDER the church has problems with evangelism in the US and Europe.  It’s no wonder that Catholic abortion rates, divorce rates and crime rates that are the same as the general public.  It’s no wonder that we have so much dissent and general trouble getting the Christian message across.  These situations are going to continue until we stop living like 45-minute a week Christians!

    Ok, sorry, now this is really the end of the rant.

  • The interesting thing about this fiddling with the holy day is that if you happen to be traveling on business, and happen to be in Ohio on Ascension Thursday, you would not attend Mass.  If you did attend Mass, you would not hear the readings for Ascension because in Ohio Ascension is on Sunday.

    If you happen then to travel to Pennsylvania on Saturday and stay there until Monday, you would not attend a Mass with the readings for the Ascension because they were read on Thursday in Pennsylvania. 

    Thus, technically you have not attended Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, but neither have you committed a sin for not attending it.

  • The technical classification of whether it’s a sin or not isn’t the point, I don’t think.  That’s a minimalist attitude if ever I’ve heard one. 

    Rather, the point is this—is this something the people in the Church are supposed to celebrate in a special way or not???  So what is the point exactly?  Isn’t the Church supposed to be doing some kind of guiding or something when they tell us to fast and go to mass and so on?? Or do they just tell us that for the sheer heck of it??? I don’t think so.  So what’s the point of this holy day business, exactly??  Are we supposed to celebrate this communally or not?  And why or not???  Somebody explain—but understand—I expect the explanation to make sense.

  • Hi, Kelly:

    Hope your still checking this thread. I almost posted to you the other day from work, then someone needed a bedpan or something 🙁

    1. Thanks for the heads up re: the Novena.
    2. Were you at the 4 at MGH on Friday? Would have gone, but worked an additional 4 hrs (til 7p) that day cuz the floor was shorthanded.
    3. The ‘rents are the parents! You know, “rental unit female” and “rental unit male”? You gotta get hipper on goofy lingo that no one really uses.

    God bless, Kelly, and see you ‘round the General –

  • Hey, Joanne,

    Yep, I was there—hope to see you soon. And thanks for cluing me on on “The ‘rents.” I’m going to find a way to use the term in a sentence someday.

    Veni Sancte Spiritus!