Ascension Day

Can anybody explain why Ascension is celebrated on Sunday here? Is the Holy Day of Obligation shifted to a Sunday in order to make it easier for people to fulfill their obligation or so people will get a chance to celebrate Ascension?

It seems daft to me, but what do I know, I’m only a convert…

As a layman, I used to enjoy getting to church for weekday Holy Days of Obligation. Somehow it made the feast all the more special. It made me feel like I was really getting into the sanctification of Time–which is, after all, what liturgical calendars and lectionaries are all about. Now its just shifted to a Sunday, which makes me feel that the sanctification of Time didn’t really matter after all, and that who cares if the Ascension was always forty days after Easter or not. What next, Ash Wednesday on the Sunday before?

I guess the decision is utilitarian, and utilitarianism is surely one of the least Christian philosophies going. Utilitarianism is not only dull, it’s deathly. How can all that is beautiful and deep down true exist when the number counters come in? Who cares if nobody comes to your Ascension Thursday Mass? Why appease them by switching to a Sunday? They’ll smell your weakness and then stop going to Mass on Sunday too.

Here endeth the rant.

UPDATE: Auntie Joanna suggests a very Catholic form of protest: everyone turn up for Mass on Thursday and ask the priest why he didn’t celebrate Ascension Day….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06735175874152541268 Stephen Wikner

    I thought the Sundayfication of the Calendar was an English aberration – part of the general dumbing down process – but apparently not. That said, having now looked in my all purpose Ordo, it seems hereabouts they’ve left Ascension Day alone. I forget how it happened precisely but a couple of years ago I had to make a fuss at a certain cathedral to stop All Saints being celebrated after All Souls.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06735175874152541268 Stephen Wikner

    I’m wrong! I’ve just checked the Westminster Cathedral website and then – horror of horrors – the Brompton Oratory site and they’re both celebrating Ascension Day next Sunday. I just don’t believe it. It’s unscriptural and makes a nonsense of the calendar. Pastoral considerations forsooth. What next? Good Sunday?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03892529674664589034 Jeff Miller

    Actually the Bishops moved many of these days to Sunday so that us bloggers would have something to rant about each year.England did the same to their calendar last year if I remember correctly.This is part of the minimum requirement Catholicism that is so prevalent. Golly gee – we wouldn’t want anybody to actually do something slightly inconvenient for their faith. I mean go to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass two days in one week? No sacrifice to go to the Holy Sacrifice.The argument used by some bishops is because of people’s work schedule and that this can be inconvenient. Funny though how Ash Wednesday. a non-Holy Day of Obligation. brings out every Catholic within miles. If somebody truly can’t make it to Mass their obligation is automatically lifted, though considering Vigil Masses this excuse also doesn’t fly very well.Though in Bishop Bruskewitz’s diocese the Ascension will still be on Thursday.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01186202810919174492 Mac McLernon

    Yes, I’m afraid that going to Mass in the week was just considered too onerous for us laity……I believe it also put a bit of a crimp in a few episcopal rounds of golf…However, the Old Rite calendar can be observed if one celebrates the Old Rite Mass… so rather a lot of people will be going to Mass on the proper day after all!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13824256061658361536 Fr. Christopher G. Phillips

    Perhaps if the bishops stopped to think that we’ll be missing out on a collection they can tax, they’d reconsider…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07859685939890312325 Pontificator

    Fr L, I join your rant. Moving Ascension Day to Sunday is inexcusable. But I too am but a convert …

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17970851228593550726 Lynne

    Offer it up (and write a letter to you bishop)!I’ll say a prayer for all of you at our Ascension Mass on Thursday!;-)

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, ditto that!! My husband and I are both converts (I in my teens and he in his twenties, totally unrelated events, 1000 miles apart). We have both watched in disbelief bordering on horror as this creeping erosion spred from diocese to diocese over the past 4 years–and now, this year, to our own. Deja vue, one more blow, as we have watched our beloved Church traditions and teachings erode over the past 40 years. May God bless us, and Mary keep us as we pray for our Church.Jenny

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12695652221601203187 Fr. Daren J. Zehnle

    I, too, would like the observances returned to their rightful places during the week.

  • B.

    I’ll get a day off from work tomorrow as it’s an official holiday here in Germany.As is Corpus Christi, All Saints, Epiphany and some more. Sometimes I still like living here. ;-)

  • http://sifractus.squarespace.com/ SiFractusFortis

    As someone in the process of converting from the Anglican church to the Catholic Church it really annoys me that to celebrate Ascension Day on Ascension Day I have to go to my old Anglican church.If the Anglicans can make it to church on Thursday evening, how come it’s too hard for the Catholics.

  • Nyaakowa

    Is it time to start a protest movement in the church to return Ascension to Thursday? I would be all for it. As a cradle Catholic, it breaks my heart to see our church leadership in the U.S. especially, cave in to secular modes of thinking which is then followed by other church leaders around the world. Dear Bishops, please return Ascension celebration to Thursday where it belongs and let the church together pray the 9-day novena before Pentecost just like the apostles and disciples did!

  • Nyaakowa

    Is it time to start a protest movement in the church to return Ascension to Thursday? I would be all for it. As a cradle Catholic, it breaks my heart to see our church leadership in the U.S. especially, cave in to secular modes of thinking which is then followed by other church leaders around the world. Dear Bishops, please return Ascension celebration to Thursday where it belongs and let the church together pray the 9-day novena before Pentecost just like the apostles and disciples did!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16829008956478473428 John Seymour

    Jeff,We get a great turn-out everytime we give stuff away – ashes, palms, whatever.

  • Anonymous

    What would be the giveaway for Ascension Day?Free Buck Rogers style backpack jets?You have to transfer feast days to Sunday after poorly (or not) catechizing a generation of Catholics. They don’t know what it is, don’t care, and won’t show up on a weekday, won’t confess missing a Holy Day of Privileged Participation*, and won’t give a rat’s @$$ even on judgment day.You play to the lowest common denominator and you get……the lowest common denominator.kentuckylizan uncatechized 70s kid


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