Therefore, I kept the extra weekday feast days at Yaverland, and it was to Yaverland we went to celebrate Ascension Thursday, with incense and hymns from the New English hymnal and a fine little pipe organ and Victorian ecclesiastical finery.
Here’s what was good about it: First of all, it felt special because it was a great celebration Mass on a weekday evening. Because it was special we had a nice picnic lunch together after the Mass. There’s nothing quite so nice as an English summer evenin for an event like this. Furthermore, there was something special about the people who took the trouble to come to Mass on a Thursday evening. I don’t like to categorize but they were, well, the committed ones. They were the ones who really cared and really wanted to be there. As a result, the worship was especially fine. The singing was more fervent, the attention to Mass was more intent, the participation was better and the level of shared feeling at the Mass was higher than usual. In every way, by celebrating Ascension on a Thursday evening the event was made special and wonderful.
Couldn’t we be sort of Jesuitical in the same way but backwards and have the Mass of the Day, but have Ascension hymns, a sermon for Ascension and all the trimmings? We could invite people to the ‘Not the Ascension Day Mass’ and tell them that it is not a Holy Day of Obligation and that they don’t need to be there, but that the people who don’t want to celebrate Ascension on that day would be very welcome to attend…
I’m not really suggesting this by the way…in case anyone suspcts me of being a secret dissident, or thinks I should scuttle back to the Anglican Church if I liked it so much.