Sunday, May 20, 2007

Three Days Late

picture from Zadok the Roman
Having been the first priest in this parish to have celebrated Ascension Day on a Sunday since Mass was first celebrated here in Saxon times, I am still unhappy about it. Judging from the amount of money in the Bishop's Conference collection for the Mass Media Apostolate I suspect my people are unhappy about it as well.
There is something abot todays feast especially that touches on time; Christ passing from time to being beyond time which is one reason for scripture stating the exact time of the year on which this event took place. I noticed a comment on someone's blog saying that they wanted to start a campaign for the restoration of the 7th Sunday of Easter.
I really do think that when something as drastic as a change in the calendar takes place some type of catechetical material needs to be produced.


Physiocrat said...

I was very unhappy about it and wrote to the Bishop's conference.

This is a summary of what I said.

"I attended Mass at my local parish this morning (Ascension Day). It may be of interest to you to know that attendance was much higher than on a normal weekday – indeed, numbers were about what they would normally have been on Ascension Day.

"The Feast of the Ascension has always fallen on a Thursday, nine days before Pentecost Sunday, in accordance with Scripture. The Anglican church celebrates it. In many continental countries, not just Catholic ones, it is a public holiday. It is often accompanied by traditional ceremonies. In Oxford, for instance, the Parish of St Michael’s at the North Gate performs the ancient custom of ‘Beating the Bounds’ on Ascension Day. The clergy and members of the congregation perambulate the parish boundary, passing through and around various buildings, in order to ‘mark’ the boundary stones. On this day, the door between Brasenose College and Lincoln College is opened, and the procession ends with lunch in Hall at Lincoln College, accompanied by ivy beer. Afterwards, hot pennies are thrown to the children from the tower of Lincoln College into the front quadrangle.

"While I was under instruction in 1975 I took time off in my lunch hour to go to Mass on Ascension Day near my office in Islington. The church was full. And ever after, till I retired, Holy Days of Obligation were an opportunity to go to Mass in the place where I worked and so to make a connection there.This was beneficial in all sorts of ways – for example, passers-by saw crowds of people coming out of a Catholic church on a weekday.

"It seems to me that the decision to shift the Holy Days of Obligation has stirred up a feeling that the Hierarchy is letting its flock down in doing nothing more than planning for managed decline – and this at a time when the Catholic Church in Britain is once again enjoying growth. The situation needs to be reviewed."

People who know me will be aware that I am thinking of emigrating. The dire state of the Catholic Church in Britain (St Mary Magdalen's Parish and a few others excepted) is one of the reasons. And until the present regime, we had a succession of ingorant "modernisers", which made participating in anything more than the bare minimum something to be done out of duty.

Amongst the unpleasant aspects of life in Britain is that apart from a few exceptions like the Oratories at Oxford and London, and the Holy Name church, Manchester, going to Mass has become an ordeal to be endured. A crass translation, rubbishy hymns and vandalised buildings. The philistines have done their worst.

It shouldn't be like this.

Anonymous said...

'Unhappy' doesn't adequately express my feelings on having Holy Days shifted. It's no real hardship to pootle off to Mass in the evening on a few odd days in the year. As a person who finds the outward expressions of faith very helpful and beautiful, the candles bells and smells which we also rarely see, shunting perfectly wonderful weekday celebrations to Sunday seems to be another erosion of our Catholic identity...Sigh.

Unknown said...

Henry, don't forget Birmingham Oratory!

Anonymous said...

I went to Mass at St Joseph's and the priest there was indignant about the uproar, saying there was nothing unusual about moving it and that the bishops were right to do so. I have to say I plead ignorance on this but having heard the views of Father and various parishioners, and my friend in the US, I thought it most odd that a different parish priest should be so vociferous in defence of the bishops' decision.

Physiocrat said...

There are various names for people who defend their superiors' decisions, right or wrong, but all of them would offend.

Anonymous said...

I have no qualms about removing the obligation to attend Mass on Ascension Thursday;but it does seem a nonsense to have Ascension Saturday/Sunday.
PS Father Ray, you look disgustingly healthy, and possibly espicobale!!

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