Thursday, May 01, 2008


The Apostles didn't meet in the upper room for six days and so this Holy Day of Obligation math doesn't quite work out.
I think that bishops who have decided this for their diocese should have to annually explain why this is too much of an imposition on Ash Wednesday. I would love to hear the argument why this is a good idea when on a non-Holy Day of Obligation like Ash Wednesday people seem to come out of the woodwork to get to Mass. Besides I totally hate the idea of a Holy Day of Obligation being seen as a imposition in the first place.
It is also annoying that in a universal Church I will watch the Pope on TV [tomorrow] celebrating the Ascension while I will have to wait for Sunday and of course in the Liturgy of the Hours you have to branch off from the normal course of readings for a little detour.
Here in the England and Wales, I too would like the Bishops to explain, every year why they have seperated us from Scripture and Tradition by moving this feast to the Sunday. I can't help but see it as another sign that "the world" is victorious, from them.


Anonymous said...

I do think that this is the best example of the Bishops of England & Wales shooting themselves in the foot;although not a public holiday it is still kept in the Civil Calendar of our Country, I find it sad that the local Anglican Churches are celebrating Sung Eucharist to mark the day,whilst we are left to explain that it is no longer a holyday its moved to Sunday.

pattif said...

How galling was it to switch on Radio 4 this morning and hear the announcer on the godless BBC intone, "Today is the Feast of the Ascension"?

PeterHWright said...

In the the Roman calendar, the Feast of the Ascension is today Thursday 1 May 2008.

(Both the old and the new calendars already agree on this !)

In my W.H.Smith desk diary, Thurday 1 May 2008 is marked as Ascension Day.

It is a Feast day in the Church of England.

Yet the Catholic Church in England & Wales is being told otherwise by the Bishops' Conference which seems intent on going its own way.

No, no ! The Feast of the Ascension is on Sunday 4 May !

Well, they can say that if they want to, but I don't agree.

No matter what powers they have to transfer Holidays of Obligation, no matter how successful they are in suppressing observance of the Feast on its proper date, it doesn't alter the fact that today is Ascension Thursday.

A happy Feast of the Ascension of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

while i find it a submission to Individualism and secular society. as a member of the Church, we should respect and walk with our bishops - a house divided against itself et c...

given the world we currently find ourselves in - surely it is more appropriate to walk with the valid successors of the apostles whom Christ has given to guide us...

...if we complain about our bishops, surely we are protesting?

in Christ - and thanks for all your electronic work among us

Volpius Leonius said...

Their decision was disgraceful, and I am going to be reminded of it every year for the rest of my life as it is part of the yearly calendar.

I have just been reading through my missal and came upon an interesting note which bears some relevance to this.

The reason why the Ascension should be celebrated on the traditional Thursday is because it is exactly 40 days after Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. Forty days is the exact number of days Christ actually did walk the earth after he had risen, it was not 43.

For example this year

23rd March - Our Lord rises
01st May - Our Lord ascends into Heaven in the old calendar

Exactly 40 days after he rose from the dead he ascends into heaven.

23rd March - Our Lord rises
04th March - Ascension in the new English calendar.

3 days too late. Because of this all the symbolism associated with the Ascension such the extinguishing of the Paschal candle becomes meaningless.

Et Expecto said...

I would urge all readers to go to Mass somewhere today; thus demonstrating that the tradition of Mass attendance on Ascension Day is not dead.

I shall be travelling some distance to get to a usus antiquior Mass,.

Anonymous said...

As a child, one of favourite days of the year was Ascension Thursday. I don`t know why. We had ful school Mass in our local church, always, and there was a holiday feel to the day.It was one of those truly joyful times of the year... he`s gone to His Father to pray for us. Leaving aside the Politics of it all, this morning I felt really sad (I mean really wounded,not just sad) waving my children into school, knowing that Ascension Thursday won`t even get a mention. Some consolation I suppose, that St Joseph the Worker remains where he is. Perhaps we could appeal to him, heaven's most powerful saint, to sort the mess out...... I just find it all so depressing. Last year our priest forgot about the feast being moved to the Sunday both for Ascension and Corpus Christi, and so they weren`t even celebrated then either, as well being dumped on the previous Thursdays. (This is not a criticism of my priest - he is a great man..but just shows what chaos is being caused.)This is a unmitigated mess.

Anonymous said...

Yes it's a strange day today! I glanced at my kitchen calendar, a French one, and was reminded that in France it is Ascension Day today. I also have an English missionary calendar and surprise, surprise it calls today Ascension Thursday! Are the missionary societies not subject to the changes imposed by our bishops?

As peterhwright mentions today is celebrated in the Church of England and my newspaper TV and radio programmes states that today
is held 'one of the most joyful services in the Christian calendar.' On radio 4 tonight they are broadcastinga service 'with vibrant Baroque music from Latin America - an uplifting mix of guitars, sackbuts (?) and percussion.' Not my cup of tea but at least they are celebrating!

In 1752 people took to the streets in England shouting 'give us back our 11 days' following the change over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian. They felt cheated going from the 2nd September to the 14th September although of course in reality they had not lost anything. We are told we have not lost the Feast, merely that we can no longer celebrate it when we wish to. I'm beginning to understand how the people felt when the calendar changed.

Incidentally googling around today I learnt that in Germany today is both Ascension day and Father's day. in some parts of the country it is tradition for fathers to push a hand cart into a field laden with beer and proceed to get drunk!!!!

Physiocrat said...

I was pleased to see the good turnout and I hope it will be the same on Corpus Christi.

Can the high attendance be drawn to the attention of the Bishop? They have got things wrong. Do you have any idea how many were in church eg from the length of the queue at communion? I would say about 40, at least.

Anonymous said...

I had quite a congregation here for Mass this morning (some said they had heard on the radio that it is Ascension Day).
I celebrated a 'votive' Mass of the Ascension - but we all knew what it was really!

PeterHWright said...

Young Catholic makes a valid point.
It goes without saying that
Catholics should respect their bishops, since they are successors of the Apostles.

But our bishops should respect and walk with the Supreme Pontiff and observe the Roman alendar.

If Bishops' Conferences did this, they would find the two calendars are already in conformity with regard to all the Holidays of the universal Church.

No dubium would have been necessary.

Volpius Leonius said...

That is the thing, we are meant to respect our superiors, but if our superiors do not respect their own superiors then all authority breaks down, that is what some Bishops do not seem to understand, their authority rests upon the higher authority of Rome, and Rome's authority rests upon the higher authority of Almighty God.

If any link in the hierarchy rebels against a higher link then they are undermining themselves.

This leads to chaos as the governing order is undermined in the eyes of the governed.

pattif said...

I'm as cross about this as everyone else, but I don't think it is fair to accuse our bishops of "rebelling". They were only able to transfer the Holy Days of Obligation with the permission of the Holy See, for which they duly applied. It's pretty clear to me, though, that neither they nor the Holy See had any idea of the strength of feeling this would arouse.

As others have noted, it makes no sense to celebrate the Ascension 43days after the Resurrection, since Scripture makes it absolutely clear that the interval was 40 days. What is more, it deprives us of the nine day interval between the Ascension and Pentecost, during which the Apostles and Our Lady prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit (the original Novena). I think it would be perfectly reasonable for those of us who are unhappy about the transfer to pray the Novena of Pentecost for the intention of our bishops to have a change of heart.

Young Catholic - you are quite right about our duty of obedience to our bishops even when we don't agree with them. Thank you for reminding me that I need to pray for an increase of both obedience and charity.

Volpius - the extinguishing of the Paschal candle doesn't happen until the end of Eastertide at Pentecost.

Volpius Leonius said...

"Volpius - the extinguishing of the Paschal candle doesn't happen until the end of Eastertide at Pentecost."

I suggest you check your facts.

Perhaps this is another thing that has changed in the OF?!? but I assure you that in the EF the Paschal candle is meant to be extinguished on Ascension Thursday.

The Paschal Candle is the figure of the risen Christ, it is extinguished on Ascension Thursday because this is when Christ arises to take his place in Heaven leaving once again the earthly sphere as he did when he descended into Hell. Extinguishing it at Pentecost makes no sense in relation to Christ. The Holy spirit comes down to us at Pentecost, it would make more sense to light a candle then extinguish one in relation to this event.

My OF Missal is silent on when the Paschal candle should be extinguished but both of my EF Missals, the "St. Andrew Daily Missal" and "The Roman Missal (1962)" published by Baronius Press make it clear that this is done at the Ascension to mark Christ's ascent into Heaven. The Paschal Candle is linked to Christ and has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.

Adrienne said...

Ascension Thursday on Sunday is just plain weird. Wait and see - soon we will have Ash Wed on Sunday. Wouldn't want to inconvenience anyone, now would we??

Volpius Leonius said...

Why not just remove the Sunday obligation as well while your at it, it's not like God gave us commandments for our own good is it?

Its not as if it is better for us to attend Mass during the week then cabbage in front of the dross on tv for the night is it?

Anyway I am happy, the Mass I went to was wonderful. The priest lambasted stem cell research and mentioned that missing mass on a Sunday was a mortal sin which required you to go to confession before receiving Holy Communion. I am happy to have found him. Deo Gratias.

Makes a change from the large number of "nice" shepherds running about teaching nothing of any substance or worth.

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