Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday May 17th

ACROSS AMERICA, AND MUCH OF EUROPE, IT'S ASCENSION DAY TODAY

Weekday Mass at 10 am in our parish is always well attended anyway,so anyone attending specially because it's Ascension Day will feel perfectly comfortable.

One of the arguments that has been used to defend the idea of moving Ascension Day to a Sunday is that people find it hard to get to Mass on a weekday. They don't. It's easier than ever. If you are elderly and live in a country village with limited transport, then getting to Mass might be difficult - but for most Catholics in Britain, in suburban churches with morning and plenty of evening Masses, in busy city churches with plenty of lunchtimes Masses, getting to Mass on a feast-day has never been easier. City-centre churches are always packed for several Masses on Holy Days, often with people in the porch or round the door as every space inside has been taken...and, of course, figures for Mass attendance in Britain have been rising (all those Poles? Well, for whatever reason, numbers are up) so why not ride on the crest of that wave and enjoy the rising morale and sense of hope?

Another thing: unity. By accident or design, our Bishops have emphasised by their actions that of course one can still mark Ascension Day by attending a Tridentine Rite Mass, and presumably a number of people will. But should the Bishops be deliberately fostering the idea that some thus celebrate a feast on one day, and some on another? Until now, this has not been an issue - why create one? It runs absolutely contrary to the need to live out a "hermeneutic of continuity".And this at a time when, with the new Motu-thingummy from the Holy Father, the T. Rite is - or I thought this was the plan - going to become a normal option and part of Catholic parish life.

One of the best things about the Church is that normal, muddly,look-we-are-just-Catholic-and-go-to-Mass families are part of the same Church as the seriously-devout-I-know-how-to-find-a-special-Mass types. Why drive a wedge between them?

7 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Absolutely, we don't need any more wedges, the devil is always busy with those.
Our local Catholic Secondary School has organised Mass in Church for the whole school to celebrate the Ascension, it's wonderful.

I believe God has a special place for the prayers of children.

Happy Ascension Day.

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Yes things seem a little strange..& we will be attending the Tridentine Mass tonight, but that said both schools that my children attend will have Mass today for Ascension Day.

So for us Brummies...here nothings changed. Even if the Priests in obedience to their Bishops mentioned the transference of the Feast to the Sunday.

Alenka said...

Have just got back from Ascension Day Mass here in rural USA. We managed it - so did lots and lots of old ladies. In fact we were surprised - we thought they'd scrapped it here too but they haven't - hooray!

Anonymous said...

Joanna,
I live in the diocese of Brooklyn in New York. Thanks be to God we have not moved Ascension Thursday to a different day. Perhaps because we have such a large immigrant population from other countries, we have been able to hold onto many traditions. And we are blessed with a sufficient number of priests (again thanks to many immigrants). I remember as children we rather unpiously referred to the feast and the day after as Ascension Thursday and "Extension Friday" since many took the day off for a long weekend!

Marilyn Heller

Anonymous said...

Living and working in a school in which the large Anglican community celebrated the Ascension yesterday in great style, I decided to offer a Low Mass of the Ascension in the Traditional Rite to remind Catholic boys (that chose to attend) that we do in fact celebrate the Ascension. The Bishops have done us a great injustice and made us seem less Catholic than the CofE!
Fr Andrew Wadsworth,
Chaplain to Harrow School.

George said...

Would or could the Bishops of England and Wales ever humbly admit that they 'got it wrong, didn't quite get the feel of the pulse of the people' or whatever, and just unashamedly put Ascension Thursday back in the calendar together with the other Holy Days that were deleted, of course.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Fortunately I live in a diocese that still celebrates the Ascension on Thursday (Boston USA).
Another problem with moving it to Sunday is that the novena to the Holy Spirit for Pentecost--the original novena, the mother of all novenas, if you will--gets all messed up.