Friday, May 15, 2015



Dear Bishops

Please may we have Ascension Day back to its proper day??

I don't want - or need - to be told that I can go to an Extraordinary Form Mass or  Byzantine Rite or something. WE NEED TO HAVE  OUR ORDINARY CALENDAR BACK. We need to have the feast days on their proper days. We want our  feast days! We want our Sundays!

ASCENSION DAY IS A MOST IMPORTANT FEAST DAY...and it just doesn't work to move it to the nearest Sunday.

Today, I went to a midday Mass at a London church. It was well attended. This was partly because several people there thought they were celebrating Ascension day. All were regular Massgoers. All were conscious that some feast days had been moved. BUT THEY ALL ASSUMED THAT ASCENSION DAY WAS...ASCENSION DAY!!! So they came to Mass.

In the evening J. and I  had an invitation to the Ascension day service at the Guild Church of St Margaret Pattens, with the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers.  The Worshipful Company marks Ascension Day each year with this special service - members wearing robes etc.

Pattens are those high blocks that for many years women wore beneath their shoes when walking in the sloppy mud - especially on the banks of the Thames. As I hurried across London Bridge in driving rain to the City, up Pudding Lane and along Eastcheap, I was walking where thousands and thousands and thousands of Londoners have gone before me...many of them, along ago, wearing pattens...

Today the Worshipful Company keeps up the footwear link by providing, among other things, orthopedic shoes for soldiers injured in battle,  and scholarshps for young people engaged in the shoe trade....

It was beautiful to be welcomed into the warm church and to sing glorious old hymns and  be inspired by a superb choir. Afterwards, a drinks reception in the City Library by the Guildhall, with a feast of history:  letters, seals, photographs, telling the story of the  public meetings and Parliamentary debates and  massive work that led to the Penny Post and a proper postal service, with  lots of original letters from Sir Rowland Hill, and splendid proclamations to postmasters couched in forthright Victorian language.

It is a very satisfying thing to celebrate a feast day in style. It lends itself to all sorts of traditions, celebrations, and trimmings. If the Church of England can do it, why can't Catholics?


Patricius said...

Perhaps you might mention this worthy cause to Cardinal Nichols when you next meet him?

Michael said...

Yes! I pray for the restoration of all our wonderful Holy-Days to their original spots!

Anonymous said...

With reference to the Ascension Day service that you attended at St Margaret Pattens 'Church' (not a Church in the sense that it was built after the Reformation and, therefore, has not been consecrated).

Now that you have started attending Protestant services would you recommend other people do so as well? Incidentally, was the officiating 'Minister' male or female?

Joanna Bogle said...

Poor Anonymous: I published your comment in order that my readers can see the silly and pointlessly nasty anonymous stuff that is sometimes sent to me.

If you want to be rude about Anglicans, you will find that after a while it just makes you feel rather third-rate and uncomfortable, especially when you don't have the courage to put your name to what you have written.

But if you want to follow the example of Pope St John Paul and Pope Benedict, and recognise that it is worth trying to have some goodwill by praying together with Anglicans in Anglican churches on special occasions, then I hope you will find that my encouragement has helped you. And if you want to know about the officiating minister at St Margaret Pattens church, all you need to do is follow the link I gave which will give you information about the church and the ministers there.

I think you only wrote the question about the minister because you thought it would be sneering. This is not a good reason for writing something.