Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Vigil of the Ascension

There are two oddities about the Feast of the Ascension I wanted to alert you too. The first is that despite our bishops' apparent preoccupation with getting Catholics to actually open a Bible, most Australian catholics will not celebrate the Feast of the Ascension on the day suggested by Scripture. The second is that in one of those bizarre calendar clashes, Australian traddies this year arguably don't get to satisfy the Holy Day of Obligation associated with the Ascension.

Scriptural feasts

While our bishops have been preoccupied with inventing new means of encouraging us to engage with Scripture, it seems sad that the traditional ones are still being neglected. Like actually celebrating scriptural based feasts on the day specified by the Bible!

Ascension is top of the list in this regard, and even remains a public holiday in some formerly catholic countries like France. So here is my proposal: lobby your bishop to get the Bishops' Conference to return Holy Days of Obligation to the actual date of feasts as part of their scriptural promotion campaign.

And the 1962 calendar

Indeed, the shifting of the feast has a bizarre result for the 1962 calendar. It works like this - tomorrow we celebrate the feast of the Ascension - but the day of obligation itself has, in the Australian calendar, been moved to the Sunday. But on the Sunday in accordance with the rubrics of the traditional calendar, we actually celebrate Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia (in the Novus Ordo, Sunday is the Ascension, with Our Lady's feast moved to Monday).

Does attending the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians on Sunday satisfy the obligation for Ascension? Hmmm, well, I guess a commemoration of the Sunday after the Ascension will be said.... And attending any mass on Saturday night to Sunday, whether or not it is 'of the Sunday', satisfies the Sunday obligation, so maybe?

In any case, all the more reason to make sure you get to Mass on the actual day of the feast, tomorrow!

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