Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Does The Prayer Really Say?»Blog Archive » My now annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday

What Does The Prayer Really Say?»Blog Archive » My now annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday

Fr. Z has a good analysis of tomorrow's Holyday (unless you live in a diocese where Ascension is moved to Sunday). Of all the Holydays of the Catholic Church, this one is explicitly in the Bible insofar as it is stated unequivocally that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven FORTY DAYS after His Resurrection. Do the math and add 40 days to Easter, you get Ascension THURSDAY, not SUNDAY. Yet, to make our religion more comfortable and eliminate any inconvenience, we move Holydays to Sunday or merely not celebrate them as obligatory (Saint Joseph, March 19).

All eight dioceses of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania celebrate Ascension on the actual day (Thursday). Cross the border over the Mason-Dixon Line, our neighboring Archdiocese of Baltimore (Maryland) moved Ascension to Sunday. Even Birmingham, AL, (EWTN) moved it to Sunday. So the televised Mass tomorrow will not be the Ascension.

Ironically, Islam has no hesitancy to require Muslims to honor their historical holydays. Judaism does not move Yom Kippur to make it more convenient. But Catholics have to get a dispensation so our traditional holydays can be moved to accommodate our people's convenience. Canon Law (#1246) states TEN Holydays:

Nativity (Dec. 25)
Epiphany (Jan. 6)
Ascension (40 days after Easter)
Corpus Christi (Thur. after Trinity Sunday)
Mary, Mother of God (Jan. 1)
Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8)
Assumption (Aug. 15)
Saint Joseph (Mar. 19)
Saints Peter and Paul (Jun. 29)
All Saints (Nov. 1)

That same canon, however, allows for each nation's episcopal conference to petition Rome for permission to move one or more of these holydays to Sunday. Today, when people are the most mobile next to being nomads, we cater to their convenience.

Several months ago I had to rent a car at the airport while visiting Irondale, AL. The only car available had manual windows and locks and no air conditioning. Talk about a time warp. Boy, was annoyed. Most of us have forgotten the days where only expensive luxury cars like Cadillacs had power windows, power locks, electric seats, heated seats, and FM. El cheapo cars were all manual and often had manaul transmission, too. Times changed and technology got less expensive. People now EXPECT and DEMAND convenience. Nothing wrong in that but it can spill over into one's spirituality. When you are used to having remote control, cable TV with 50+ channels, microwave ovens and high-speed broadband internet access, any delay is considered irritating to say the least.

Hence, people EXPECT the times of Mass to be convenient. They expect diocesan policies and even canon law to cater to their convenience. People complain when you make demands of them, like having only practicing Catholics as godparents for baptism or confirmation. When you tell them they NEED at least one practicing Catholic but they CANNOT have two men or two women as godparents, nor can the parents be sponsors for baptism or confirmation, you get rebellion. "What do you mean?" We changed the laws of fast and abstinence and made them so convenient they are almost ineffective for some people. We don't have to return to the rigor of ancient days but I read somewhere a doctor is advocating VOLUNTARY practice of the old THREE HOUR fasting before receiving Holy Communion. Once, it had been no food from midnight on, then it was three hours, now, one hour before reception of the Holy Eucharist. One hour has no effect on the body but three hours actually has a physiological effect but not deleterious or dangerous (unless you have a condition like diabetes, etc.)

Could you imagine the UPROAR if the Church demanded we return to the 3 hour Communion fast? But any one of us can do VOLUNTARILY and do it for the intention of making reparation for sacrileges committed against the Most Blessed Sacrament around the world. Just a thought. And, why not go to Mass even on those 'non-obligatory' holydays especially when they fall on a Saturday or Monday? If our Jewish and Muslim brethren can keep their feasts and traditions, why can't we Catholics? Embrace the inconvenience and offer it up. Save souls. One by one, brick by brick.


Anonymous said...

In my diocese, the only two Holydays observed are Christmas and the Theotokos. The rest have been either suppressed or moved to Sunday. God forbid we should move the Superbowl, Macy's Parade or the President's inaugural speech.

As for the fast, I was a Sister in a habit-wearing community where not even the 1 hour fast was kept. Coffee, juice, milk or tea where all drank 5 minutes before Mass - from the Prioress down. Sometimes a little cookie or candy were sneaked shortly before the hour. Since leaving the community I think I've become more traditional and observant. A three hour fast is not a big deal. If people make lines for 3 hours to get tickets to a concert or sports event sometimes in overcrowded super hot locations, how about a little sacrifice for the Lord? All Muslims observe the strict Ramadan fast. And Catholics can't fast for 3 hours?

Lord have mercy on us...

Anonymous said...

Save souls indeed!

Isn't that the purpose of our Church? The salvation of souls? Isn't that the final canon law - the supreme law is the salvation of souls?

I fear that even after two thousand years, we still don't get it. Only Our Lord could continue to love such a stiff-necked group!

Thanks for this, Father. It's a disgrace that Catholics, who belong to the one true Church and have the Truth, are so indifferent.


Brooke H. said...


RomanCatholic Deacon said...

Right on Father! Speaking of fasting; Our Lady has asked for it many times in her apparitions. Being a diabetic myself, I have fasted on Wednesdays & Fridays from midnight to 3pm (the hour of Our Lord's death)for many years. It has no effect on my sugar. But I'm sure it has an effect on my soul! :-)
Deacon John Giglio

Just another mad Catholic said...

Hear, Hear !! we do need more fasting and reverence, especially for actual Holydays rather than transfering it to Sunday.

When I was in the SSPX we made sure that we celebrated Feast days on the actual day, even if we celebrated them in the Evening to make sure that everyone could attend (some people made a 4 hour round journey).

Anonymous said...

O.K., Father Trigilio - you opened Pandora's box!
Why is it assumed that everyone here in the U.S., is such a weakling that they could not attend Holy Mass if it were not celebrated on Sunday? This is just another example of our life saving, soul saving faith being watered down to almost nothingness.We practically celebrate NOTHING leaving the lay faithful to believe it's almost always ordinary time. The Feast of Epiphany, Ascension Thursday/Sunday nothing is observed as it should be! Where are the celebrations of Candlemas, the Marian processions etc.? Doesn't catholic still mean universal - shouldn't we all be celebrating the same thing at the same time?
One of the biggest contributing factors to this chaos is the practice of extraordinary "eucharistic Ministers" the rare sight of a patent, and the fact that we no longer have altar railings to kneel at when we receive Holy Communion. Receiving Our Lord has been reduced to the equivalent of a drive thru fast food snack! Why, why, why can't the distribution of Holy Communion be limited to the priest or deacon? Wouldn't it be better to shorten the homily a few minutes so that the priest has more time to distribute Communion if necessary?
When did the Johnny Carson monologue, that passes for a homily in many parishes, the back slapping sign of the peace, or the incorrect practice of holding hands during the Our Father become more important than the True Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist? When did Holy Mother Church decide that the faithful needed to be entertained at Mass and sanction the use of a supersoaker at the Teen Life Mass to illustrate Mary showering us with graces (I personally witnessed this myself in the Diocese of Dallas.)? Are we really thought to be that stupid?
Why is it that the Tridentine, the Anglican Rite, or the Maronite Rite are all infinitely more reverent and holy than what can be found at most parishes through out the U.S.?
Who do I write to, How can I effect REAL change? Is anyone in Rome listening?!!! Our catechesis stinks! We are SPIRITUALLY STARVING!!! Please bring back the Index of Forbidden Books and put Harry Potter and the Twilight series on that list. We need guidance not more chuckles.Put some TEETH back into the Faith! Aren't we the church Militant? Aren't we supposed to be soldiers for Christ?

Please Father comment on this rant! I would love to hear what you, Father Z, Father Phillips, Father Longenecker, the orthometer and other catholic blogs have to say on this topic.
God Bless,
Mad Mom
p.s. I know that some may surmise I must be 80 after reading this entry but I'm only in my forties.

Padre Giovanni Trigilio said...

As Fr. Z is oft to say, "brick by brick, stone by stone." In other words, Holy Mother Church can be slower than a snail at times, but remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Likewise, Pope B16 is moving slowly but surely. Inch by inch rather than yard by yard (and some would have him go at light speed), nevertheless, once the revised English translation of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is in effect, you will see a gradual increase in devotion. The effects of those who misinterpreted and distorted the actual documents of V2 are clearly seen to anyone. We may not see it in our lifetime but the new seminarians in the pipeline are more devout than many of my colleagues were when I was in minor seminary. Reverence and respect for tradition are no longer revolutionary concepts nor are they unpopular. If EVERYONE who claimed to be an authentic Catholic made a point to attend and to encourage their family and friends to accompany them to Forty Hours, Novenas, Feasts and Solemnities, others would eventually (if just out of curiosity) come and see what is going on. Remember what Blessed Theresa of Calcutta said: "we are not called by God to be successful; we are called to be faithful."

Brooke H. said...

To anonymous "mad mom":

I'm in my twenties and share your sentiments, so don't sweat it! ;-) Those who would call our views "ancient" are correct... but that's what makes them Catholic! They are supposed to be universal, through not only space, but also time. Just wanted let you know I agree.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time commenting on your blog, Father Triglio-thank God for the 'Anonymous' button.

As always, you are so 'spot on'! You always 'tell it like it is' and don't care if you ruffle feathers!

Why are we Catholics such wussies? We're supposed to be the 'CHURCH MILITANT'!

Mad Mom-I absolutely agree with you in your 'rant'-and I'm in my mid-fifties!

On a lighter note, Father....NO CAR AIR CONDITIONER IN ALABAMA? YIKES! I've been to EWTN twice myself-in September 1998 and in May 2005. And both times it was HOT! I can't take the heat anyway here in Upstate New York-how could I take it down in the Deep South? That was quite a penance for you!

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