Ascension Thursday question

I just got back from indult Mass for the Ascension Thursday (at St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis) a little while ago…and just now got off the phone with my brother who didn’t know anything about it being a Holy Day of Obligation (he attends N.O. parish). Is it still? Or is this one of those Holy Days moved to the closest Sunday by the bishops of the U.S.?

I can’t seem to get a clear-cut answer from the web or the USCCB daily readings for today (which list readings for both “Ascension of Our Lord” and “Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter”).



I think it depends on where you live.

Most, but not all, of the bishops (decided by ecclesiastical province, I think, rather than diocese by diocese) cf [post=2165129]Ascension Day Question[/post].


It was for me here in Nashville but I have to say it was hard to notice. My bulletin this week didn’t mention a thing about it and we only had the daytime mass today. We usually have an evening mass on Holy Days. Luckily I work near the Cathedral and was able to catch mass there after work.

Here in Oz it’s moved to Sunday, although I did attend daily Mass.

The movement of this great feast day to Sunday seems to send us the wrong message. Has the doctrine of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven, which occured 40 days after Easter, been undermined by the bishops?

Not just that…if God is EVERYWHERE how can it be a sin not to go to church in Holland, but perfectly fine and not a problem to wait until Sunday here in Britain…

Anna x

Are you *sure *it was the Solemnity of the Ascension? :confused:
(cf. the list of US dioceses retaining Thursday celebration above)

On the other hand, I’ve no idea what to make of this, from :

17, Friday

Ascension Thursday


Finally, checking a random parish website (St Ann, Nashville), find this:
“Next Weekend, May 19-20 we will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord.
The Masses for that weekend will be at the regular times listed above.”


Because freedom and authority has been given to Bishops, either individually or collectively in some countries, to make their own arrangements in respect of Holy Days of Obligation. Different cities and countries have always, for example, honoured their own particular local saints days and such, so it was never a totally standard thing to start with.

Remember Christ gave ALL the Apostles the power to bind and loose, not just Peter, although he had the unique and final authority of the Keys - and our bishops are all successors to the Apostles.

Yes, but Lil: if God is God and He’s the SAME everywhere…why isn’t Ascension Day the same EVERYWHERE!

Anna x

The Ascension IS always the same date, just occasionally the FEAST or celebration of it is moved to the Sunday after.

As an analogy - say I turn 40, and my birthday happens to fall on a Thursday. That date is my birthday, of course, and I can celebrate it on the day. But if I’m planning a big party with relatives and friends coming in from all over, I may choose to leave the party until the weekend simply because it’s more convenient for them.

I may even (shock horror) choose to have a small dinner out with hubby and kids ON the Thursday because they live with me as well as the big party with friends and the whole family on the weekend because … well, because I can!

Same with the Church - some bishops decide for the sake of convenience to move it to the Sunday when everyone will be at church to celebrate anyway, others decide sticking to the actual date is more important even if most people can’t or don’t go to Mass as a result.

Make sense?

No, I’m sorry…but it doesn’t. For me if Ascension Day is Thursday, it should be celebrated on Thursday worldwide or moved to Sunday worldwide. Not let every bishop pick and choose for himself what’s more convenient. As my godmother (who died aged 94 in 2001) used to say ‘The beauty about being Catholic was that EVERYTHING was the SAME wherever you went’. Sorry, but that is my opinion too!

Anna x

I see it that our obedience should be the same, no matter where we live.

But isn’t it strange? Like saying 'If you live in the Westminster Diocese you’re to call this colour ‘Violet’ but if you live in the Boston Diocese it’s ‘Purple’ … Okay, maybe it’s just me…but to me it’s strange! Why not have the same rules apply around the world!

Anna x

I’d rather just obey and not question - everything is calmer and more peaceful that way.

My understanding is: “Convenience” is not the primary reason for translation of feasts. Rather, the bishops realize that people are not fulfilling their obligations on midweek holy days, and so translate feasts to Sunday, when people will more likely fulfill their obligation, thus removing an occassion of sin.

Whether this is the best way to address the matter is a debate better left to another thread.


But it was not the case that EVERYTHING was the SAME wherever you went (at least: Not in your godmother’s (holy woman that I am sure she was) lifetime).


But the Church has seen fit to allow bishops some leeway on this sort of thing – period. I, for one, would probably agree with you, but our opinion is moot.


That reasoning by the bishops reminds me of Brother Dave Gardner’s (a comedian in the 1960s) solution to rising crime rates. Just make everything legal, then we would have no crime.

Since so many Catholics don’t even attend Sunday Mass every week, maybe the bishops could make the Sunday Obligation monthly instead of weekly. That way those that habitually miss Mass would only have 12 sins a year instead of 52.

The same rule does apply around the world. This is the rule:

Can. 1246 §2 However, the Episcopal Conference may, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, suppress certain holydays of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.


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