Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Unfortunate coincidence or something else?

I live in the Archdiocese of Detroit. This year, I find that it will be difficult to attend my home parish Wednesday for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I was trying to find out the Mass times for parishes around where I will be that day (also in the archdiocese but about an hour from my home). For two parishes, the websites did not mention that holy day specifically, nor was there even a generic Mass time listed for holy days in general. One of these had a calendar listing for December 8, 2010, but it listed things like choir practice and youth group with absolutely NO mention of it being a Holy Day of Obligation.

I was particularly troubled by this because there seems to be a similar problem in my own parish. I am a lector and I noted before Mass this Sunday that there was no direct reference to the holy day in our announcements yesterday. (There was a reference to a taco supper before the evening Mass but that announcement did not say it was a holy day Mass). (I received the celebrant’s permission (not the pastor but a retired priest who says Mass here regularly) to ad-lib a mention of the holy day in with the taco supper.

This in itself is troubling because this is the second time I’ve had to do something like this for this particular holy day. A few years ago, the holy day fell on a Saturday o a Monday (can’t remember which) and I recall that the pastor apparently had a bit of a snit about the bishops not dropping the obligation as they often do in such instances. Therefore, he intentionally did not mention the feast day in the announcements in the bulletin (despite reminders of it from me and some others. (As I understand it, the obligation did not drop at that time because, after all, it is our nation’s patronal feast day.)

At that time (and during yesterday’s omission), I assumed it was a personal quirk in our pastor (who, though a good man, really seems to downplay any Marian feast days and dogmas). However, now that two other churches in the archdiocese appear to have the same issue, I wonder if this is an archdiocesan directive or an even more widespread issue.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Did I miss something? Or did the parishes involved? I just don’t get what’s going on here.

Your thoughts on this matter would be appreciated – including those that show me that I am wrong.


My parish is in the Detroit Archdiocese too but they specifically stressed that the 8th is a Holy day of obligation and they are celebrating Mass at 7pm Tuesday and and additional Mass on Wednesday in additon to the 2 daily. It was also mentioned in our bulletin.

A gross oversight to say the least. I would suggest calling the parish nearest to where you will be to find out the time.


Same here. I’m in the AoD as well. The Holy Day was mentioned in the parish announcements, and the Mass schedule for Wed was on the front page of the parish bulletin (with a big border around it)

For many parishes (even dioceses) their website is not to be trusted as you would CNN or other constantly updated sites. I am on staff at a large parish and we have a young man that comes in once a week to work on our site. My guess is that smaller parishes may suffer even more from the lack of updates. Most pastors are not trained as business men - especially marketers.

I should have mentioned that the one parish website had the current week’s bulletin (the electronic version of that given in the pews) that made absolutely no mention of the holy day. That’s the troubling part – I’m wondering if it was not mentioned in the parish announcements either (as was the case in my home parish). I was concerned that the pastors at those parishes, like my own pastor, likewise have something against Marian feast days.

Yes, I did call around and finally got the Mass times for the parishes near where I will be – and I respectfully asked that the parishes put them on their websites.

It’s hard to fulfill one’s obligations if the parishes don’t at least let us know the obligation exists and the means (ie Mass times) to fulfill them.


I am fortunate to know the parishes in the area where I will be Dec. 8 and had the time to do the “legwork” to get phone numbers and make phone calls. (It’s near where I grew up.) What about those people who don’t have that information or resources or time to get that info? I’m sad that many will “blow off” the obligation because their parishes don’t think it’s important enough to mention a Holy Day. Sigh.


While priests are not trained as businessmen or marketers, they are presumably trained to shepherd their flock to make sure they get to Mass on Holy Days and thus avoid mortal sin.

I understand that, but quite a lot, if not most, parish websites post a “Holy Day of Obligation” Mass schedule along with their weekly Mass schedule.

So it really does not require any parish website updating.

It’s only a mortal sin if you know there’s an obligation.

After reading this thread I realized that nothing was said at Mass yesterday to remind parishioners that there was a holy day in the middle of the week. The only thing in the bulletin is a listing of Masses on Wednesday amid all the other meetings and activities listed in the calendar.

It would be very easy for my fellow parishioners to miss the holy day and not even realize it.

I am also a resident of the archdiocese of Detroit. Our parish did mention the obligation in both the weekly bulletin and at Mass this past Sunday, so there is no cause to worry that there is a concerted effort in the archdiocese to minimize the feast.

As a former bulletin editor and a former employee at a publishing house, I can attest that it is very likely that this was an oversight. I have been caught embarrassed by omitting or dropping significant details several times. It is quite difficult when dealing with future events or with accelerated deadlines. I am sure that this is what happened here.

I believe that good fraternal correction is in order. I would commend you editor on how well the bulletin looked and just politely inquire about the lack of an item concerning the holy day. After all, it is very to overlook a small item amidst all of the clutter of a typical bulletin these days. Perhaps an item was omitted due to lack of space?

As for a Mass announcement, if I had noticed an omission such as that, I would have placed a sticky-note along with the day’s announcement to remind subsequent lectors of a reminder. In fact, I would write an impromptu blurb and have the celebrating priest at my Mass initial it, just in case there was a question from someone subsequently.

It is unfortunate that we have lost a lot of the solemnness of holy days within the Church. Too many Catholic schools remain open on the day and Mass schedules are arranged around working hours. At least there are still holy days which are observed! I regret transferring Ascension Day to the following Sunday. I truly believe that abrogating the obligations for January 1, August 15, and November 1 when that fall on Saturdays or Mondays to be short-sighted. In fact, I would consider it to be a significant teachable moment to explain to everyone how we must attend Mass on both December 25 and 26 but not on both December 31 and January 1.

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