Why is the Solemnity of the Asension Holy Day of Obligation changed to Sunday?

I genuinely want to understand this since Holy Days of Obligation are one of the precepts of the Church.

Why is a holy day that falls on any day of the week other than Sunday transferred to Sunday? I suppose I get it when it falls on Monday or Friday and they move it. But it really seems odd to move one that falls on the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter.

What is the real logic behind moving the holy day obligation?

Is it really that difficult for people to make it to Mass on a Thursday? Special Mass times are held for Ash Wednesday and Holy Week certainly isn’t moved.

I guess I’m confused, but don’t want to get caught up in focusing more on following the rules than following the spirit of the rule.

Please help me understand!



Code of Canon Law (1246§2) allows each conference of bishops, with prior approval of the Apostolic See, to either suppress or transfer to Sunday some holy days of obligation. In 1999 Pope John Paul II permitted the U S Conference of Catholic Bishops to do this with the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. Each ecclesiastical province in the U S may now either maintain the solemnity on the traditional Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter or transfer it to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. For more on this see here.

As to why bishops choose to move the celebration, consider Archbishop Chaput and the bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Denver’s explanation given in their pastoral statement on the matter.

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