QUAERITUR: Ascension Thursday Sunday… what to do?

From a priest reader:

I am facing a dilemma.  I live in a part of the country which does not observe the Ascension in a biblical manner – that is, forty days after the resurrection.  Instead, we observe something that has come to be called "Ascension Thursday Sunday". 

My parish offers Mass in both ordinary and extraordinary forms (at least on Sunday). 

For this coming Sunday, am I to use the propers for the Sunday AFTER the Ascension or could I use the propers for Ascension (for the Mass in the Extraordinary Form)? 

I have consulted the Ordo (FSSP), which doesn’t foresee (or address) the dilemma, and it only gives the propers for the Sunday after the Ascension, with no mention of what might be done in my circumstances.  I would again be grateful for any help you can provide in this matter.

 

It seems to me that today is Ascension Thursday and that Sunday is the Sunday after Ascension.  The strange innovation of Ascension Thursday Sunday is not a feature of the older, traditional understanding of the liturgical year.

I would use the formulary for the Sunday after Ascension on the Sunday after Ascension.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to QUAERITUR: Ascension Thursday Sunday… what to do?

  1. Marysann says:

    This year I will not be attending Mass on Ascension Day even though I go to Mass almost every day. Our diocese celebrates the Ascension on Sunday, but we are traveling this weekend to a diocese which celebrates it on Thursday. I went to Mass today, and I will be attending Mass on Sunday, but I will have to read the Ascension readings at home. I won’t be hearing them in church.

  2. Is it something the Diocese moves though? I know ours moves it to the sunday after, yes, it makes no sense biblically, and the average person probably doesnt know/care/realize that, but I digress. Personally, I seek out an oratory for the traditional form so I can atleast still know when pentecost should be (relax I am kidding : )

    I guess my comment comes with a question, and not to question the great Fr. Z, but would he need permission from the ordinary and or pastor to say a different mass, and does the sunday when a bishop makes it ascension sunday become a true solemnity, in that the mass of the solemnity trumps anything that would be normal for the day?

  3. PAT says:

    For those who might be in the area tonight:

    Ascension Thursday, May 21, there will be a Solemn High Mass at 7:30 p.m., St. Bernadette’s Roman Catholic Church, 70 University Blvd., East, Silver Spring, (Four Corners area), Maryland. The sung Mass will be Missa Ascendes Christus (Tomas Luis de Victoria), and selected motets by Chanty, a world-famous men’s group. The sermon will be delivered by Rev. David L. Toups, S.T.D.

  4. Justin in Ohio says:

    I’m not trying to argue with the notion that Ascension Thursday should be on a Thursday, but I would like to be enlightened by some of the more knowledgeable posters (or by Fr. Z himself).

    Does it have to be exactly 40 days after Easter because that’s the Tradition (the way it’s always been) or because we should interpret that biblical length of time literally. I always thought the number of “40 days” was symbolic (just as Christ’s 40 days in the desert, or other symbolic numbers (4, 6, 7, 12, 70, 5,000, etc.).

    Can anyone provide a clear view of this issue and the reason for the importance of exactly 40 days and the importance of having the feast of the Ascension on a Thursday? I’m not being sarcastic….I’m seriously in search of the truth here.

  5. paul says:

    Dear Father,
    Is there any way some office in the Vatican could be made aware of the terrible confusion all this is causing?? Next year we will celebrate Easter on the same Sunday as the Orthodox- 40 days later we could also celebrate Ascension thursday with them.. Wouldn’t that be a true form of ecumenism to celebrate Easter and the Ascension on the same days as our Orthodox brethren?

  6. Jeremy UK says:

    I have just come from Holy Mass (EF) for the Ascension, although to general annoyance the Bishops of England and Wales unilaterally decided about 18 months ago that the Ascension should move to the following Sunday. Indeed they insisted that Mass of the Ascension could not be celebrated on its original day. When the question was raised with Rome however, the decision came back that the day of obligation could indeed be moved, but that Mass of the feast could definitely be celebrated on the proper day provided there was no pretence that it fulfilled the obligation. Obviously the obligation would automatically be fulfilled by Sunday Mass.

    This problem of transferred feasts occurs here too for for the Epiphany and Corpus Christi. So this next Sunday is “also” the Ascension. The beautiful Mass of Sunday after the Ascension however would appear now to be lost. The whole business is ill-conceived and unnecessary. Corpus Christi might stand the transfer but the very nature of Epiphany and Ascension (at set times: 12 days post Christmas; 40 days post Easter) is utterly silly. It doesn’t take the whole process of following the liturgical year seriously. It also sends the wrong message that Sunday is the only day people need to go into “religious mode.” Other days don’t count and no effort need be made.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    Is there a rubric in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite that mentions something about “external solemnities” or celebrating a major feast on it’s proper day AND on the following Sunday? I don’t have my library nearby so I can’t check, but it seems like this would be the way to solve everything.

  8. I agree with Jeremy. It lets people leave their faith on the altar on sunday. The only person its convenient for is the enemy. I know that’s harsh, but it encourages bad habits. Not saying all people will fall into this, but the church has its structures for a reason, to adequately teach.

    Go to a monastery. You Wake up, Pray, Eat, Pray, Work, Pray, Work, Pray, Eat, Meditate, Pray, Sleep

    A perfect Rhythm. Human beings are creatures of habit. THey need that rhythm to keep their sanity

  9. Ken says:

    It’s important to note that the bishops TRANSFERED the novus ordo from Ascension Thursday to the nearest Sunday. That is different from an external solemnity, which features the same liturgy on its real day and the nearest Sunday for people who don’t want to go to Mass on a weekday.

    For the TLM, it can’t be done on both Ascension Thursday and the Sunday that follows. As mentioned, the latter is the Sunday After Ascension. So if one chooses to skip the TLM today, then you are not going to hear Mass for the Ascension on Sunday. In other words, get to the traditional Latin Mass today.

  10. Dove says:

    Ascension Thursday is the feast day. Sunday is the External solemnity of the Ascension. The same Mass is said on both days at our EF Mass. I think we will have a sung Mass tonight (viri galilei), as well as on Sunday. Corpus Christi is handled the same way.

  11. Fr. Guy says:

    Keeping the solemnity of the Ascension on the fortieth day after Easter is a traditional not a biblical thing. The Acts of the Apostles places the Ascension forty days after Easter. The Gospel of Luke (who by tradition also wrote Acts) has it occurring directly after the Resurrection and Matthew’s Gospel doesn’t mention it at all. Mark’s Gospel states it happened with no description of how or precisely when. John’s Gospel refers to Jesus returning to the Father (John 20:17) without specifics about when. Please let’s not get into the quasi-Protestant mentality of thinking we have to do something in the liturgical calendar because “that’s what the Bible says”.

  12. Jeff says:

    My diocese has only one parish that celebrates the Ascension on Thursday. All others are on Sunday. That parish, however, is also the only parish in the diocese that currently offers the Extraordinary Form. They actually offer both forms but because of the EF both forms are celebrated on Thursday.

  13. Ken says:

    Dove — what your parish is doing is technically illicit. If no Mass were to be said today (because there is not a substitute on the 1962 calendar) then you could arguably use the novus ordo rules:
    http://www.usccb.org/norms/1246.htm

    But take a look at the fine print — Ascension Thursday is transfered in the novus ordo, not designated as an external solemnity. If a diocese goes with Ascension Sunday, then Ascension Thursday gets completely scrapped.

    This is why it’s better not to try and shove a square peg into a round hole. Just use the 1962 calendar as it’s written.

  14. Kaneohe says:

    Justin: regarding your very good questions:

    In response to question #1: Easter is Day 1, Easter Monday is Day 2, Ascension Thursday is Day 40. Because Easter (Day 1)is always a Sunday, Ascension (Day 40) will always fall on a Thursday. The celebration of the Solemnity of Ascension can be transfered from Thursday to the following Sunday by the local bishop with proper permission. (I personally think this is a big mistake, and concur with Jeremy and Patrick, among many others of similar mind.)

    Regarding questions #2: The 40 days of Lent recall the 40 days of Jesus’ being tempted in the wilderness (Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-13) which directs us to recall the 40 years of Israel’s temptation in the wilderness on their journey to the Promised Land.

    The number 40 is a very familiar one in the Bible.
    In the story of Noah and the flood, it rains 40 days and 40 nights (Gn 7:4,12,17; 8:6).

    After the sealing of the covenant at Mt. Sinai, Moses is with God on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights (Ex 24:18).

    After being delivered from Egypt, given the Ten Commandments, and having made a covenant with God, the Israelites then found themselves encamped within easy reach of the Promised Land. Scouts go to check the lay of the land and the inhabitants’ strength. This takes them 40 days (Nm 13:25).

    The scouts bring a glowing report of the land, but also note that some of the inhabitants are large and imposing. Despite the urgings of Joshua and Caleb, the people are afraid to go up into the land. Their refusal is a serious failure of faith in Yahweh’s promise to give them the land. As a punishment, the people are to wander for 40 years, one year for each day the scouts were gone.(Nm 14:33).

    In the New Testament Jesus is tempted in the desert for 40 days and nights; and Jesus’ ascension to heaven occurs 40 days after the Resurrection (Acts 1:3).

    These are but a few example of the number 40 appearing in the Bible. More often than not, numbers in the Bible are not meant to be taken literally, but rather are to be understood symbolically.

    What would be the symbolic meaning of the number 40?
    On one level, it represents a long period of time, but there is more.

    This long period of time has content: It is a time of need, of struggle, of testing.

    Forty also denotes a period of preparation for some special action of the Lord; it is a time of grace.

    After the flood in Genesis, a new creation begins.

    After Moses converses with God, the covenant is renewed.

    After Israel’s wandering in the wilderness, they will enter into the Promised Land.

    After Jesus’ temptation, he begins his public ministry;

    At the end of Lent, we celebrate Holy Week and the great feast of Easter.

    After the Ascension, we enter the age of the Church.

    In my opinion, keeping the feasts, solemnities, etc. on their “actual” day (be it the 12th, the 40th, or the 50th) reminds me that before all other things, I am a Catholic and that my days, weeks, and special times are to be God centered.

    Hope this is somewhat helpful to you.

    Grace and peace.

  15. Gloria says:

    St. Stephen’s, Sacramento, CA., FSSP, will celebrate Ascension Thursday on Ascension Thursday, as a Holy Day of Obligation, noted in the 1962 Missal and in the Ordo. A Low Mass was said at 7am and a High Mass will be at 7pm. Sunday, May 24 will be the Sunday after Ascension.

  16. Lirioroja says:

    This year I have Marysann\’s (first commenter) situation in reverse. I\’m in New York where the Ascension is celebrated today and is a Holy Day of Obligation. I went to Mass (Novus Ordo) and fulfilled my obligation. Tomorrow I leave for the weekend and where I\’m going the solemnity is transferred to Sunday. So I\’ll be celebrating the Ascension twice and I miss the Sunday after Ascension. I think Marysann\’s situation is sad (because she misses the solemnity completely) whereas mine is just comical (echos of the movie Groundhog Day.)

  17. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Dove,What your parish did is licit and in accord with the rubrics of the missal which allows with the permission of the ordinary a first or second class feast which would fall during the weeks to be observed on sunday if a sizable group of faithful are presents.This is also what the Ecclesia Dei commission says.

  18. MAJ Tony says:

    Our parish EF is doing what Dove’s is doing, Ascension Thursday and External Solemnity on Sun in keeping with local ordinary and OF. I just got home from Mass and dinner. I’m glad they had it tonight, or I wouldn’t get a Missa Cantata this week, since I’m going to my home parish this weekend. I guess I’m getting Ascension Sunday too. *rolleyes*

  19. Fr. Brendan Kelly says:

    With regard Justin in Ohio’s question, I have to respectfully but firmly disagree with Fr. Guy. While traditions have grown up around this celebration, the root of it is an undeniable fact of Scripture that the Ascension _did_ happen and it happened 40 days after the Resurrection.

    The Gospels of Luke, John and Mark all refer to Jesus’ ascension without naming the time. In Acts, Luke tells us deliberately that Jesus “presented Himself alive to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God” at the end of these 40 days, he ascends bodily in their presence into heaven. This is a visible event to the point that angels have to come to get the Apostles to stop staring into the heavens after Him. From this point they return to Jerusalem per His instructions and await coming of the Holy Spirit “the promise of the Father” about Whom He had spoken to them. They then devote themselves to prayer around Mary and the 11 and some of the women and the others — some 120 people in all — until the coming of the Holy Spirit on the morning of Pentecost (50 days after Easter). It is this 9 days that the whole Church spent devoted in prayer which is the first Great Novena. The whole notion of praying a novena comes from this, that we join our prayers with those of the Church gathered together in prayer.

  20. Joshua says:

    I am surprised. An older edition of the FSSP ordo lists, as an option, an External Solemnity on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday, apparently they omitted that now

    Ascension Thursday is on Thursday liturgical for anyone following the EF (the move of Ascension Thurs, Corpus Christi or Epiphany is done, not by the US bishops, but by Rome through a rubric in the Missal that where they are not HoD’s they are to be so transferred. The latter two were not HoD’s before Vatican II in the US)

    But an external solemnity would be allowed. The office would be of the Sunday after though (and there is a limit on the number of such Masses, probably not an issue for most though). Card. Castrillion Hoyos recommended such as a gesture of unity

  21. Tom says:

    In the EF; On the Sunday within the Octave, either the Proper Mass for the day can be said, OR (one?) Mass of the External Solemnity of the Ascension ie. the Ascension Mass. The office should be of the Sunday within the Octave.

    This will also apply to the Feast Corpus Christi.

    Here is what the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has ruled on the issue:

    “1. The legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.

    2. While in accordance with Canon 1246 §2 of the Code of Canon Law the Episcopal Conference can legitimately transfer Holydays of obligation with the approbation of the Holy See, it is also legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.

    3. Thus, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae Generales Missalis Romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference, as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.”

  22. Nathan says:

    This is making my head hurt. I’m trying to figure out the Ordo for the ferial day after the Ascension where we’ve had no Ascension Masses celebrated the day before (our TLM is Friday nights). I’ll print out the ordinaries per the Ordo, but it is awfully strange to be having a ferial Mass of the Ascension when the parish and diocese haven’t had the feast of the Ascension yet.

    Father, can’t your friends in CDW help alleviate these headaches?

    In Christ,

  23. ssoldie says:

    Chaos and confusion, satan really likes that very much.

  24. Christopher says:

    While I think it is an excelleng thing that the Pope has restored or whatever term you want to use the extraordinary form, we really need to have a common calendar. Holding on to an old calendar makes no sense.

    That said – I detest the transfer of holydays to Sundays – pure laziness on the part of bishops, that’s all it was. And of course in other circumstances its all the laity this, the laity that, lets form a committee or commission or pastoral team. But on this issue no consultation whatsoever.

  25. Ken says:

    Joshua wrote: “I am surprised. An older edition of the FSSP ordo lists, as an option, an External Solemnity on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday, apparently they omitted that now”

    Perhaps they simply read the USCCB document on Ascension Sunday. It is a TRANSFERED feast for the novus ordo, NOT an external solemnity (unlike Corpus Christi, for example, for the TLM). In other words, the novus ordo has an appointed set of propers for Ascension Thursday that are not of the Ascension. That doesn’t work with the TLM.

    Nathan, you hit the nail on the head. Making up 2009 rules for the 1962 missal/calendar creates a tangled web. Today’s (Friday) TLM is indeed the ferial Mass of the Ascension.

  26. Geoffrey says:

    “St. Stephen’s, Sacramento, CA., FSSP, will celebrate Ascension Thursday on Ascension Thursday, as a Holy Day of Obligation, noted in the 1962 Missal and in the Ordo.”

    Regardless of what form is used, Ascension Thursday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the USA.

  27. Scarlett says:

    I’m in the exact same situation as Lirioroja. I attended Mass for the Ascension yesterday, drove 5 hours to another diocese to visit friends last night, and so I’ll be attending Mass for the Ascension again on Sunday. I’d been worried that my travel plans were going to be the reverse and I would have been in Marysann’s place. I much prefer it this way, slightly ridiculous though it may be.

  28. Ken says:

    Geoffrey wrote: “Regardless of what form is used, Ascension Thursday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the USA.”

    Except in those tiny pockets known as the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Boston, the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Archdiocese of Newark, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the entire state of Nebraska…

  29. michigancatholic says:

    I have a huge gripe about this. It’s really stupid but it still aggravates me to no end. It looks systematic but I’m sure it’s not. It’s just endemic carelessness, I think.

    a) Most parishes don’t warn mass-goers of upcoming holy days. It leaves me wondering if the priests even care. It’s like holy days are a complete afterthought or like they don’t expect you to show up anyway. I keep track for myself, because if I didn’t I’d be missing them. But is that how the church is supposed to behave?? You tell me. (Yes, I know there are bulletins, read on.)

    b) Parishes don’t always have evening masses for people who work. In fact, a fair number of them don’t and my local parish doesn’t always. Sometimes they say they do, but they turn out to be at 4PM or some such time (especially on Dec 31st). It’s like they’re going to a big party and can’t be bothered with you. The same people who can’t make 8AM masses usually can’t make 4PM masses, for the exact same reason, and shouldn’t have to spell that out *every single time* it comes up. They don’t care. They simply don’t care.

    c) Most parishes have these infernal answering machines and they put the information on them, but 9 times out of 10, they either have the information from last Christmas or no holy day information at all on them. They’re invariably programmed by some middle aged lady, ½ the information you need is present and it’s about 6 months old.

    d) IF you happen to get somebody on the phone, which is a trick in itself, they usually treat you like a total NUTCASE for asking about a holy day. It’s really, really insulting, and most of these people ought to be very glad I’m not face to face with them. GRRRR.

    e) I suppose I could always go on a road trip and try to hunt down bulletins from half a dozen parishes, but it probably wouldn’t help because mpst of the churches are locked anyway. The ushers or whatever stand there and wait for people to leave after the last Sunday mass & the door locks after them automatically. That’s how it is now. Nothing goes on at most parishes around here most of the time. You can’t get in. Only the old bulletins are on the internet because they don’t keep that updated either (I tried that too).

    I have found a couple of parishes with more commitment and a better chance of consistently having some masses on holy day eves or evenings. It doesn’t always work out, but it’s better. They happen to be 20-30 miles from my house though. They’re bigger parishes a couple of towns over.

    I know this is stupid. I wouldn’t have this problem if I were independently wealthy and could take days off all the time, but I’m not. It makes me really angry. I keep doing this because I chose to be Catholic. But it aggravates me, nevertheless.

    BTW, some holy days are worse than others. The Holy Maternity of Mary (because it’s New Years’ Eve which apparently is more “important,”) and the Ascension (because apparently about 1% of the population even care) are the worst. December 8th is also difficult. November 1st and Aug 15th are generally easier to negotiate. Maybe nobody has anything else planned then. Go figure.

    The whole thing could be avoided by:
    a)Making up your mind, if you are a priest or a deacon, what you think of holy days, once and for all.
    b)Getting out of your little cocoon and caring who your parishioners are and how to reach them. A lot of them have to work days. It’s quite NORMAL. Wake up!
    c)Setting up a holy day schedule and STICKING TO IT even if you have a hot party to go to on New Years’ Eve (don’t tell me, I don’t want to know).
    d)Not treating people who are trying like DORKS for trying. This is huge. (Did you know that when I called to join the church in the first place, the priest asked me “what do you want to do that for?” and then told me to call him back in 2 weeks. !#:*??? What was that?)

    BTW, if I’m having these problems, I can’t imagine that I’m the only one. I wonder how many people just give up.

  30. michigancatholic says:

    PS, re talking about holy days in the previous mass, one would think that the church has no liturgical calendar at all, the way most parishes behave. That’s a whole another subject, a huge one, and not a nice one for some people who run parishes.

    And re the priest who told me to call back in 2 weeks: That was 1985. I did call back in 2 weeks, went through a totally useless RCIA program process, and I’ve been Catholic ever since. Most of it has been very happy. But I’m aware that things are not always as they seem in the church. There are a lot of stupid and careless things that happen (compared with my previous experiences in Protestantism, that is). Catholics need to get their act together in a big way. It’s one of our chief problems in the temporal realm. “God helps them that helps themselves” it’s said. It’s more true than you-all think.

  31. michigancatholic says:

    PS, about the whole “locked parish” thing. Even if the church before V2 is said to have been a museum (it wasn’t), the church after V2 is a mausoleum. The doors are locked, virtually nothing goes on, day after day, night after night. The modernized buildings stand in the dusty summer daylight of country towns, like monuments to an idea no one bothers to celebrate from their real preoccupations down the street at the grocery and the bank and the school (teaching gay liberation) and the place of work (insisting on diversity). People show up on Sunday, it’s what you’re expected to do.

    {I know that the Catholic church wasn’t a museum because I was there. I was that little non-catholic kid in the 8th grade (pulled from the public for pesky behavior) who saw it with the clarity of a startled observer and I remember. It led to my conversion many years later.}

  32. Mike says:

    Let’s take Marysann’s situation for a second…

    …I live in Philadelphia (Ascension on Thursday). Let’s say I have to travel to Washington (Ascension on Sunday) on business from Tuesday until Friday. As I understand the current rules:

    a) Except in private observances, I’m to follow the calendar of the local church. Therefore, if I recite the Hours privately, I can say the Hours for Thursday of the Sixth week of Easter (which is what it is where I’m at) or Ascension (which is what it is at home). When I go to Mass – or if I go to a public recitation of the Hours – I’m following the calendar for the Thursday of the Sixth week of Easter…no ifs, ands or buts.
    b) Because I’m in a place where the holy day of obligation is transferred to a Sunday, I’m not required to attend Mass that day. (Not saying that I wouldn’t, just saying that I don’t have to.)

    Now using Washington may be a bad example, because I could fulfill my obligation in an Eastern Rite church (for one, the Ukrainians have a church around the corner from the National Shrine). However, let’s say I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina (Ascension on Sunday).

    Questions:
    A) Am I correct in saying I am not obliged to attend Mass on Thursday if the local church does not observe the Ascension that day?
    B) What if it’s the reverse: I live in Washington (or Charlotte) and travel to New York on business. I don’t attened Mass that day – that evening, at a dinner, someone tells me it was a holy day. No issues there, correct?
    C) In example B, I’m told it’s a holy day by someone at a breakfast meeting. At that point, am I obligated to attend Mass, or do I get dispensed because it’s not a holy day in my local church?

    I was thinking about these scenarios the other day when I saw the calendar notation about how few provinces celebrated Ascension on the traditional Thursday any more. Even where I work, of all the holy days that falls on working days, Mass attendance is the lowest on Ascension, probably because a) it’s movable, not fixed to any particular week; and b) because some places observe it on Thursday, some on Sunday.

    While I believe Ascension should remain on the traditional Thursday, the prevailing thought is that we (the US Church) should make up our minds already! How can people know what to do if they don’t know when to do it?

  33. MAJ Tony says:

    Mike, my guess is “it depends.”
    A: you probably wouldn’t be hearing an Ascension Thursday Mass on Thursday if the feast is transferred in that diocese. Therefore, you wouldn’t be able to attend a legit Ascension Mass. Kinda hard to do the impossible.
    B: I would suppose you are covered IF you are home on Sunday, in which case your local Mass would be the Ascension Mass.
    C: When in Rome…

    I know some Catholics who, like my family, always attended the Ash Wed and Triduum that believed those were Holy Days of Obligation. Me, I feel like I’m lost without them. That and All Souls.

  34. kjcm says:

    I was in the diocese of Assisi for Ascension Thursday, but they do not
    celebrate Ascension Thursday on Thursday, but on Sunday. Now I am in Rome
    and I believe in the diocese of Rome (certainly at the Vatican) they already
    celebrated Ascension Thursday. So because of this weird transfer thing it
    looks like I will not be able to celebrate Ascension Thursday at all this
    year.

  35. prof. basto says:

    More often than not, numbers in the Bible are not meant to be taken literally, but rather are to be understood symbolically.

    Agreed. But both the Lord’s Ressurection, and his glorious Ascension into Heaven are to be taken literally.

    And I have always understood that the time of 40 days between the literal fact of the Ressurection and the literal fact Ascension, during which the Risen Lord dwelt among us before taking his place in flesh, bone, blood, soul and Divinity at the right hand of the Father, was also to be taken literally.

    That’s why the event should be celebrated on a Thursday. It is a major event, and should not be treated as a minor feast and be transferred: it celebrates the ultimate glorification and exaltation of Jesus, and also — because Jesus Christ is trully God but also a true and perfect human being, a man — the day when our common humanity, through Jesus, reached its highest point: our Redeemer, with his human body marked with the wounds of his saving Sacrifice, is enthroned at the right hand of the Father in the apex of heavenly glory, as we confess in the Creed.

  36. Precentrix says:

    As one poster already mentioned, it could be possible to celebrate the *external* solemnity of the Ascension on the Sunday afterwards, just like we do with certain other feasts. Which means, on Thursday we had the Mass of the Ascension (traditional Mass, traditional calendar), but we could have the Mass of the Ascension on Sunday too. I am sure that that must be permitted, above all if it is transferred in the OF.

    Besides which, the choir can always sing the propers of the Ascension while the priest says the Mass of the Sunday afterwards. Then it only gets confusing for the readings!

  37. Vernon says:

    As Tom wrote:
    Here is what the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has ruled on the issue:

    “1. The legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.

    2. While in accordance with Canon 1246 §2 of the Code of Canon Law the Episcopal Conference can legitimately transfer Holydays of obligation with the approbation of the Holy See, it is also legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.

    3. Thus, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae Generales Missalis Romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference, as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.”

    This was in response to a Dubium submitted by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales after the British Bishops failed to publish the full text of their own Dubium and the response.

    It is quite clear that as far as the EF is concerned, the whole Office of the Ascension (including the Mass) should be celebrated on Thursday.

    What is transferred by the Bishop’s Conference is essentially the Obligation – but since there is already an obligation to attend Mass on Sundays, this transfer effectively totally negates the OBLIGATION to hear Mass on the Thursday.

    For the sake of unity (with the OF) and to comply with the intentions of the Bishops (rightly or wrongly!) to make it easier for the Faithful to attend, it is recommended to celebrate the Mass of the Feast an External Solemnity on the Sunday. Although Tom didn’t say so explicitly, the rest of the Office said on the Sunday should be that of the Sunday. This does not prevent a totally EF parish from celebrating only the Mass of the Sunday on the Sunday, but a bi-ritual parish would be strongly advised to recognise the Sunday as an External Solemnity.

    To Precentrix: The Choir at Mass are there to assist at the Mass which the Priest is saying, not to ‘do their own thing’. It would be totally wrong for the choir to sing the Propers of the Ascension if the Priest is celebrating the Mass of the Sunday in the Octave (or vice-versa for that matter).

  38. Mike says:

    MAJ Tony said:
    “I know some Catholics who, like my family, always attended the Ash Wed and Triduum that believed those were Holy Days of Obligation. Me, I feel like I’m lost without them.”

    That makes two of us, my friend. No matter where I am in my faith journey, missing any part of the Triduum makes Easter incomplete (and sometimes, I have to watch the Mass of the Lord’s Supper online while finishing up work). To me, the Triduum is what our faith is about.