From a reader:
A local priest regularly celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Wednesday evenings. We are also in a diocese that observes the Ascension on Thursday.
How do vigil Masses work with the EF in this case?
The “Vigil of the Ascension” is different from the actual Ascension, but now a Mass the evening before a Holy Day of Obligation is normally the Mass for that day in the Ordinary Form. If the Mass on Wednesday night is the EF “Vigil of the Ascension” does it, well, “count” for Thursday?
Thanks for that question.
According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law (for the Latin Church) you fulfill your obligation by going to Mass on the day of obligation itself, or on the evening before the day of obligation.
Canon 1248 says:
1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.
Thus, since every Sunday is a day of obligation, you fulfill your obligation be attending Holy Mass on a Saturday evening, provided the Mass is in a Catholic rite, such as the Roman Rite in either the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form, or a Maronite Catholic liturgy, etc.
Thus, since you happily live in a place where Ascension Thursday is on Thursday, if you attend Holy Mass on Wednesday evening, the Vigil of Ascension, in either the Ordinary or the Extraordinary Form, or even the Divine Liturgy in, say, a Ukrainian Catholic church, you fulfill your obligation for Ascension Thursday.