Thursday, May 01, 2008

Why doesn't every Catholic observe Ascension Thursday on...Ascension Thursday?

This is just plain weird to me. Yesterday I discovered that Ascension Thursday — which is always on a Thursday given that it's the fortieth day after Easter Sunday, and that's because that's how long Jesus stayed here after His Resurrection, for pete's sake — is only a Holy Day of Obligation in the dioceses of Boston, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, and Omaha.

Everybody place else in the U.S.? It's transferred to the following Sunday.

How come?

According to this fellow (and I've no reason to doubt him):

However, because attendance at Ascension Thursday Masses had been falling for years, the bishops of the United States, in accordance with canon law, petitioned the Vatican to allow the celebration to be transferred to the following Sunday.

How weird is that?

By the way, remember to begin your Novena to the Holy Spirit!

Update #1:

Scott Richert, linked above, clarifies with regard to my use of the term "diocese:"

...Ascension is still observed on Thursday in the
ecclesiastical provinces (not dioceses) of Boston, Hartford, New York,
Philadelphia, and Omaha. Each of those provinces is made up of
multiple dioceses--for instance, the ecclesiastical province of
Philadelphia includes ALL of the dioceses in Pennsylvania.

Update #2:

Scott adds:

By the way, I've set up an e-mail reminder for all of those who would
like to pray the Novena to the Holy Ghost between now and Pentecost.
All they have to do is to sign up for the reminder, and then each day,
they will receive an e-mail with that day's prayers. When the novena is over,
the e-mails stop (unless the person signs up again).

You can sign up for the novena here.