Six-Month “Reflection” for Brit Holy Days

Bishops of England and Wales are “reflecting” for six months to restore Epiphany and Ascension to their proper days, January 6th, and the 40th day of Easter respectively. Archbishop Vin Nichols, speaking for the bishops:

We explored both sides of the aspect of what Holy Days mean in Catholic life. They are a point at which we concentrate and celebrate liturgically a particularly important part of the mystery of our salvation.

And the placing of those Holy Days on a Sunday is to enable our participation and celebration of the holy day.

On the other hand the Epiphany and the Ascension are still part of the rhythm of many people’s lives in this country and so we are weighing up how we stand on those two arguments and bishops have gone away ready to listen to their priests and their people as to what is to be best gained, either by marking those two days in the rhythm of the calendar or with the advantages of an easier and fuller liturgical celebration of them on a Sunday.

Generally, I’m in favor of celebrating holy days on their proper day. Not sure if they need to have the same degree of obligation as a Sunday. A holy day of obligation/opportunity should include church employees getting the day off, or a comp day. Parishes need parties on these days. There’s not much point in lassoing everybody to church on the threat of the pains of hell if you can’t put a little fun into the mix. Full music ministries at all holy day Masses: that should go without saying.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Six-Month “Reflection” for Brit Holy Days

  1. Total agreement on the need for parties on Holy Days. Extra-liturgical devotions might also be a good idea (particularly if before an evening Mass). The majority won’t consider these days a big deal unless we start making them into a big deal.

    Same goes for major Sunday celebrations. How many times do we hear a homily about how important Pentecost is, but the parish doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary. In fact, building the “feast day” atmosphere while these days are still on Sundays is probably the way to start.

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    Maybe if they stop calling these days of “obligation” the attendance at them will actually be something that people will want to do. One has to wonder what God imagines the value of people attending any Catholic service out of an “obligation” and attendant fear of punishment for failing to do so.

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