Having just written my comment on the transferral of feasts from their traditional day to the Sunday, I have found this note on the facebook page of St Luke’s Ordinariate Community in Washington, DC, which has truly astonished me:
REMINDER: This Thursday, May 14th, is Ascension Thursday.
For members of this Ordinariate parish, it is a holyday of
obligation. Please attend mass this Thursday at any
convenient parish—it does not need to be a mass which is
celebrated for the feast. If you are unable to attend any mass
this Thursday, please see Fr. Lewis after mass this morning, or
contact him by phone or email, to obtain a dispensation from
Surely it is not the day of the week, Thursday, which is the holy day of obligation, but the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. If I am worshiping in a diocese where the Ascension is celebrated on a different day, it cannot be correct that I should attend any Mass celebrated on the weekday concerned, even if the feast itself is not being celebrated.
Let me give you a concrete example. The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham celebrates the Ascension on Sunday, but in the diocese where I live in Germany the Ascension is celebrated on Thursday. Do I really have no obligation to attend the solemn Ascension Mass on Thursday, because the circumscription to which I belong canonically happens to celebrate on another day? This cannot be right. Someone who attends the Ascension Mass on Sunday in a US diocese surely does not need a dispensation of any kind for failing to attend a midweek ferial Low Mass on Thursday.