Keeping Feasts on their appropriate days

Is it true that the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham encourages feasts to be celebrated on the traditional and appropriate day, as Fr. Ed Tomlinson suggests? I would like to think so.

However the hard evidence speaks a different language. First of all the Ordo for 2014/5, quoting the Ordinariate’s Proper Calendar, fixes the Ascension of Our Lord on Sunday 17th May and there is no mention whatsoever on Thursday 14th May of an option to celebrate the Ascension, let alone “encouragement”. Neither is there an instruction of this kind in the Introduction to the Ordo. (And the same is true for Epiphany and Corpus Christi)

The Ordinariate’s central church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, is also celebrating the Ascension on Sunday, with a widely-publicised Solemn Mass at which Cardinal Nichols will preach.

Can someone help me out with a source for the instruction, option or encouragement to celebrate on the appropriate day?

Until such time I am happy to concur with Fr. Ed:

“… there is something genuinely special about coming to a special Mass on holy days. I encourage parents to bring children too – it is a great witness to them of the importance of the Church Year. …

It is only recently that the practice of shifting feasts to the nearest Sunday became widespread. I think it lamentable. Yes readings may change to reflect the observation, as might hymnody and vestments, but it is a concession to a culture that refuses to take faith seriously. The impression given is that feasts are not so important after all and need not demand sacrifice from us. We end up colluding in the farcical but widespread notion of Sunday-only religion. A slap in the face to authentic teaching regarding our need to mould our lives around our faith not the other way around.”

David Murphy

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4 Responses to Keeping Feasts on their appropriate days

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    David,

    You wrote: Is it true that the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham encourages feasts to be celebrated on the traditional and appropriate day, as Fr. Ed Tomlinson suggests? I would like to think so.

    However the hard evidence speaks a different language. First of all the Ordo for 2014/5, quoting the Ordinariate’s Proper Calendar, fixes the Ascension of Our Lord on Sunday 17th May and there is no mention whatsoever on Thursday 14th May of an option to celebrate the Ascension, let alone “encouragement”. Neither is there an instruction of this kind in the Introduction to the Ordo. (And the same is true for Epiphany and Corpus Christi)

    The Ordinariate’s central church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, is also celebrating the Ascension on Sunday, with a widely-publicised Solemn Mass at which Cardinal Nichols will preach.

    Can someone help me out with a source for the instruction, option or encouragement to celebrate on the appropriate day?

    The published Ordo is about as official as it gets.

    From a theological perspective, I agree completely with Fr. Tomlinson. Objectively, I think that several feasts that normally do not fall on Sundays are so central to the mystery of salvation that they should be celebrated on their appointed days as holy days of obligation everywhere, without exception. These feasts most assuredly include Christmas (25 December), the Circumcision of the Lord (01 January, currently masked by the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God), the Annunciation (25 March), the Ascension (6th Thursday of Easter), the Transfiguration of the Lord (06 August), and All Saints (01 November).

    But having said that, the blunt truth is that the magisterium of the Church has determined that there are major pastoral obstacles to the celebration of these feasts on the appointed days in various places, and thus has made pastoral decisions about the best way to accommodate the perceived need for deviation from the norm. In this matter, we all have both a right to voice our opinions and an obligation to defer to the pastoral judgement of the magisterium. It appears to me that Fr. Tomlinson has overstepped his legitimate authority in suggesting that people keep the appointed days anyway where the magisterium has deemed it necessary transferred celebrations and dispensed obligation.

    Norm.

    • CPS says:

      Sadly there is indeed no provision (unless one is using the Extraordinary Form) to keep the Ascension on Thursday in England and Wales even for the Ordinariate. At the Ordinariate and Parish Church of the Most Precious Blood in London the Regina Coeli took on the traditional Ascension-tide flavour as you will see from this little clip. (Who said Catholics don’t sing?)

      Ascension Day - Joy to thee...
  2. T Graham says:

    It would be nice to have the confusion cleared up: the Ordinariate website’s calendar currently has the word (Ascension), in brackets, on the Thursday – meaning what, exactly?

    I have a question about the use of the word magisterium in this context, carrying as it does the notion of some kind of binding doctrinal definition: the transferring of feasts isn’t part of the exercise of the teaching magisterium but is merely prudential policy.

    One is left wondering what kind of notion of authority is around, if the unbroken tradition of celebrating Ascension on Thursday is held to be strictly forbidden by a pastoral provision to transfer it to a Sunday. Perhaps a loving adherence to tradition would be preferable to a rather – dare I say it – un-Anglican rigidity about command and subordination?

  3. EPMS says:

    http://unavocetoronto.blogspot.ca Ascension Thursday celebrated in the Toronto Archdiocese.

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