My Dear Friends,
This Thursday is the Solemnity of the Ascension, a Holy Day of Obligation. A Catholic must go to Mass either on the vigil on Wednesday night or on the Holy Day itself on Thursday. The Church gives us Holy Days as a gift. In the Catholic Church, the Holy Days of Obligation are the following; Christmas; Epiphany; Ascension; Corpus Christi; Mary, Mother of God; Immaculate Conception; Assumption; St. Joseph; Sts. Peter and Paul; and All Saints. These Holy Days are not meant to be burdensome. The truth that these Holy Days point to or enlighten is offered to us so that we may grow in our spiritual life and our love for Jesus Christ.
Each country's conference of bishops can decide which Holy Days they will make obligatory, and if they want to move the holy day to the following Sunday. In the United States, Epiphany and Corpus Christi are moved to Sunday. In some regions in our country, Ascension is moved to Sunday. Here in the Hartford Archdiocese, Ascension is still celebrated on Thursday. Again, these days are not meant to be a burden but a joy. For it is always a joy to come and worship our loving God and to receive His Son in the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our faith. It is also the highlight of the day in the life of a priest. The celebration of daily Mass for a priest is so vitally important for him as he grows in his own spiritual life as a shepherd for God's people. So as Ascension Thursday approaches, let us go to the Altar of God, to God the joy of my youth.
God Bless You,