Thursday, May 29, 2003

Hail Which Festival Day?

As a third degree member of the Knights of Columbus, I get (among other things) a little calendar for my wallet every year. On the back, the holy days of obligation are listed. For the Feast of the Ascension, we are told of how Christ rises to Heaven "43 days after Easter."

I'm not making this up.

I was present at the national bishops' meeting a few years ago, when they decided that various jurisdictions should have the option of being lard-asses and let us wait until the following Sunday to celebrate what was supposed to have happened the previous Thursday. After all, they reasoned, the Western states have a shortage of priests, and we have to make allowances. Eventually the idea spread to the East Coast, where there is no particular shortage of priests.

But what the hell. Tonight I'll be at Old Saint Mary's, where the Mass is celebrated in Latin according to the classical (1962) Missal, and the Feast of the Ascension is remembered -- well, forty days after Easter. They assigned me the task of extinguishing the Paschal candle immediately after the reading of the Gospel.

Then I'll go dancin.' Eh toi!!!

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