N ADDITION TO ALL Sundays of the year, the following are Holy Days of Obligation in the United States of America:
January 1 • Mary, Mother of God
August 15 • The Assumption
November 1 • All Saints Day
December 8 • Immaculate Conception
December 25 • Christmas
Ascension Thursday; *
So, we have a total of six (6) Holy Days of Obligation in the United States, right? Not so fast, buddy. Ascension Thursday is moved to a Sunday in some USA Dioceses. (Which, incidentally, is bizarre, but that’s another story.)
OK, so we have five (5) Holy Days of Obligation in the United States, right? Nope. That’s still not correct, because starting in 1992:
Whenever 1 January (Mary, Mother of God), 15 August (Assumption), or 1 November (All Saints) falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.
SO, HERE IS MY QUESTION, WHICH NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE ABOUT:
HE UNITED STATES Conference of Catholic Bishops has “abrogated” the “precept to attend Mass” if some Holy Days fall on a Monday or Saturday because they believe it’s “too difficult” for Catholics to attend Mass twice in a row. But why didn’t the bishops abrogate the obligation to abstain from work? Think about it: A father stays home from work on Monday, since he knows Catholics are forbidden to work on Holy Days. Yet, he doesn’t have to attend Mass? That’s bizarre! Why didn’t the bishops abrogate the injunction to abstain from work? This should have been done before getting rid of the “precept to attend Mass.” After all, which is harder? Staying home from work, or going to Mass? Obviously, staying home from work is harder than going to Church for 45 minutes. The bishops’ policy makes no sense.
I’ve never heard anyone else asking this very important question. Why doesn’t anyone care about this? And, more importantly, what’s the correct answer?
BY THE WAY, moving “Ascension Thursday” to a Sunday is truly bizarre. I realize that other feasts have been moved to a Sunday (Epiphany and Corpus Christi come to mind). And I realize that moving feasts to a Sunday was done even before the Second Vatican Council (sort of). If you don’t believe me, Google “external solemnity” + “Sacred Heart” + “Corpus Christi.” The problem is, Ascension Thursday’s date is Biblical. Moving it to a Sunday makes no sense.
P.S. I hope I don’t sound too negative. Some folks spend way too much time criticizing the famous “Monday-Saturday” thing. These folks fail to realize that nothing prevents anyone from attending Mass every single day! Sometimes, the very people complaining about the “Monday-Saturday” thing take advantage of this freedom, and skip Mass on the Holy Day!