Monday, August 13, 2012

Holy Daze

I've written about this before, I know. But once again, a Holy Day of Obligation is almost upon us--Wednesday, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, for those Catholics who don't already have their calendars marked.

I know when the Mass is at my regular parish church. It is at 6:30 p.m. on the holy day itself. With traffic, travel time, and the fear of missing the last possible Mass we could go to, we usually try to go in the morning on the holy day, or else to a vigil the night before--it's just too nerve-wracking to have to wait all day to meet the Mass obligation.

But, as I have written before, holy day vigils are disappearing in my diocese. I don't know how it is where you are, but we're down to a handful of churches with a holy day vigil Mass scheduled, and none of them are close to where we live.

And usually the Mass times for our sister parish are announced at Mass on Sunday before a holy day and printed in the bulletin, but for some reason, this time, only our church's 6:30 p.m. Mass was listed. I'll be calling the parish office tomorrow to find out when the other church's Masses are, but I strongly suspect we'll end up driving tomorrow night to the vigil Mass that is 45 minutes away in traffic (and possibly more, given that there's tons of road construction in that part of town right now).

If I could ask the bishops of the United States to do address this situation, I would ask this: ask your priests, except in the most unusual circumstances, to schedule as many Masses on Holy Days of Obligation as they do on Sundays. If this requires giving priests permission to say more than the usual number of Masses for a day, then please consider doing this. The way things are now, even the 20% of Catholics in each diocese who actually attend Sunday Mass can't make it to a holy day Mass easily, or even at all in some cases; how do you expect to reach the 80% who don't even show up on Sunday, if there aren't enough Masses on a holy day to accommodate the 20%?

Actions speak louder than words, and all the words spoken from the pulpit about remembering to meet your holy day Mass obligation and warning that missing those Masses without a serious reason can be a grave sin don't speak as loudly to parishioners as the reality that there are only a couple of Masses scheduled--and that they are often scheduled at times that make attendance an impossibility for working people. The message is that Sundays are important, but holy days are not. Add in the practice of dropping the obligation on Saturdays and Mondays for many of the feasts, and the message is putting more and more people into a daze about whether or not Father really expects them to show up sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday night for a Mass this week.


John Thayer Jensen said...

Our parish is having a vigil (tonight - today is the 14th August here in New Zealand), and the usual 9AM Mass tomorrow morning - when most people are at work - but no evening Mass on the 15th - because it is Father's Bridge night and that is more holy than the Assumption of Our Lady. He also has a vigil for Ash Wednesday - same reason.



John Thayer Jensen said...

PS - in New Zealand we have, apart from Sundays, only two holy days of obligation: Christmas and the Assumption - and the Assumption is moved to the Sunday if it falls on a Saturday or a Monday.


Red Cardigan said...

Wow! Now I feel bad for complaining...that's awful, John.

John Thayer Jensen said...

Oh, well, at least he does have the vigil.

I try to take the Assumption off on leave and my wife and I make a kind of Sunday of it. Going to do so tomorrow, and will take her to lunch. She has coeliac disease (no gluten) so taking her to lunch is always a bit of an adventure :-)


Kirt Higdon said...

I attended the vigil Mass at my parish. An additional Mass during the day is also scheduled besides the two regular daily Masses the parish usually has.

Kirt Higdon

The Sicilian Woman said...

Our parish's regular Tuesday Mass is at 5:30pm, which I am just able to make if I leave work at 5pm. It draws anywhere from 30-50 people.

This evening, the 5:30pm Mass was our vigil Mass. I was a bit surprised that the time hadn't been moved to 7pm, which is the normal time that our vigil Masses - we are lucky to have them - take place. There was a decent crowed there tonight, which was good.