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.