Wednesday 29 June 2011

Holy Days of Obligation

The Holy Father adores the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

When the Holy Days are transferred to the nearest Sunday the rhythm of the liturgical year is interrupted. You know it's never quite the same when your birthday party is moved to the weekend! Despite my reminders last Sunday making it quite clear by word and in the newsletter that Ss Peter and Paul remains a Holyday of Obligation, the attendance was rather pitiful this morning. The counter-intuitive effect of playing around with centuries old traditions has once again come into effect and by making it easier to come to Mass on Holy days of Obligation by reducing their number, we have in fact put people off from coming at all.

Will there be a queue outside the confessional on Saturday?
I seriously doubt it.
Will everyone still waltz up to the altar rail to receive Holy Communion on Sunday?
Most definitely!

If the Church tells people that Mass (and therefore religion) is confined to a Sunday (or even worse, a Saturday evening) then we can expect a rather poor harvest. Fr Ray Blake seems to be experiencing the same problem.

Cardinal Canizares, in charge at the Congregation for Worship, has said in a radio interview that he believes that Corpus Christi should be returned to its place of celebration on a Thursday - thus better making the link with Holy Thursday and Mass of the Lord's Supper. Cardinal Canizares was one of the speakers at the recent Adoratio Conference in Rome. Fr Z has picked up the same interview and you can read it on Zenit.

Cardinal Canizares pictured here last year in Peru.


vetusta ecclesia said...

When the left hand and the right do not know what each is doing there will be unforeseen consequences. The Novus Ordo has a systematic lectionary for Sundays. The constant moving of feasts to the nearest Sunday in the period after Easter displaces this and drives a coach and horses through its coherence.

Fr G Dickson said...

I reminded my parishioners in the Bulletin and the Notices at Mass that St Peter and St Paul is a Holy Day of Obligation and that, like Sundays, to be absent from Mass without grave cause requires Confession before we receive Holy Communion again. The result was about a 40% attendance. Like you, Father, I don't expect to be inundated with Confessions at the weekend. Sadly, there is a spirit abroad in the Church which says ‘you don't have to go to Mass to pray or be a good Christian’. I once heard those engaged in organising a High School retreat say that going to Mass is not essential to being a practicing Catholic and that we have to find other indicators for that designation; they further added that getting the youth to Mass was not the aim... I wondered what those indicators would be, and what our aim was? If receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion at the Supper of the Sacrificial Lamb is not a basic element of our life with Him, then what is?

Richard Collins said...

Please Father, no 'waltzing up to the communion rails' :)

Anonymous said...

Reverend Fathers,

The reason why these things no longer spur Catholics on to do the right thing, is because for decades we have been told that Our Lord is all merciful and loving. Consequently, no one, but no one (not even Judas) goes to Hell (or is there that we know one person recently confided to me).

It is a sad commentary on Catholics that only lighting a fire under their feet gets them to act.