In many dioceses Ascension Thursday has been moved to the following Sunday under the premise that more people would attend on a weekend rather than a workday. I’m fairly sure, however, that this accommodation to secularism has led to a drop in Mass attendance. Besides causing us to miss that Sunday’s liturgy, moving a Holy Day to the following Sunday assumes that Catholics will not alter their weekday routine for the things of God. But people will always find ways to rearrange their schedules for something they really value, like a Giants game or a birthday party. By moving the feast day (essentially removing the obligation), are we not saying that solemnities are not as important as ball games? Notice that, as we expect less prayer of our people by removing Holy Days of Obligation, Sunday Mass attendance itself has diminished. I suggest that if we call our good people to greater holiness and prayer rather than less, most will respond.
We promoted our two Ascension Thursday Masses through social media as well as bulletin and Sunday announcements, and I was delighted to see how many came to the two Ascension Thursday Masses, even those who do not normally attend the Latin Mass. They were beautiful, and by dedicating 90 minutes of a workday to a solemn Mass, we sustain our faith in something greater than the secular city. We remember with joy that our City is in God’s good hands.