Call Me Catholic

Ascension Thursday, Not Sunday

Yesterday marked exactly 40 days since the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is known as the feast of the Ascension. Since Easter Sunday is always on a Sunday, then the great feast of the Ascension, is always on a Thursday.

Since Vatican II, however, many dioceses have transferred the feast of the Ascension to the following Sunday. I think this does a disservice, however, to the faithful for at least two reasons, if not more.

  1. The original Holy Spirit Novena becomes muddled at best and completely lost at worst. You see, prior to ascending into heaven, Christ commanded the disciples to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which they did for nine days. (From Friday to the Vigil of Pentecost.) After praying for nine days, the Holy Spirit did indeed come. We name this feast Pentecost as it comes exactly 50 days after the Resurrection. (Pentecost meaning 50.) Moving the Ascension to Sunday, corrupts the original plea to pray for nine days. (The word novena comes from the Latin word for nine.)
  2. The Pascal Candle, which symbolizes the Risen Christ, loses significance. On Ascension Thursday, after the Gospel reading, the Pascal candle is extinguished. Remember, the Pascal Candle symbolizes the Risen Christ. Therefore, it should not remain lit once Christ ascends into heaven, which again, happens on a Thursday. This “extinguishing” serves as a reminder to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. If the feast day is moved, however, the candle loses significance.

There are others who have written at length about these things. If you want more, Fr. Z wrote a short bit HERE on the absurdity of Ascension “Thursday Sunday.”

Photos For Fun

I snapped a few shots yesterday of the Ascension Mass at St. James the Less with Fr. Altman. Note the Pascal Candle and remember to begin praying the Holy Spirit Novena today!

Incensing the altar, prior to the Gospel reading.

The reading of the Gospel. Note the Pascal Candle off to the left, which is still lit.

Extinguishing the Pascal Candle* after the Gospel.

The Sanctus.

*The altar boys affectionately nicknamed our Pascal Candle “Terror of Demons,” after noting the prayer that “every evil device of Satan depart” at it’s blessing on Holy Saturday.

3 thoughts on “Ascension Thursday, Not Sunday”

  1. I have just started to follow your blog and am finding it so helpful as I’m returning to my Catholic faith after some time away. Our Bishop actually mentioned on Sunday that Ascension was meant to be on Thursday and I almost jumped up and said “Yes, I know that!” Seriously though, thank you for the posts and the encouragement. Do you have any posts on how to take toddlers to Mass? I have a 3 year old granddaughter and want to take her with me.

    Like

    1. I don’t have any particular posts on taking toddlers to Mass…but I would say, just take her! Find the most beautiful liturgy you can and go! If she’s not going every Sunday, and her parents will let you, take her every. single. Sunday. And the rest of your grandkids too!

      Like

      1. That is what I thought and there are other young children at Mass. There is one particular family with 6 children and I find it such a blessing and a joy to see them there each week, so I will just jump on in.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s