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.

Life is Worth Living

Happy Easter!

I had hoped to write and post pictures of our beautiful Latin Mass Triduum this week, but I guess I failed! It wasn’t all my fault, however.

An hour before Holy Thursday Mass, one of the twins was impaled by his sister with a wooden spear. (A homemade affair from a large stick in the backyard.) It went through his lip, and she felt very badly as blood was spurting everywhere, and I had to drive him to the clinic for stitches. Then, when the doctor finally looked at it, he sent us to the ER for a specialist to do the job. Apparently he didn’t want to mess it up and leave a big scar. I said I didn’t care, but he sent us anyway.

Prior to stitching. Small hole, but all the way through! Thankfully his teeth were fine.

Well, if any of you have spent any time in an ER, you know one thing: It’s going to take forever. And it did. Three hours for three tiny stitches. We missed all of Holy Thursday Mass, much to the chagrin of my son, who was to serve with all his buddies and brothers. (The rest of the family went ahead.)

We did all attend Good Friday services and the Easter Vigil, but I neglected to take any photos. You see, it was my first traditional Latin Mass Triduum, and I didn’t want to be bothered with that. Hopefully next year, however, I’ll be able to snap a few, as the whole experience was striking.

For instance, did you know, in the Novus Ordo, the Easter candle isn’t actually blessed? Only the fire is. Now why would anybody want to get rid of this traditional blessing:

May the abundant outpouring of Thy blessing, we beseech Thee, almighty God, descend upon this lighted candle; and do Thou, Who dost renew unseen, rekindle this nocturnal brightness. May the Sacrifice made to Thee this night shine with strange reflection of the light that Thou art; and further, into whatsoever place some of this blessed mystery of fire shall be brought, may the power of Thy majesty there be present and every evil device of Satan depart. Through Christ our Lord.

Did you catch that? Every evil device of Satan will depart whenever the Paschal candle is lit. I’ve heard the same is true of church bells–bells that have been properly blessed and “baptized,” hanging in the bell tower. (No, I’m not talking about automated “fake” bells.) Certainly Satan hates all blessed things, which is why we need more of them–bells, candles, holy water, incense…

Happy Easter!

P.S. We pulled a most disgustingly big tick off of one of the Little Girls a few weeks ago. Want to see it? Her little sister said, “Mom, why does she have a bean stuck in her hair?”

GROSS!!!!!