Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Epiphany and President's Day

Tomorrow is the actual feast of the Epiphany, the day when the Magi came to Bethlehem to worship Jesus. Of course, we celebrated it last Sunday. Similarly, January 1st was the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, but the holy day of obligation was abrogated because it fell on a Saturday.

The pastoral reason cited for these changes is so that more people will celebrate the feast than would happen if it were on a work day, or that people don't have to go to mass two days in a row. I find this disturbing. Here are the bishops, the very people who are the "keepers of the faith" telling us that they're OK with making work more important than our souls, and that going to mass is a "burden" which we shouldn't have to do more than absolutely necessary.

So what if they had a holy day of obligation on a Saturday and not many people came. Wouldn't that still be more than the zero people who were able to come to the mass that didn't happen? Is it too much to celebrate a feast day on a week day? I, for one, used to enjoy going to mass on my lunch hour. It not only gave me a spiritual break from an otherwise mundane day, but was an opportunity to find out who else at work was Catholic and have this common experience with them as a community within a community.

Moving or removing a feast day waters it down and shows us that it is not really important, that our day to day chores are more important. Take President's Day, which has become so much of a non-holiday in the US that many people don't even know what it means at all. It's not on any of the birthdays of the presidents it supposedly honors, but on a convenient day for disrupting the work week the least. And yet even President's Day is a day to put whatever it is about ahead of work.


Thank you for this post. I have been thinking about this also. I asked our priest, and he told me that it was not really promoting laziness (as I kind of saw it)but a lot of the reason this was done was because of the shortage of priests and trying to do holy day of obligation masses back to back with a Sunday Mass. It made me feel a little better about it all because that explanation I could understand. I still feel it was a "get out of Mass free" type of thing. God Bless!

I might also add, that Father Cory said the same thing at Plurk last week I think. Somebody asked about why days were moved.

I can understand this in certain parishes, where perhaps there is only 1 (or < 1) priest available, but

1) It's a blanket thing. Even in parishes that have daily masses they celebrate the Epiphany on Sunday instead of inviting the faithful to come on the "correct" day.

2) There's nothing - not even a lay-person led prayer service. If a full blown mass is too much, at least do something to celebrate the day.

that pastoral reason has eliminated all but two feasts here in Canada - Christmas and January 1. Lameo

I think it's simply the modernist faction justifying their attempt to make Catholicism indistinguishable from main stream culture!

if it was a little bit more difficult, and a little bit more special to be a beadsqueezer, we would have more people respect their own religion, and probably more vocations as well.

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