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Questions About the Feast of the Ascension


A listener named Gayle calls into the show and shares that she is unable the make Mass on Ascension Thursday due to travel, but the Holy Day of Obligation for Ascension Thursday actually falls on a Sunday in the diocese she is traveling to. She wonders if the Mass on Sunday will fulfill her obligation.

Father Dave explains that the Mass on Sunday will count. He points out that usually, dioceses in the Northeast and Nebraska count Ascension Thursday, and the rest of the United States and Canada celebrate the Ascension on Sundays.

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Father Dave explains that the reason why many dioceses transfer it to Sunday is that we believe that this feast is so important that everyone should be able to celebrate it. “There was a time in the history of the Church and in various places and cultures, that whatever the Church determined was a holy day was also a holiday. That’s where we get the term holiday. Yet, we do not, at least here in North America, live in a society, other than Christmas, where our culture doesn’t recognize high Christian holidays. In general, as Catholics, we are sort of put between a rock and a hard place if a holy day is not a day off of work for us.”

Happy Feast of the Ascension!