Today is Ascension Day.
That is to say that I have said the Office for the Ascension of Our Lord and I went to the well attended Extrordinary Form Mass at the Oratory at lunchtime. I shall keep this coming Sunday as the Sunday within the Octave, or if you, prefer, Sunday in Ascensiontide.
Capella de Scrovegni, Padua
I accept and respect the right of the Hierarchy to have petitioned for the transfer of the three days of obligation to the Sunday nearest or following, but I prefer to keep all three feasts on their proper day. That shows fidelity to past generations of Christians, and the fidelity that says one does not keep religion for weekends only
There are strong rumours that the Bishops are thinking about returning to the historic days for Epiphany, Ascension and Corpus Christi, and this would be welcome indeed. It is something we can pray and hope for, as well as encourage by appropriate lobbying.
Here in Oxford the traditional practice of beating the bounds was being observed this morning, and moving our observance of the feast is distinctly un-ecumenical and confusing.
Let us hope that we are all celebrating this wonderful feast on its proper day, 40 days after Easter, in 2012.