Today is a sad day. It’s a day when I want to be in church, attending a Mass with lots of good singing and frankincense and having cake afterwards. But I’m not.
Next year, I will be, but only because the sixth of January falls on a Saturday. It happens again in 2019, then there won’t be the opportunity to celebrate the Epiphany on the Epiphany till 2030. Just to put this into perspective, 2030 is the year my now three year old graduates from Texas A&M.
Why do we do it this way? Moving liturgical feasts doesn’t help people attend them. It tells them they aren’t important. And the impact of this is huge, because, let’s face it, Mass on Sunday is all the catechesis most adults ever get. And right now, this catechesis says flat out, Epiphany and Ascension are not important. If they were important, they’d be holy days of obligation, like the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, or the Solemnity of All Saints. And that the Annunciation is a solemnity doesn’t cross their radar at all, because it is neither obliged or transferred! The Annuciation, Epiphany, and Ascension are all more liturgically important than the Assumption or All Saints, but you’d never know it by the current means of celebrating these solemnities.
I can see no possible benefit for transferring these feasts, and miles upon miles of disadvantages. It’s a visible disunity between the American churches and the rest of the Universal Church. It’s a bad catechetical message in a time when the liturgy is the only catechesis many receive. It disrupts the sense of order and timeliness inherent to the liturgical calendar. It disconnects the practice of the faith from our everyday lives and places it into the mental category of ‘only on Sunday’. And it drives me out of my mind crazy three times a year.
And the world could probably really use a break from that.