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If You DON'T Move It, They Will Come

At mass yesterday evening, the priest offered what I thought was a striking insight in his homily. Far more Catholics attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, than on the other holy days of obligation throughout the year.

I think this is largely attributable to the sacramental character of the liturgy. There is no skirting the reality of sin and death as the palm ashes are smeared on your forehead and you are reminded that such is the destiny of your body this side of eternity.

There is something about walking around all day with ashes smeared on your forehead that creates a sense of Catholic belonging that we rarely experience in this day and age.

However, the strong attendance at Ash Wednesday liturgies does call into question the logic that the faithful just can't make it to mass during the week, the very logic that undergirds the practice of transferring holy days of obligation to Sundays.

Leave the Holy Days alone, add some sacramentals to sweeten the deal, and the faithful will be there with ashes on.


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Comments (3)

Jason A.:

At school yesterday, there was one person in the WHOLE building with ashes -- and she was Lutheran! (I had to go to the evening Mass, so I couldn't represent the OHCA Church).

The onslaught of liberal religion, "spirituality," and debonair nihilism, not to mention cultural secularim (I think atheism is a curious, and virtually non-existent phenomenon) is shocking -- especially at America's "elite" institutions: Hollywood/MSM, the legal profession, and the academy.


I know that this is a little less than charitable, but I tend to think of Ash Wednesday as a sort of "amateur night" for Catholics. You know, like New Year's Eve for more secular folk. It's can be quite frustrating actually -- on a number of different levels, the most practical of which: It's not a holy day of obligation, yet it's impossible to get a seat (or a parking spot).

While working at Federal Express two years ago, only one person knew what the symbol on my head was, and many of my coworkers were former Catholics. My wife had a similar experience at the U of M and the public transportation in the Cities.

You make an excellent point about the transfer of holy days, a sad practice as far as I'm concerned.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 10, 2005 1:18 PM.

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