Our Parish Priest, Fr Ray has written a piece about the depressing nature of Ascension Day shifted to the Sunday
I must say that I felt this year this year the Ascension was particularly flat, we had the Proper chants, together with a couple of 19th century hymns, but actually it just seemed like just another Sunday in the latter part of Easter, the time when are rather looking forward to its end.
I could not agree more with him except I found both Ascension Days equally depressing. The first, on the correct date, was depressing because it was so badly attended. Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary form with Palestrina’s Missa Brevis. We had an organ loft full of singers, plenty of servers on the sanctuary and probably only 25 to 30 in the congregation. I suppose most people cannot see the point of turning up to Mass on the Thursday when they have to turn up on the Sunday again for exactly the same Solemnity. I can completely understand. How can you really sing the texts ‘Ascendit Deus’ with any kind of awe and wonder when you have to do the whole lot three days later again? What goes up must come down, I suppose.. How can you marvel at the poignant symbolism of the Paschal Candle being extinguished when it is back on the altar three days later again, burning bright like an Olympic torch.
The other grievance I have with the ‘transferred to Sundays’ mess we are in at the moment is the cost to the parish of celebrating the same Mass twice. To celebrate a Missa Cantata with a polyphonic Ordinary, and to try and sing it to a reasonably high standard with extra singers costs us on average £100. (I have no idea how much the costs are on the sanctuary are.) Half of that cost is met by the parish, the rest met by the choir. We also have very few sets of music in our music cupboard so I have to rely on good old Choral Wiki and these also have to printed out. This is irrelevant if we are going to have a full church on these important days. If no one is going to bother turn up, there really does not seem much point spending the money.
And so until this daft ‘Mass mess’ is resolved and the Solemnities are moved back to their correct days, I shall be celebrating Corpus Christi on the Sunday because quite frankly I don’t want to sing the Lauda Sion twice in one week anymore. I want to sing it on the correct day and then get on with Ordinary Time.