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Holy Thursday and Good Friday Obligation?
I live in the United States and I noticed that Holy Thursday and Good Friday are not listed as Holy Days of Obligation. I was wondering why. If these days are some of the holiest days of the year, why are they not days of obligation? I have always attended Holy Thursday, mainly because I thought it was a day of obligation.
The point of Holy Days of Obligation is to emphasize as strongly as possible the duty of every Catholic to participate in the Church’s observation of the most significant days of the Church’s calendar starting with Sunday. An obligation is not an option.
On all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation Catholics are actually obliged by Church law to attend Mass. This means that it is sinful not to attend Mass on that day, unless an illness or some similar reason makes it impossible. The Triduum, as you observe, is a very sacred time, and Catholics are strongly encouraged to be in Church on those days; however, the Church does not consider it an actual sin to miss Mass or other services on Holy Thursday or Good Friday.
Over the centuries, the Church has made only a very few of these “days of obligation” that are not Sundays; and bishops’ conferences may also change these days. In some cases, they may transfer a day of obligation to a different day. In the US, for instance, the celebration of the Epiphany was transferred to Sunday from January 6, though it had never been a “day of obligation” in this country, even though it is in many other countries. In some US dioceses, Ascension Thursday has been transferred to a Sunday.)
See the US bishops’ decisions on Holy Days of Obligation: www.wf-f.org/ CanonSundayHolyDay.html.
Power of Touch
I am so impressed with your last issue of Voices. I was especially moved by Debbie Joslin’s “The Worth of Isaiah”, which demonstrates so well the power of touch.
I think we have much to learn about the power of skin-to-skin contact, especially when accompanied by that indefinable, immeasurable thing called love. How much better the baby does at the breast, or preemies do when nurtured kangaroo-style next to the mother’s body. How well children respond to loving touch and even adults to hugs or kisses when seen as more than perfunctory.
But this if the first time I have seen, in baby Isaiah’s story, what might be called a laboratory study of the power of touch. Absolutely amazing that his oxygen saturation monitor would soar with loving touch from mommy, daddy, or big sister!
We need a double blind study!
In response to a request from Bob and Ruth Charlesworth (Voices Lent-Easter 2006) concerning adult catechesis, I would like to pass on the following:
1) The Catholic Catechist’s Course for Parents and Teachers by the late Father John Hardon, SJ. It is a written course that can be done in a group setting. The best part of this is that, when done, there is a set of books available with more detailed explanations to the answers. A group could probably do it in six months. This is published by Inter Mirifica, Kensingston, Maryland, 1994. (I have taken this course. The chapter I did most poorly on was the Sacrament of Marriage! After 15 years of marriage this was a revelation.)
2) The Apostolate for Family Consecration’s Family Catechism, by Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, SVD. This is cross-referenced with the New Catechism of the Catholic Church and Veritatis Splendor. They have an abridged two-volumed edition as well as the full seven-volume edition. The Apostolate for Family Consecration has the largest video (and now DVD) collection in the world for catechetical information. Their address is: John Paul II Holy Family Center, Seminary Road, Route 2, Box 700, Bloomingdale, Ohio 43910. (My family and I have gone to the summer week-long conferences for the last 19 years. These are truly wonderful ways to enrich family and parish life. Many priests have come with their parishioners and have returned invigorated in their vocations.)
Either of these would be a wonderful resource for any parish, school, or diocese. Thank you for the wonderful articles with which you continue to enrich us.
Jan E. Fredericks
Rochester, New York
Our readers may not need to be reminded that the Church has responded to the dilemma of choosing sound resources for catechesis first the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and just this spring, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church appeared in English.
We cannot recommend this highly enough. Every Catholic should have a copy. (See Compendium of Catechism Now Available in this issue)
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