Friday, Aug. 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Unless it falls on a Saturday or a Monday, it’s a Holy Day of Obligation, and that means that Catholics are required to attend Mass (unless they have a health issue or other situation that would licitly excuse them from attending a Sunday Mass).
But, you may say, it’s summer, what if I’m on vacation and nowhere near my local parish? What if I forgot and made other plans for the day? What if I have to go to work/school/the doctor/tennis lessons/grocery shopping/a date/my kid’s soccer game/the beach? What if I’m traveling in a country with no Catholic churches available?
That last one is probably acceptable, but not the others. Figure it out. Do a Vigil Mass the night before or find one during the day, but figure it out. You can also click here to find Mass Times at local parishes if you’re away from home.
Holy Days of Obligation are no more disposable than your Sunday obligation. They do move around a bit, so you may need to check with your local diocese or parish, but if you can figure out fantasy football, mani-pedi appointments or your kid’s dance lessons, you can figure this out.
And if you can’t just be bothered … I don’t even know what to say about that.
Yesterday, for Breitbart News, I wrote two stories — one on the pope’s efforts to stop the Islamist persecution and wanton slaughter of Christians in Iraq for refusing to give up their faith, and the other one on the pontiff’s current visit to South Korea, which has had 10.000 martyrs.
If nothing else inspires you, those stories just might.
And I’m not saying that Americans are uniquely susceptible to getting lazy about religious observance. One of the reasons that Pope Francis is going to South Korea is that Mass attendance is slacking off.
Even with the witnesses of thousands of brave martyrs, and even with Communist regimes like North Korea and China right on their borders, some Korean Catholics are finding better things to do than showing up for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
I’m also looking at myself in the mirror, ashamed of the times I’ve cut corners or practiced the Faith in a perfunctory manner, subconsciously certain that I’ll always get a do-over, and that no one will ever ask me to do anything more onerous than saying grace, forgoing meat on Fridays (trying, very far from perfect) or showing up at Mass, to demonstrate my fidelity to Christ and His Church.
The Christians of the Middle East and the Korean martyrs remind us that there are people in the world who’d rather suffer torture and death than deny the Faith.
The least we can do is find a way to be at Mass on Friday (and, yes, again on Sunday).
The very least.