Ascension Thursday Update

Christus Resurréxit! Resurréxit Vere! Today Wednesday May 25 is the Vigil of the Ascension, and tomorrow May 26 is Ascension Thursday, one of the most important feast days in the Church’s history, when Our Blessed Lord ascended into Heaven, 40 days after Easter. 

Acts 1:8-11: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And whilst they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments; Who also said; Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, so shall he come as you have seen him going into heaven.

We link to the commentary of the Ascension Mass Collect and the customs and traditions of Ascension Thursday:

Ascension Thursday Latin Masses – Thursday May 26

Although not a holy day of obligation in our metropolitan archdiocese (sadly), Ascension Thursday May 26 is indeed celebrated in the Traditional Latin Mass calendar on its actual date (40th day after Easter). As such, the following parishes will be offering Traditional Latin Masses on Ascension Thursday:

Rogation Wednesday (Wednesday May 25)

As noted in Sunday’s update, Wednesday May 25 is not just the Vigil of Ascension, but the 3rd day of the minor Rogation days (to petition God for mercy against natural disasters such as famines, diseases, etc.). In the waning hour of the last day of Rogationtide, we wanted to share a video of a Rogation procession offered by one of the Fraternity of St. Peter Latin Mass parishes:  and a reflection by the Fraternity of St. Peter from Monday’s traditional breviary (1962): The Fraternity of St. Peter has a nice reflection on it for today:

May 25 – Anniversary of the finding of St. Philomena’s Relics

Today Wednesday May 25 is also the 220th anniversary of the finding of St. Philomena’s relics in 1802, whom some in our community has a devotion to. She was martyred in the early days of the Church and was buried in the Roman catacombs, but her tomb (and devotion) were largely forgotten for 17 centuries until the discovery of her relics, and a vial of dried blood in 1802 during an excavation. Her relics were later moved to the basilica in Mugnano (Italy) where her shrine is today. To learn more about the discovery visit:

It’s interesting and providential to note that one of the people instrumental in spreading St. Philomena’s devotion after the relics were discovered was actually beatified just last week. Blessed Pauline Marie Jaricot was a 19th century Frenchwoman who promoted the Association of the Living Rosary devotion, as well as founding the Association for the Propagation of the Faith to help re-evangelize France after the revolution through good Catholic books.  Although deathly ill with a serious heart condition, she traveled to Rome around 1835, and met Pope Gregory XVI. In their meeting she asked if His Holiness would give formal approval to St. Philomena’s devotion if St. Philomena would heal her at the church in Mugnano (where the relics reside). The Pope agreed but figured she so near death she would not live much longer. However, Blessed Pauline walked ~ 140 miles to the shrine, and by miracle was healed after visiting it, and then walked back to Rome to see the Pope. Shocked and amazed, the Pope then proceeded to give his approval for a formal devotion to St. Philomena. Blessed Pauline isn’t the only one to have a devotion to this saint, as St. John Vianney (whom Blessed Pauline met) also had a devotion as well as several others from that era. Saint Philomena’s devotion continues to this day, although sadly Rome removed her from the liturgical calendar in 1960. Her feast day is August 11.

Last week, His Eminence Cardinal Tagle, in the presence of over 500 priests, offered the Mass for Blessed Pauline’s beatification (although sadly no mention of Philomena in the article):

Next Wednesday June 1 – Day of Prayer and Fasting for End to Abortion: Looking ahead to next week, with the Supreme Court soon to be issuing its decision on the abortion case Dobbs. v. Jackson, Bishop Jugis and the Diocese’s Family Life Office is asking people to pray and fast on Wednesday June 1 for an end to abortion, and the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey abortion decisions. Faithful are encouraged to participate, attend Mass, and wear white rose pin or sticker to generate awareness about the sanctity of human life.  St. Ann will offer a 6pm Latin Mass as scheduled that evening.

Ascension Thursday Reflection

We close with a reflection by Dom Prosper Gueranger about the importance of Ascension Thursday and how nature reflects the joyous event by the beautiful flora of spring. Taken from his book, The Liturgical Year (Vigil of the Ascension entry):

The disciples are all assembled in Jerusalem. They are grouped around the blessed Mother, in the cenacle, awaiting the hour when their divine Master is to appear to them for the last time. Recollected and silent, they are reflecting upon all the kindness and condescension He has been lavishing upon them during the last forty days; they are ruminating upon the instructions they have received from His sacred lips. They know Him so well now! They know in very deed that He came out from the Father.[2] As to what regards themselves, they have learned from Him what their mission is: they have to go, ignorant men as they are, and teach all nations;[3] but (Oh sad thought!) He is about to leave them; yet a little while, and they shall not see Him![4]

What a contrast between their sorrow and the smiling face of nature, which is decked out in her best, for she is going to celebrate the triumphant departure of her Creator! The earth is blooming with the freshness of her first-fruits, the meadows have put on their richest emerald, the air is perfumed with blossom and flower; and all this loveliness of spring is due to the bright sun that shines upon the earth to give her gladness and life, and is privileged to be, both by its kingly splendour and the successive phases of its influence upon our globe, the grand symbol of our Emmanuel’s passage through this world.

Let us go back in thought to the dismal days of the winter solstice. The sun looked then so pallid; his triumph over night was slow and short; he rose, and sank again, often without our seeing him; his light had a certain timid reserve about it, and his heat was, for weeks, too feeble to rescue nature from the grasp of frost. Such was our divine Sun of justice, when first He came on earth; His rays made but little way in the world’s thick gloom; He kept His splendour in, lest men should be dazzled by too sudden a change from darkness to light. Like the material sun, He gained upon the world by slow advances; and even so, His progress was shrouded by many a cloud. His sojourn in the land of Egypt, His hidden life at Nazareth, were long periods during which He was wholly lost sight of. But when the time came for Him to show Himself, His glory shone forth, with all its magnificence, upon Galilee and Judea; He spoke as one having power,[5] His works bore testimony to His being God,[6] and the people hailed Him with the cry of ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’

He was almost at the zenith of His glory, when suddenly came the eclipse of His Passion and Death. For some hours, His enemies flattered themselves that they had for ever put out His light. Vain hope! On the third day, our divine Sun triumphed over this final obstruction, and now stands in the firmament, pouring out His light upon all creation, but warning us that His course is run. For He can never descend; there is no setting for Him; and here finishes the comparison between Himself and the orb of day. It is from heaven itself that He, our beautiful Orient, is henceforth to enlighten and direct us, as Zachary foretold at the birth of the Baptist.[7] The royal prophet, too, thus exultingly sang of Him: ‘He hath rejoiced, as a giant, to run the way: His going out is from the highest heaven, and His circuit even to the summit thereof: and there is no one that can hide himself from His heat.’[8]

This Ascension, which enthroned our Emmanuel as the eternal centre of light, was, by His own decree, to take place on one of the days of the month which men call May, and which clothes in its richest beauty the creation of this same God, who, when He had made it, was pleased with it, and found it very good.[9] Sweet month of May! Not gloomy and cold like December, which brought us the humble joys of Bethlehem; not lowering and clouded like March, when the Lamb was sacrificed on Calvary; but buoyant with sunshine, and flowers, and life, and truly worthy to be offered, each year, to Mary, the Mother of God, for it is the month of her Jesus’ triumph.

St. Philomena, pray for us!