As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord* on either Thursday (May 13) or on Sunday (May 16), this is a good time to talk with children about Holy Days of Obligation. A wise woman once referred to Holy Days of Obligation as “holy days of opportunity.” Have you ever wondered why the Church compels Catholics to attend Mass on these special days? Did you know that the United States celebrates a different list of holy days than the rest of the universal Church and that certain U.S. dioceses celebrate holy days on different dates than the rest of the country? Learn more about these “holy days of opportunity” here.
In addition to the Bonus Lesson for May 16, our Late Close lessons also feature Ascension activities you can use to supplement or make the centerpiece of your lesson. Find them below for each level.
Resources to share with families
Family-Parents: The Ascension of the Lord
Family-Parents: Feasts of Spring
Family-Parents: Did You Know? Saint Rita Cascia (May 22)
Family-Parents: Foster Care Awareness Month
Everyone: Goodbye is NOT the End: A 1-minute Homily on the Ascension (courtesy of Fr. Danny Gustafson, SJ and The Jesuit Post)
*The Ascension is celebrated on the Seventh Sunday of Easter in most places in the United States, and the obligation to attend Mass on the traditional Ascension Thursday is set aside. The exceptions are the Archdioceses of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia. They have retained the celebration and Mass obligation on the Thursday of the sixth week of Easter.
Image credit: Corinne SIMON/CIRIC