New Holy Days of Awesome!

by Fr. Christian Mathis on December 8, 2011

Here at Blessed Is The Kingdom, we have recently been on a crusade to promote a new term for those days during the liturgical year that we celebrate with special honor and festivity. Catholics have become accustomed to calling them, Holy Days of Obligation, since Christians should feel obligated to celebrate their faith. My own thoughts, and at this point I don’t think I am alone in thinking this, are that referring to these days as obligatory (even they they are) tends to make them more of something we have to do versus something we love doing and wouldn’t miss for the world. With this in mind, I have decided to simply refer to them as Holy Days of Awesome.

Today we celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, one of our yearly Holy Days of Awesome. As we come to the end of this feast day, I would like to propose an idea to those who have supported this new way of speaking about holy days. Since I am pretty certain that the term Holy Day of Awesome is unlikely to get any official recognition from the Vatican, it is probably safe for us to claim the term as our own. With this in mind, I would like to suggest we could expand the list of Holy Days of Awesome beyond our current official holy days to increase their number.

In addition to certain Holy Days that always fall on a Sunday such as Easter and Pentecost, in the United States we celebrate six Holy Days of Awesome (Obligation). They are: Mary, the Mother of God (January 1), The Ascension (40 days after Easter), The Assumption (August 15), All Saints (November 1), The Immaculate Conception (December 8), and Christmas (December 25). There are also the feasts of Epiphany and Corpus Christi which have been transferred to Sundays.

So my question to the readers of this blog is, what other days of the liturgical year should qualify as Holy Days of Awesome and why? I would like to begin by nominating the feast of the Transfiguration. Since our lives as Christians should be about entering further each day into the divine life of God, I would propose the feast of the Transfiguration is in fact a Holy Day of Awesome. Nominations are now open.

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  • Isolde Eleison

    We Eastern Catholics have 12:
    September 8, the Nativity of the Theotokos
    September 14, the Exaltation of the Cross
    November 21, the Presentation of the Theotokos
    December 25, the Nativity of Christ/Christmas
    January 6, the Baptism of Christ — Theophany, also called Epiphany
    February 2, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
    March 25, the Annunciation
    The Sunday before Pascha (Easter)– the Entry into Jerusalem or Flowery/Willow/Palm Sunday
    Forty Days after Pascha (Easter) — the Ascension of Christ
    Fifty Days after Pascha (Easter) — Pentecost
    August 6, the Transfiguration
    August 15, the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos

    In addition, I’d nominate Nov 8: The Synaxis of the Supreme Commanders Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and of the other bodiless and heavenly powers, the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.

    We need more awareness of our spiritual reality and the warfare that’s going on. :)

  • Fr. Christian Mathis

    Those first twelve might actually be older Holy Days of Awesome, but they are good suggestions as are any days the honor the celestial hierarchy.

  • The Ranter

    Any day that since been abrogated to the nearest Sunday should be a Holy Day of Awesome. 

  • Irene

    Hi Father Chris!! You and your funny ideas.  Although this one is great and funny!  I actually mentioned the negative connotation of calling Holy Days, Holy Days of obligation in my last workshop. I think they should be called Feast Days as we call them (in the Orthodox Church tradition.) A feast is a a joyous occasion. I like your suggestion of the Transfiguration as that is our Church’s name and we celebrate it each year on August 6th.  We also celebrate the Birth of the Mother of God (Theotokos), the Entrance into the Temple of the Theotokos, The Presentation at the Temple (of baby Jesus), the Birth of St. John the Baptist,  the Beaheading of St. John the Baptist, and there are three feast days about the finding and re-finding of his head!!!!  We also celebrate Archangel Gabriel 3 times during the year.  Once with the Holy Archangels which I think for you all is in Oct.? , for us Nov. 8th; but also there is a celebration of Arch. Gabriel on March 26th the day after the Feast Day of the Annunciation (March 25th); the other one is in July I think.  We do have many, many feast days and it’s always a joyous occasion to go to Church and share in some fellowship afterwards with some good coffee and hopefully some really good Greek pastry or cake! If you want to be picky I should say the only really obligatory day in our Church is Pascha (Easter) but who wants to miss that one?!!!   That’s the best one of the year.   Holy Days are and should be joyous occasions to celebrate our most beloved Saints, and holy events of the life of Christ and the Mother of God, and enjoy fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we are feeling obligated to go to Church maybe there are other things in our lives we should look at before we start feeling good about making ourselves be there on an obligatory day.  We should be there out love not out of obligation.  :)

  • IC

    Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday….

    I have personal Holy Days of Awesome as well, like the Feast of St Matthew (sept 21)…..

  • David Oatney

    The Feast of the Anunciation (March 25th) should be restored to its once-lofty status as a Holy Day of Awesome, and one of the two days a year that we are supposed to kneel during the Credo at the recitation of the words “was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.”

    Ascension THURSDAY should be restored as a Holy Day of Awesome, rather than take the lazy way out of transferring the Feast to Sunday. It makes no sense for us to recite prayers about ascending “today” on Sunday, as we know that Our Lord, if He did ascend 40 days after He arose, as Scripture tells us, did ascend on a Thursday. Doing this would be within our Bishop’s personal purview…

    Since the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (the patronal feast of the United States of America) is a Holy Day of Awesome, then it makes sense that the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8th) should also be a Holy Day of Awesome. Why shouldn’t the Church celebrate Our Lady’s birth with a certain vigor?

    Although it is not, it only makes sense to me that Holy Thursday should be made a Holy Day of Awesome-the source and summit of our Faith-the Eucharist-came to be on that night. Two sacraments-the Eucharist and Holy Orders=owe their existence to the first Holy Thursday.

  • Fr. Christian Mathis

    I agree with ending the tradition of transferable feasts, as it tends to cause confusion and it is easier to catechize people about the feasts when what we read in Scripture or Tradition coincides with what we are doing.

    As for Holy Thursday and Good Friday, I always have seen them as connected to the Easter Vigil, which sort of makes them Holy Days of Awesome already. Just my take.

  • Anonymous

    Two Awesome holy days should, IMHO, enjoy more prominence in the liturgical calendar than they do.   These are always Sundays–which is part of the problem: Trinity and Christ the King–one an ancient feast and the other modern.  Trinity is almost obscured in the “shadow” of Pentecost, and celebrating Christ as King seems somehow an afterthought at the close of the liturgical year.

  • Fr. Christian Mathis

    Trinity Sunday is one of my favorite feasts of the year.

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