Dear Lorfink of Arabia,
I'm a bit disappointed right now because according to the Archdiocese of Newark, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not a Holy Day of Obligation this year because it fell on a Monday. I'm really not fond of this rule at all; I know that they're just trying to make it easier for us because it can be challenging to find a Mass to go to with people working and all, but I feel that they're just encouraging us to ignore the Mass. That's probably the last thing we all need to be told in America. We Catholics already ignore the Sacraments too much. Plus, the six Holy Days of Obligation provide us more opportunities to celebrate, and I don't know why we haven't taken advantage of it. Our grandparents definitely liked us to.
First off, the Feast of the Assumption falls into an interesting category of Holy Days for a child. It's in the summer, so you're off from school, but you're kind of aware of the fact that if it were during the school year, you'd have class. That's probably why the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was great-- you'd know you would have the day off. I guess whoever made the schedules for Catholic schools thought that Mary being conceived without sin was more important than all the saints put together (Actually, writing that down, it is a more important tenet of our faith, but try explaining that to a seven year old who doesn't understand why school isn't closed). But the good news about the Assumption being in the summer was that you knew you would get a trip to IHOP, courtesy of our grandfather. I'm pretty sure that Greg coined the term, and some might think it flippant, but I think it's an important idea to have. We Catholics tend to forget how awesome our Faith actually is. We attend Mass on Sunday, try not to fall asleep during the readings, and receive Communion without even contemplating whether or not we are prepared to do so. All of the feast are important, besides Christmas and Easter. Going to IHOP made it more of a celebration for us than an annoying obligation.
I enjoyed those meals. Frankly, the best one was one you missed, you being away at school. It was Ascension Thursday the year our cousin was one-year old. She was big enough that Mom ordered her the silver five and doused those pancakes with the strawberry syrup, following the Lorfink tradition of doing so at IHOP. Joyce's eyes, filled with astonishment, attacked that plate with gusto that would have rivaled Matthias. I don't think I've ever seen pancakes, eggs and bacon eaten with greater enjoyment.
Unfortunately, those days are gone due to the fact the grandparents really can't get out, and when they do, can't stay out that long. It would just be wrong to have a Holy Day of IHOPligation without them. Regardless of that, I'm grateful that we experienced that as children. You know that you're supposed to go to Mass, but the reason why the Catholic Church requires it is a bit of mystery when you're young. Going out to eat or just doing anything special gives a signification to young minds that wasn't there before. I'm old enough now to realize the special-ness of these days without someone buying me lunch, but I appreciate that our mother and grandparents thought it was important (I can't really include Dad in that because the only Holy Days he isn't working are Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and we never went out to eat on those days. All that celebration happened at home). Although, if someone offers to buy me lunch on August 15th, I won't turn them down.
Your Catholic nut of a sister,
P.S. I completely forgot about the Homely Helen! Stay tuned for next week in case I remember to talk about her, like I promised.