Ascension moved to May 24, Bishop to celebrate livestream Mass

Ascension moved to May 24, Bishop to celebrate livestream Mass

In-car Masses gearing up, diocesan Requiem Mass announced

The date of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord has been moved this year from May 21 to May 24 in the five (arch)dioceses across New Jersey.

Traditionally celebrated on the Sixth Thursday of Easter, the Solemnity had been transferred in many other provinces to the Seventh Sunday of Easter over recent years. The change in New Jersey is expected for 2020 only.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will commemorate the Solemnity with a Mass at 10:30 a.m. in St. Barnabas Church, Bayville. The Mass will be celebrated without a congregation and livestreamed on It will also be available for viewing after the event.  

The Ascension of the Lord occurred 40 days after Easter, when Jesus, in the sight of his Apostles, ascended bodily into heaven to sit at the right hand of his father. The Ascension is narrated in Mark 16:19 and in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, which has a detailed account of Jesus’ farewell to his apostles.

Though it will be outside of church, while in their cars, Catholics across the Diocese will be able to physically gather for Sunday Mass and receive Holy Communion for the first time in two months.

Permission was given by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., effective May 18, for outdoor, in-car Masses to be celebrated according to the good pastoral judgement of each pastor across Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  The Bishop announced the move following the issuance of a new  executive order by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, allowing for such gatherings for religious services.

A set of directives developed by a task force of pastors was issued by the Bishop, which governed how and when these Masses could take place. In addition to Sunday Mass, provisions were made for daily Mass as well, a measure that was readily embraced by many parishes across the Diocese.  A report on the first in-car Masses in the Diocese is posted here.

Bishop O’Connell announced today that he will celebrate a Diocesan Memorial Mass for all the faithful departed of the Diocese who passed away for any cause (not simply COVID-19) during the pandemic period when churches were closed and could not have individual Masses of Christian Burial.  In this special outreach to all who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the names of those who have died during this period will be submitted by the parishes, and the list will be bound and placed on the altar during the Mass.  A video of this Memorial Mass will be shown on diocesan media beginning June 17 at 2 p.m.  Updates will be posted to this notice as they become available.

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