Let Holy Days be more than obligation


Deandre Lieberman, Staff Writer


Here, the weeks are heavy with days that, too short, overflow with action and blend together. As such, you may have forgotten by now that three Thursdays ago was the Catholic feast of All Saints’ Day.

All Saints’ Day honors all of the saints in Heaven, from St. Teresa of Jesus to your Aunt Teresa who also loved Jesus. As such, it is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that the faithful should attend Mass unless seriously impeded, and should rest as much as possible from “servile labor.”

I spent All Saints’ Day – as we all spent All Saints’ Day – in class. Class attendance is not servile labor, and is, in fact, often restfully uplifting. But on a joyous occasion like All Saints’ Day, should we so carefully cling to the barest minimum of festivity? Why not move beyond a sense of obligation to rejoice with those who lived in a sense of love? Let us move beyond the ordinary scramble of the weekday as we celebrate the lives of those who loved beyond the limits of ordinary weakness. Looking at the saints reminds us of how and why we live and move and have our midterms: So let us cancel classes on this day – and on all Holy Days of Obligation.

Ah, but how impudently I make demands of the registrar! I’ll own up to my impracticality; it’s got to be complicated to jumble classes around while still maintaining both the balance between the differently divided days and the number of days themselves. We’re an academic institution, and it would be counterintuitive to skimp on class time.

Is it impossible to embed a handful of extra days within each year? The University of Dallas’ summer and winter breaks are vast; each year, I’m one of the last college students left in my town. We could return a little earlier in August or in January, to allow for those few extra days. And what days! All Saints’ Day. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception. And I know it’s no Holy Day of Obligation, but why not take Holy Thursday off to head home or prayerfully to prepare for the Triduum, brief but ever deep?

We wouldn’t be the only college to do so. Franciscan University takes the Holy Days off; so do Thomas Aquinas College and Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

We work hard here. We should. But as day fades into exhausted day in the cycle of ordinary study, we should also, as an institution, suspend that cycle on Holy Days of Obligation, that we might be mindful of Heaven as our final end and of the God who, ever with us, gives as a gift each moment of our forgettable, ordinary, but always holy days.


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