The move was recently confirmed by the Vatican.
Holy days of obligation are currently governed by local bishops’ conferences and vary from country to country. These days are for the spiritual benefit of Christ’s flock and are opportunities to receive grace.
According to the liturgy office of England and Wales, the bishops jointly decreed, “With effect from the 1st Sunday of Advent 2017, two holydays of obligation are being reinstated. This decision was made by the Bishops of England and Wales, and has been confirmed by the Holy See. The days are: The Epiphany of the Lord — 6 January (transferred to the adjacent Sunday when it falls on Saturday or Monday) [and] The Ascension of the Lord — Thursday after 6th Sunday of Easter.”
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth welcomed the change, saying to the Catholic Herald, “I’m delighted to hear that the Holy See has approved the reversion of the Holy Days of the Epiphany and the Ascension to their proper days.”
Since 2006 the two holy days were transferred to the nearest Sunday. This decision reverses their previous decree, returning to the older tradition.
What is a holy day of obligation? When are they?