The bishops of England and Wales have decided to reinstate two Holy Days of Obligation, a decision confirmed by the Holy See.

With effect from the First Sunday of Advent 2017, the days reinstated are the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6 (transferred to the adjacent Sunday when it falls on Saturday or Monday), and the Ascension of the Lord, which takes place on the Thursday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

The two feasts had been transferred to the nearest Sundays in 2006, along with Corpus Christi. The latter feast remains on a Sunday.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth said: “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.”

In 2006 the Holy Days were moved to the nearest Sundays. The bishops first considered the decision to revert the Holy Days to their original dates in 2011.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops of England and Wales, said at the time: “They are a point at which we concentrate and celebrate liturgically a particularly important part of the mystery of our salvation”, adding that they needed to “weigh up the arguments” and that the “bishops have gone away to listen to their priests”.

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