I think it was in 1997, during a visit to Canada, I stayed a night with friends who lived in a parish of the Assumption. I wanted to celebrate Mass on the feast of the Assumption and presumed there would be something special at the church. I was shocked to discover that there wasn't even a Mass scheduled on this great feast, which in the universal calendar of the Church is a holyday of obligation, though not here in the Philippines or in Canada. We went to see the priest who, I learned, had spent some years in the Philippines, though he belonged to his own Canadian diocese. He agreed to celebrate Mass with me on the 15th.
But what a shame: only two priests behind closed doors celebrating Mass in the Church of the Assumption on the Solemnity of the Assumption, a symbol of how highly secularised Canada has become.
The Assumption is still a holyday of obligation in Ireland where it is known in Irish Gaelic as Lá Fhéile Mhuire Mhóir, the Great Feast of Mary. I rarely went to Mass in our parish church in Dublin on that day because we were usually away on vacation. The first two weeks of August were the traditional holidays for construction workers. My father, a carpenter, spent all his working life on building sites, most of them as a general foreman. He was a first-class carpenter and an even better foreman, one who led by quiet example. I have memories of packed churches in holiday resorts on 15 August back in the 1950s when the Catholic faith was still strong in Ireland.