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Elisa Perez wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why don't Catholics celebrate Sukkot?

Elisa

  { Why don't Catholics celebrate Sukkot? }

David Moss of the (AHC) Association of Hebrew Catholics replied:

Dear Mike,

Sukkot is a holiday commemorating the journey of the Israelites through the desert after their departure from Egypt. While in the desert, they built portable huts or booths to sleep in. A hut or booth is called a sukkah, the plural being sukkot — thus the holiday is called the Feast of Booths.

I have attached a pdf of one of the lectures given at the Cathedral Basilica facilities here in St. Louis by Dr. Larry Feingold. The lecture is one of the spring and fall lecture series that the AHC has hosted since 2007, a year after we relocated to St. Louis. I think you will find a good description of Sukkot along with the typology and fulfillment in the New Testament in the attached file. The lectures and notes can be found at:

You asked why Catholics don't celebrate Sukkot. The answer is tied up with some traditional theology concerning the fulfillment of Old Testament types in the New Testament. Many have believed that with their fulfillment, the Old Testament types should no longer be celebrated.

You might find my interview with the then-Archbishop Raymond Burke interesting, as I pose some of these questions to him. The interview can be found on our website at:

Feel free to use my answer. I hope these things will be of some help.

Wishing you our Lord's blessings.

In Yeshua, Miriam, and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

David Moss
President Association of Hebrew Catholics
A pastoral and educational work to preserve the identity and heritage of Jews within the Church, helping them to serve the Lord, His Church, and all people within the mystery of their irrevocable calling.

Web: http://hebrewcatholic.net
Store: http://store.hebrewcatholic.net

To participate in our Facebook discussion group, request membership at:

John replied:

Elisa,

This was an Old Covenant feast. It's actually kind of neat but since most Catholics and Christians are non-Jewish believers in the Messiah, it lacks the same symbolism.

For the Hebrews, this was meant to remind them of their wondering in the desert.

For us the wandering in desert is not literal, but rather symbolic of our lives prior to our conversion. Indeed for the Hebrews, the Red Sea Crossing was their baptism and the wandering in the desert was the period between baptism and conversion. During that 40-year period, Israel struggled to rid herself of pagan ways, so much so that everyone of that generation, except for Joshua and Caleb, failed to enter the Promised Land. It was the next generation who entered only by a similar baptism of crossing the Jordan River.

For the Christian, we also go through a symbolic wandering in the desert. Most of us were baptized as infants . . . although some are baptized as adults. We go through periods where we stray and find ourselves in the desert but the celebration of Sukkot or Tabernacles doesn't carry the same symbolism and so, as a rule, Christians don't celebrate it.

I say as rule, because before returning to the Catholic Church, one of the Churches where I ministered, in fact, did celebrate Tabernacles. They vacated the sanctuary of chairs and build little booths akin to those build by Hebrews.

On one level, it would be interesting and educational for current day Catholics to somehow celebrate or recognize these ancient Hebrew feasts so they could learn about them, how they are connected to Old Testament Israel, and how they all point to Christ.

The point of Sukkot was to live in huts without roofs, awaiting the Lord to come home an dwell with them. Well, that was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We should also spend more time and look at the symbolism of the Passover celebration.

When we look at what Jews do at Passover to this day . . . it points directly to Jesus Christ.

I hope this helps,

John DiMascio

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