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Holy Days of Obligation

Octave of Christmas

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

Not a Holy Day Of Obligation

Celebrates the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role in salvation through her divine and virginal motherhood as the Mother of Jesus Christ, Son of God.

 

 

Ash Wednesday

Not a Holy Day Of Obligation

A day of Fast and Abstinence.

Begins the season of Lent by imposing ashes on foreheads with the sign of our redemption, the Cross. A call to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”

 

Abstinence from meat is observed on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent by all Catholics 14 years and older.

 

Fasting is observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 60. Those bound by this rule may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted as necessary to maintain strength according to one's needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.

 

The special Paschal fast and abstinence are observed on Good Friday and, where possible, Holy Saturday (For further explanation of the Paschal fast, see The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, par. 110, December 4, 1963). On these days, Christians prepare themselves by these disciplines in anticipation of the renewal of their baptismal commitment on Easter.

 

From its earliest days, the Church has urged the baptized and the catechumens to observe the threefold discipline of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer as a preparation for the celebration of Easter. Failure to observe individual days of penance is not considered serious, but failure to observe any penitential days at all or a substantial number of such days must be considered serious.

 

During Lent the Church encourages attendance at daily Mass, self-imposed times of fasting, and generosity to local, national, and world-wide programs of sharing.

 

 

Season of Lent

A season of conversion, marked by two themes, baptismal and penitential. These forty days help us to prepare for Easter.

 

 

Easter

A Holy Day Of Obligation

Sundays are always a day of Holy Obligation.

Commemorates the Paschal Mystery, Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the "Feast of feasts," the "Solemnity of solemnities”.

 

 

Ascension of the Lord

A Holy Day Of Obligation

All ecclesiastical Provinces, except Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia and the State of Nebraska, have transferred this Solemnity to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Sundays are always a day of Holy Obligation.

 

Commemorates the Ascension of Christ into heaven 40 days after his Resurrection from the dead.

 

 

Pentecost

A Holy Day Of Obligation

Sundays are always a day of Holy Obligation.

Commemorates the fulfillment of Christ’s Passover in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the apostles and the Church. Concludes the Easter Season.

 

 

Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

A Holy Day Of Obligation

Sundays are always a day of Holy Obligation.

Celebrates the reality of the Lord’s abiding presence with us in the gift of the Eucharist and the mystery of the real presence of Christ’s Body and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine.

 

 

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A Holy Day Of Obligation

Commemorates the taking into heaven of Mary, soul and body, at the end of her life on earth. A truth of faith that was proclaimed a dogma by Pius XII on Nov. 1, 1950.

 

 

All Saints

A Holy Day Of Obligation

This Solemnity celebrates all the saints in heaven, a source of hope and encouragement for the entire Church as she walks by faith, helped by the example of the saints.

 

 

First Sunday of Advent

A Holy Day of Obligation

This marks the beginning of the Liturgical Year. The Advent season (First Sunday of Advent until Christmas) is a time of expectant waiting in hope for the comings of the Lord: the past historical coming of Jesus Christ, the presence of Christ in our World today and “looking forward in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ”.

 

 

Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A Holy Day Of Obligation

Commemorates the fact that Mary, in view of her calling to be the Mother of Christ and in virtue of his merits, was preserved from the first moment of conception from original sin.

 

The precept to attend Mass on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is maintained, even if the day falls on a Saturday or Monday.

 

This Solemnity commemorates the fact that Mary, in view of her calling to be the Mother of Christ and in virtue of his merits, was preserved from the first moment of conception from original sin.

 

 

Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

A Holy Day Of Obligation

Commemorates the birth of Christ.

 

 

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

A Holy Day of Obligation

Celebrates Mary's motherhood of Jesus.