Holy Days

Holy Days

All Sundays, including Easter, are holy days when all Catholics are obligated to attend Mass.

In addition to these, the Universal Church has established ten holy days of obligation with special emphasis, celebrations, and traditions associated with them.

In the United States, the holy days when American Catholics are obligated to attend Mass are Mary, Mother of God (January 1), Ascension Thursday (40 days after Easter), the Assumption of Mary (August 15), All Saints Day (November 1), the Immaculate Conception (December 8), and the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ (December 25).

Other holy days like Ash Wednesday, All Soul’s Day, and Good Friday are Holy Days with special Masses but no obligation to attend.

The Church wants to help us become holy: 

Celebrate the holy days of obligation:

The fourth precept (“You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation”) completes the Sunday observance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2043

Setting the day aside:

Immersing ourselves more deeply into the faith:

Now, if the order was given to the Jews: “Six days shall you do work; in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. Every one that shall do any work on this day, shall die;” how will these Christians not fear spiritual death who perform servile work on feast-days, and whose rest on these days is not devoted to religion and piety but given over to the allurements of the world? Sundays and holy days, then, must be made holy by divine worship, which gives homage to God and heavenly food to the soul.

Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947

The number of holy days varies by country and region:

The obligation to attend Mass can be waived for good reason:

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him. Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when He was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.

Luke 2: 40-42

The most important events in God’s saving plan:

Not all holy days are days of obligation:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Discovering the early Church Fathers:

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