"Freebies!"
Visit the new online stores
that offer a very large assortment of religious goods!
Order a copy
of the website!
Back To Home

Back to Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE MEANING OF A
HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION.

Q. 1. What is a "Holy Day of Obligation"? Is it the same in every country?

A. 1. A holy day of obligation is a specific feast Day when Catholics are obliged to go to Mass. In other words, they should treat a holy day of obligation as a Sunday.

On a holy day of obligation, Catholics are also to abstain from such work or business that would prevent the worship that is due to God, the joy that is appropriate to the Lord Day, and a time of relaxation of mind and body.

The obligation of attending Holy Mass on a holy day of obligation can be fulfilled by going to Mass on the holy day itself or on the evening of the previous day.

When it is impossible to attend holy mass, either because no priest is available or for some other grave reason, the faithful are strongly recommended to take part in a liturgy of the Word, if there be such in the parish church or some other sacred place, which is celebrated in accordance with the provisions laid down by the diocesan Bishop; or to spend an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family or, as occasion presents, in a group of families.

"On Sundays and other holydays of obligation, the faithful are obliged to assist at Mass. They are also to abstain from such work or business that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, or the due relaxation of mind and body." [Canon Law # 1247]

"The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day." [Canon Law # 1248 1]

"If it is impossible to assist at a eucharistic celebration, either because no sacred minister is available or for some other grave reason, the faithful are strongly recommended to take part in a liturgy of the Word, if there be such in the parish church or some other sacred place, which is celebrated in accordance with the provisions laid down by the diocesan Bishop; or to spend an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family or, as occasion presents, in a group of families." [Canon Law # 1248 2]

The observances of holy days of obligation within the Catholic Church vary from country to country. However, there are ten holy days established for the Catholic Church:

The Lord's Day, on which the paschal mystery is celebrated, is by apostolic tradition to be observed in the universal Church as the primary holy day of obligation. In the same way the following holydays are to be observed:

- the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
- the Epiphany,
- the Ascension of Christ,
- Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ,
- the Feast of Mary the Mother of God,
- the Feast of the Immaculate Conception,
- the Assumption of Mary,
- the Feast of St. Joseph,
- the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul,
- the Feast of All Saints. [Code of Canon Law # 1246]

"However, the Episcopal Conference may, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, suppress certain holydays of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday." [Code of Canon Law # 1246 2 ]

List of Holy Days of Obligation - Observances in Latin-Rite Churches by Country.

(This list is comprised of the non-Sunday holy days, as, similar to the U.S., many feast days have been moved to a Sunday)

Australia
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Christmas

Belgium
- The Ascension of Our Lord
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day
- Christmas

Canada
- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- Christmas

England and Wales
- St Peter & St Paul
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day
- Birth of the Lord (Christmas)

Germany
- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- Easter Monday
- Ascension
- Pentecost Monday
- Christmas Day
- Second Christmas Day (26 December)

In addition, some dioceses have one or more of the following holy days of obligation:
- Epiphany
- Body and Blood of Christ
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day

Greece
- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- Epiphany
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Christmas

Ireland
- Epiphany
- St. Patrick's Day
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day
- The Feast of the Immaculate Conception
- Christmas

Italy
- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- The Epiphany
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day
- The Feast of the Immaculate Conception
- Christmas

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei
- Ash Wednesday
- The Ascension of Our Lord
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day

The Netherlands
- The Ascension of Our Lord
- Christmas

Poland
- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- Epiphany
- Body and Blood of Christ
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day
- Christmas

United States
- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- The Ascension (except in the several ecclesiastical provinces that, since 1999, have transferred this celebration to the following Sunday)
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints' Day
- The Feast of the Immaculate Conception
- The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas)



To submit your question, please send it to our:
NEW EMAIL ADDRESS

(On the subject line: Indicate "FAQ" for "Frequently Asked Questions.")



Main Index







Copyright © Catholic Doors Ministry