As Catholics, we are faithful and obliged to attend Mass every Sunday. The additional Holy Days of Obligation also call us to participate in Mass while setting aside any unnecessary labor that may hinder our worship towards God. Observe each Holy Day as a special celebration to give the joy proper to the Lord’s Day. Though these days are considered obligatory to us in the Catholic faith, family and health needs can legitimately excuse participation in Mass.
There are a total of ten Holy Days celebrated in Vatican City. However, there is variation in other parts of the world. In the United States, there are eight Holy Days. Two of the days are either celebrated on Sunday or are transferred to a Sunday – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, and The Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Sunday). The Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated on the first Sunday after January 1. Easter is universally observed as the first Sunday, after the first full moon, following the spring equinox. On the six additional days, we are encouraged to offer praise, honor, and glory to God even if Mass attendance is not obligatory. These celebratory days appear on the liturgical calendar as follows:
- January 1 – Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
Always celebrated January 1, but if the day falls on a Monday or Saturday, there is no obligation to attend Mass.
- Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
Sometimes transferred to the seventh Sunday of Easter depending on your location.
- August 15 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Always celebrated August 15, but if the day falls on a Monday or Saturday, there is no obligation to attend Mass.
- November 1 – Solemnity of All Saints
Always celebrated November 1, but if the day falls on a Monday or Saturday, there is no obligation to attend Mass.
- December 8 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Always celebrated December 8 unless the day is a Sunday. It will be transferred to December 9 with no obligation to attend Mass.
- December 25 – Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Always celebrated December 25.