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Holy Day Of Obligation


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On December 13, 1991 the members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of America made the following general decree concerning holy days of obligation for Latin Rite Catholics:In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of GodThursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the AscensionAugust 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin MaryNovember 1, the solemnity of All SaintsDecember 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate ConceptionDecember 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus ChristWhenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.This decree of the Conference of Bishops was approved and confirmed by the Apostolic See by a decree of the Congregation for Bishops (Prot. N. 296/84), signed by Bernardin Cardinal Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation, and dated July 4, 1992.As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby declare that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America will be January 1, 1993, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, November 17, 1992.Most Reverend Daniel E. PilarczykArchbishop of CincinnatiPresident, NCCBMonsignor Robert N. LynchGeneral Secretary


In accord with the provisions of canon 1246, 2 of the Code of Canon Law, which states: "... the conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See," the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States decrees that the Ecclesiastical Provinces of the United States may transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter to the Seventh Sunday of Easter according to the following procedure.The decision of each Ecclesiastical Province to transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension is to be made by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the bishops of the respective Ecclesiastical Province. The decision of the Ecclesiastical Province should be communicated to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and to the President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.This decree was approved by His Holiness Pope John Paul II by a decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and dated July 5, 1999.As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America will be September 8, 1999, Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary.Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, August 6, 1999, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.Most Reverend Joseph A. FiorenzaBishop of Galveston-HoustonPresident, NCCB


In the Catholic Church, holy days of obligation are days on which the faithful are expected to attend Mass, and engage in rest from work and recreation (i.e., they are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God), according to the third Commandment.


The expectation is attached to the holy day, even if transferred to another date, as sometimes happens in the Roman Rite. However, in some countries a dispensation is granted in such circumstances.[1]


Can. 1246. 1. Sunday, on which by apostolic tradition the paschal mystery is celebrated, must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation. The following days must also be observed: the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Body and Blood of Christ, Holy Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles, and All Saints.2. With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, however, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.


The number of holy days of obligation was once much greater. With the motu proprio of 2 July 1911, Supremi disciplinae, Pope Pius X reduced the number of such non-Sunday holy days from 36 to 8: the above 10 dates (1 January was then the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ) minus the feasts the Body and Blood of Christ, and Saint Joseph.[3] The present list was established in canon 1247 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law,[4] now canon 1246 of the current Code of Canon Law.


Even before the time of Pius X, the bishops in many countries had obtained the Holy See's approval to diminish the number of non-Sunday holy days of obligation, making it less than 36. Today too, episcopal conferences have availed themselves of the authority granted them to reduce the number below the ten mentioned above.


Non-Sunday holy days of obligation all have the rank of solemnity. Accordingly, if in Ordinary Time one of them falls on a Sunday, the Sunday celebration gives way to it; but the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Eastertide take precedence over all solemnities, which are then transferred to another day[5] (but the precept is not). Occasionally, the Feast of the Sacred Heart may fall on Ss. Peter and Paul's feast day, in which case it takes precedence over the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul; the precept then applies to the feast of the Sacred Heart.[citation needed]


While episcopal conferences may suppress holy days of obligation or transfer them to Sunday, some of them have maintained as holy days of obligation some days that are not public holidays. For most people, such days are normal working days, and they therefore cannot observe the obligation "to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord's day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body".[6] However, the faithful remain bound by the obligation to participate in Mass. For these days, referred to as "working holy days", churches may have a special timetable, with Mass available outside the normal working hours and on the previous evening. In times past, Holy Days would often be referred to as days of single or double precept, with those of double precept requiring both hearing Mass and abstaining from servile works, whereas days of single precept would permit servile work.[7]


In Ireland the only holy days of obligation that are also public holidays are Christmas and Saint Patrick's Day, so that it has five working holy days. Similarly, Slovakia has only four holy days of obligation that are also public holidays: Christmas, Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, Epiphany, and All Saints', leaving it with five working holy days. In the Netherlands, the bishops conference decreed that, with effect from 1 January 1991, the feasts of the Assumption and All Saints, each of which it had previously decided to celebrate on the following Sunday, were to be of obligation as regards Mass, but not for abstaining from work.[8]


In Vatican City, but not in the rest of the Diocese of Rome, Sundays and all 10 days listed in canon 1246 are observed as holy days of obligation. This is also the case in the Diocese of Lugano (covering the Swiss canton of Ticino), but perhaps nowhere else.


Some countries have as holy days of obligation feasts that are not among those listed in canon 1246. Ireland has Saint Patrick's Day.[9] Germany and Hungary have Saint Stephen on the "Second Christmas Day" (26 December), Easter Monday, and Pentecost Monday (Whit Monday).[10]


No formal legislative norm of the Episcopal Conference of Belgium exists in which the holy days of obligation are listed. However, the four days mentioned above have been Belgium's holy days of obligation since the concordat of 1801 (which itself is not recognized as legally binding in Belgium since independence). Therefore, the current system is in force because of canon 5 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.[13]


In Mainland China, there are two holy days of obligation according to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association: Christmas and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.[citation needed] However, since the CPCA is not recognized by the Holy See, it is not clear if a Holy See-approved regulation exists. If not, it is likely that the 10 holy days of obligation would apply in Mainland China.[citation needed]


However, this situation only exists in Mainland China. In the Diocese of Hong Kong, Christmas is the only holy day of obligation.[16] The same seems to be true for Taiwan. In the diocese of Macau, the holy days of obligations are the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Christmas, and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.[17]


In Czech Republic, holy days of obligation are, by Czech Bishops' Conference, reduced to only two days, which are also public holidays in the Czech Republic'[18] Since the other holy days of obligation mentioned in the Code of Canon Law are not public holidays, the Czech Bishops' Conference does not make attendance at Mass obligatory for Catholics, but only recommends it, as it does also on the feast days of Saints Cyril and Methodius (5 July) and Saint Wenceslas (28 September). Attendance at Mass is of course obligatory on all Sundays.


According to a 1984 decision of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, holydays which fall on a Saturday or a Monday (with the exception of Christmas) are transferred to the adjacent Sunday. In 2006, the Epiphany, Ascension and Corpus Christi were transferred to the nearest Sunday. On 17 November 2016 meeting in Leeds, the Bishops' Conference determined that the Epiphany and the Ascension should be celebrated on their official days, or on the adjacent Sunday when 6 January is a Saturday or a Monday. This decision was approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and became effective from 3 December 2017.[20][21] 59ce067264






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