EVERY organization, whether secular or religious, requires its own laws and customs in order to maintain order. As citizens of the state, we enjoy certain rights and privileges, but we likewise have civic duties to fulfill. As Catholics, Canon Law is the internal system and guidelines which guides us. As baptized faithful we do have certain rights, privileges, and duties to live our faith fully.
We look to Canon 1246 in the Code of Canon Law to know our Holy Days of Obligations.
Can. 1246 §1 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 holyday of obligation.
We clearly see that every Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation. The 3rd Commandment, given by God, tells us to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Sunday is the day when Jesus rose from the dead and opened up for believers the way to eternal life. As Psalm 118 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. In addition, we celebrate the Sunday Eucharist/Missa because Jesus commanded us to do so. Before He gave up His life for us on the cross, “He took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”LK 22:23. Sunday is our primary holy day of obligation.
In addition, our Church asks us to observe other special Holy Days and feasts which mark key moments of salvation history. They are also opportunities for us to gather as one family to celebrate God’s goodness and love. The other Holy Days of Obligation in our Diocese are
January 1: The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God
40 days after Easter Sunday: Ascension
August 15: Assumption of Mary into heaven (Moved to the closest Sunday)
November 1: All Saints’ Day
December 8: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 25: Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord
It is important to note that each Bishops Confer- ence (Group of Bishops in a Certain Region) may transfer certain holy days to Sunday with approval from Rome. This is to allow a majority of the faith- ful to participate in the mass, considering their work schedules, school, and family life. For us, Ascension, Assumption, Epiphany, and Corpus Christi are always transferred to Sunday. Canon law also states that only for serious reasons may someone be excused from this obligation. Reasons such as the necessity to work to support one’s family, child care, personal sickness or the care of the sick, necessary travel would excuse a person. Those who have continuing reason to be ex- cused should consult their pastor.
The Eucharist/Mass comes from a greek word Eucharistia which means thanksgiving. My prayer is that we do not see the mass as a burden or mere obligation to fulfill. Rather, mass is a gift and opportunity to hear God’s Word and glorify the Lord for His bountiful blessings