Holy Days of Obligation

I have never heard of this until just 5 minutes ago.

I’ve gone to Catholic school for every year except 2, and became revert recently.

And I’ve never heard about the Holy Days of Obligation until now. This is brutal. Why aren’t these things emphasized more?

Not surprising some of the most poorly catechised Catholics come out of the Catholic school system. My wife is a product of the Catholic school system and after a year dating me she said she learned more about the Catholic faith in that year then she learned in the entire 12 years she was in Catholic school.

Due to that poor teaching when I meet her she was starting to dabble with other denominations but I was able to bring her back.

My suggestion to you is start reading or listening to some of the archived radio shows on the Catholic Answers web page.

As for the Holy Days, depends on what parish/diocese you are in as to how much they are stressed. Some priests do not stress them in fear of angering the Sunday only Catholics.

I have no idea why the mass obligation was not stressed at your school. in our school the children go to Mass on every Holy Day when school is in session, and perhaps they don’t realize that opportunity has been provided because it is an obligation, because they also have a school Mass every Friday.

I know it is emphasized, because the principal repeats it every week, that they are still obligated to go to mass with their families on Sunday, but I see very few of these families at Sunday Mass. granted, some belong to other parishes, but I know when they come to me in 9th grade for Confirmation that fewer than half are attending Mass regularly (about the same as for CCD kids from public schools). Our pastor also makes the same point from the pulpit, especially when school parents are there. he just preached on the US bishops’ letter on who can receive communion, and of course nearly everyone went to communion, even though the holy day Masses were only half full.

It may be that it was taught in your school but not reinforced by your family practice, so the message never got through. don’t be too quick to blame the school. Did your parents make it a point to bring the family to Mass on days of obligation, to see that everyone had frequent opportunities for confession?

Don’t feel bad – the directors of the confirmation program at our parish scheduled a confirmation class on a holy day of obligation (knowingly) --basically putting minimal importance on Mass attendance. I think there’s just a diminished sense of of everything among Catholics today (at least in this country) – sense of sin, sense of obligation, etc. Part of it is poor catechesis, which is why we have to take the responsiblity to learn these things for ourselves. I’ve learned alot from publications like *National Catholic Register, This Rock. *Catholic Answers is a good resource for materials as well.

we still have parish organizations scheduling meetings and events on holy days, either they don’t know or the parish secretary, who should know, does not notice and puts the event on the calendar. Father is adamant that no other parish events can be scheduled to conflict with holy day masses but I honestly think most people just don’t have a consciousness of the liturgical calendar in their head. Secretary scheduled a wedding for Holy Saturday, which now will have to be changed. I do think the trend to moving holy days to the nearest Sunday, or removing the obligation when they fall on Sat. or Mon., which has been the practice in this diocese for many years, is responsible for the lack of awareness about holy days in general and the importance of the Mass obligation.

When one of these confirmation class directors was calling parents to let them know about the meeting (it wasn’t on its regularly scheduled day, but had been rescheduled to All Saints Day), one of the parents commented that it was a holy day of obligation,and the director said, “well, most people don’t attend anyway.” I think that is inexcusable.

If I were a priest, I don’t think I would go out of my way to make enemies, but I really would not spend so much time worrying about offending people regarding doctrinal matters. Love or leave it.

Not sure, but how about this – I’ve been on these boards for maybe 2 years now. Never heard of this. This makes me wonder what else I might not know. I’m not worried about the mortal sin aspect of it, as I just didn’t know. But it’s just like talking to someone who spent years studying a subject, say like insects, and then that guy says “A spider isn’t an insect? What?”

If you did not know the obligation existed there is no sin. now you know so the bar has just been raised for you. you are in the right place, we’re pretty good here at laying down the law for people, but seriously, do ask we love to talk.

DH has a new parish club that volunteered to put on a parish advent day of recollection, since nothing else was planned for adults, and was astounded to observe that most people there simply did not know the basic rosary prayers, and most of them are regular church-goers, and we recite the rosary after every mass here. they did a talk on the brown scapular and most people had no idea what it was or what it meant.

you don’t have to be a revert or a convert to need more education and formation in the faith. simply because you are now motivated to study and learn more, you may actually be better informed than the person sitting next to you on Sunday.

It’s not surprising that you might not have seen the Holy Day stuff mentioned on this forum but it is always there. Odds are when you are looking for things on the forum you only go to the topics that interest you. You probably glanced right over the ones talking about Holy Days. Every time there is a “moved” Holy Day there are usually several threads started about why the move, is the move appropriate, etc. Also during the summer there are usually tons of questions over the August Holy Day because people always ask vacation related questions about it.

I’m sure in a week there will be a large thread talking about the fact that Christmas is a Holy Day and it is on Monday, people asking whether Sunday evening Mass would qualify for Christmas Mass and Sunday Mass or not. With tons of people weighing in on both sides of the issue.

It appears your catechists were not teaching that which is transmitted by the Church’s magisterium.

“Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.”(Jn 7:13)…What assiduous study of the word of God transmitted by the Church’s magisterium, what profound familiarity with Christ and with the Father, what a spirit of prayer, what detachment from self must a catechist have in order that he can say: “My teaching is not mine!””
– John Paul II, Catechesis in our Time

I recommend you purchase a Catechism or read in online here: Catechism of the Catholic Church. Catechesis by random forum discussions is bound to leave holes in instruction on Christian doctrine. There are many better, more comprehensive ways to learn the basics of Catholicism, to include the online courses offered by Knights of Columbus, here:

Online Courses (Includes chapter tests and instant scoring):
*]The Luke E. Hart Series Course
*]The Faith Formation Course[/LIST]Or you can simply read their lesson material here:

The Luke E. Hart Series
The Veritas Series (Some available in Spanish)

A couple of other points:
In the last couple of years, there have been U.S. Holy Days such as Jan 1 (Mary, the Mother of God), Nov 1. (All Saints), and Aug. 15 (the Assumption) which have fallen on a Monday or a Friday. For those 3 Holy Days, if they fall on a Monday or Friday, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated (but only when they fall on those two dates). Add on that many U.S. Dioceses (most even) have translated the feast of the Ascension from Thursday to the nearest Sunday, and you could get through a couple of years without having to attend more than one-two Holy Days in the U.S.

Some parishes don’t even bother to list those Holy Days in force. . .so there go the one or two left, even for the good Catholic who goes to Church every Sunday, especially if they are new Catholics, former lapsed Catholics, etc.

Thankful again for our “odd” area. The HDO’s are announced at Masses the prior weeks. The bulliten also lists not only our HDO Mass scheudle, but the Mass schedules of other Parishes/Chapels in town :thumbsup:

I’ve often wondered why the Church made Mass attendance on these days, “obligated?” Did the Church set people up to commit mortal sin, esepecially in light of the fact they could remove the day of obligation? If romving the “obligation,” would they be removing the possibility of comitting mortal sin by those who don’t attend Mass?

Besides, why would the Church have to place the threat of committing mortal sin for not attending Mass on these days, to people of faith? People of faith would willingly attend Mass on these days, without making it a day of obligation.

Something never sat right with me on this issue.


Well, you have my complete agreement, and I offer it because every time I express an opinion on a post with a question mark in it I am tackled by a super-sized football team of i-dotters and t-crossers, who think that (as was actually taught to “ordinary people” in my father’s generation) walking into a Protestant church is a sin on the same level as committing murder.

As I have posted elsewhere, something cannot be a mortal sin in one country and not a sin at all in another. That’s the educated layman’s common sense. If you’re going to contradict me on that again, provide a credential, please. A degree in theology from Louvain would do nicely.

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