This friday, Easter week

Am I correct that this is not a day of penance like the usual Fridays during the year, since it is a solemnity?

These solemnities during Easter week aren’t Holy Days of Obligation though, right?
Not saying I only want to go to church if I have to; I go to mass almost every day. Tomorrow might be hard though to make it.

The Octave of Easter is considered EASTER DAY. Therefore it is a solemnity. You will have noticed the Gloria sung every day this week. It would be inappropriate to fast on a solemnity. My family definitely will not be doing our regular penetential acts tomorrow.

We are actually having a party at our church tomorrow. It’s about the only Friday of the year I would feel OK about that.

I’m a brand new Catholic and I think perhaps the terminology has me confused (I’m having an unbelievably difficult time with Catholic terms and acronyms). But, I thought every Friday of the year was a day of penance (either you eat no meat or perform another act of penance). Could you explain further, please?

I have heard that about it being EASTER DAY. That is why I was wondering, is it a Holy Day of Obligation every day?

I think it’s every Friday UNLESS a solemnity, a big feast day, falls on that day.

Days of Penance Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Feast Days
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.

I don’t see anything in Canon law about Friday in the Easter Octave not being a normal day of penance re abstinence.

Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

There is also the USCCB’s 2001 Penitential Practices for Today’s Catholics “…a brief summary of the Church’s discipline with regard to penitential practices…” and their 1966 “Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence”

In our Eastern Catholic calendar this week, Bright Week, is no fasting all week. :thumbsup: Typically every Wednesday and every Friday is a day of abstinence and fasting for us.

“unless a solemnity should fall on that Friday”.
So the question is, is today a solemnity?

Yes, it is! See this liturgical calendar from the USCCB (pdf file).

I’m still confused. So you can eat meat on a solemnity?

Yes. Canon 1251, noted above, makes the exception for solemnities. The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar #24 says of the Easter Octave:

  1. The first eight days of the Easter season make up the octave of Easter and are celebrated as solemnities of the Lord.

Today is a Solemnity, so abstinence is not required.


It’s so good to even see this question asked. Most Catholics don’t give any special attention to any Friday.

Yes, today is definitely a solemnity. It is part of Easter Octave. Easter is so big it cannot be celebrated in just one day. There should be no fasting or penance days this week. The same is also true of Christmas week. I try to do the Liturgy of the Hours every day, and it’s especially notable today because most Fridays Ps. 51, which is the psalm of repentance, is read, and it always mentions Christ’s death. That is not mentioned today.

We are still in the midst of Easter. Christ has risen, alleluia!

NB: While it is accurate that Christmas also celebrates an octave, the days of the Christmas Octave do not rank as Solemnities.


Are you sure about that? Fr. George Rutler said that we are not to do any fasting during the Christmas Octave, so I assumed that meant it was a solemnity.

Again, from the General Norms:

  1. Christmas has its own octave, arranged as follows:
    *]Sunday within the octave is the feast of the Holy Family;
    *]26 December is the feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr;
    *]27 December is the feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist;
    *]28 December is the feast of the Holy Innocents;
    *]29, 30, and 31 December are days within the octave;
    *]1 January, the octave day of Christmas, is the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It also recalls the conferral of the holy Name of Jesus.

And according to that document’s Table of Liturgical Days, the days of the Christmas Octave are ranked at #9, below many solemn celebrations, and notably below celebrations ranked as Feasts (but above Memorials, obligatory or optional).

Should there be no fasting during the Christmas octave? Perhaps not – But if that is the case, it is not because the days of the octave rank as solemnities, because they do not.

At least that is my interpretation of the documents.


Makes sense. Thanks.

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