Many have asked, “What are the Holy Days of Obligation in the United States?”
Below is the general decree from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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 God;
Please Note: The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated the Seventh Sunday of Easter in this diocese.
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints;
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception;
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
+ Daniel E. Pilarczyk
Archbishop of Cincinnati
President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
Robert N. Lynch
The dual disciplines of fasting and abstinence have a long history in the Catholic Church. Going back to the early Church,the purpose behind the custom of self denial is not punishment; it is to simplify our lifestyles so that we create a certain emptiness. In this way, freed from all distractions, we are able to hear and respond to Gods continued call to conversion and holiness.
Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics between the ages of 18 to 59 years (inclusive). On days of fasting, one full meal is allowed. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to ones needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed.
Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age and older. Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday are days of abstinence. Note: If a person is unable to observe the above regulations due to ill health or other serious reasons, they are urged to practice other forms of self denial that are suitable to their condition. Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. The faithful and catechumens should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for Baptism or of renewal of Baptism at Easter.
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