Liturgical Year

Holy Days of Obligation | Lenten Fast and Abstinence Rules

Holy Days of Obligation

The following days are observed as Holy Days of Obligation in Latin Rite Dioceses in the United States:

January 1 | The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

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 (Christmas)

In 1991, the U.S. Catholic Bishop decreed that there is no obligation in the U.S. to attend Mass when the following fall on a Saturday or Monday:

  • January 1 | The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  • August 15 | The Solemnity of the Assumption
  • November 1 | The Solemnity of All Saints

Solemnity of the Ascension

In the Diocese of Green Bay and most dioceses in the country, the Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated on the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

The Ascension is celebrated on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter in these states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The Solemnity of the Ascension is a Holy Day of Obligation in the U.S. regardless of which day a diocese observes it.


Lenten Fast and Abstinence Rules

Here are the Catholic Church's rules for fasting and abstinence during Lent as released by the Green Bay Diocese:

Each Catholic is asked to preserve the penitential purpose and character of Lent, which begins Ash Wednesday. Therefore:

  • Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and each Friday of Lent.
  • Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, in addition to abstaining from meat, should fast, that is, eat only one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Smaller quantities of food may be taken at two other meals, but no food should be consumed at other times during those two days. The obligation of fasting ceases with the celebration of one's 59th birthday.

These practices are designed for spiritual growth. Catholics are not to excuse themselves lightly from these prescribed minimal penitential practices.

Lent/Easter Season Dates

2018

Lent begins on February 14, Ash Wednesday. Good Friday is March 30. Easter is April 1. Pentecost is May 20.

2017

Lent began on March 1, Ash Wednesday. Good Friday was April 14. Easter was April 17. Pentecost was June 4.