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The Catholic Holy Days of Obligation chart shows the dates for the Universal Church and for the various countries around the world.
The obligations attached to the days have changed in many places which makes people think that some are no longer of obligation. In some dioceses and congregations the obligation is simply transferred to the next Sunday.
All Sundays are holy days of obligation. Because Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles and Mary on Pentecost Sunday, the Catholic Church has designated Sunday as the Lord's Day, not Saturday which is known in the Bible as the Sabbath.
There are other very important feasts in the year that count as the Lord's Day, too. Since there are some that do not fall on Sunday, we memorize those dates so as to be able to remember them through the year.
Check your local Ordo for what is required on the Holy Days in these lists. There is a list of days required in the United States below this universal chart.
1. Christmas Day, December 25.
2. Circumcision, January 1.
3. Ascension Thursday, 40 Days after Easter.
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15.
5. The Immaculate Conception, December 8.
6. All Saints Day, November 1.
They are easy to remember when you think there are:
3 for Jesus,
2 for Mary, and
1 for the other saints.
Use these links to jump down to the different holy days of obligation:
There are other holy days that are important, too. They are not obligatory, but they do mark important days in the calendar.
There are many Catholic Feast Days that are simply the feasts of saints and do not directly affect the Liturgical calendar, but we celebrate them in honor their virtues in imitation of Jesus and Mary like: St. Patrick, St. Joseph, St. Andrew, and St. Anthony. Some of these are remembered in the Rosary (see Rosary coloring pages here).
The Catholic holy days of obligation have an asterisk:
Feast of the Circumcision* - January 1
Feast of the Epiphany - January 6
Ash Wednesday - The beginning of Lent
Palm Sunday - The beginning of Holy Week
Holy Thursday - The Last Supper
Good Friday - The Crucifixion of Jesus
Holy Saturday - Jesus remains buried.
Easter Sunday - The Resurrection of Jesus
Ascension Thursday* - Jesus ascends into Heaven, 40 days after Easter
Pentecost Sunday - Holy Ghost descends upon the Apostles and Mary
Trinity Sunday - The end of the Easter season celebrates the Trinity
Corpus Christi - Celebrates Jesus in the Eucharist
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary* August 8
All Saints Day* - November 1
Advent - Fourth Sunday before Christmas.
Immaculate Conception* December 8
Christmas Day* December 25 - Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Since some of these dates are movable feasts so we post these dates on our home page and send an email reminder about once monthly.
The Ascension is a movable feast. Do you need a Holy Day Reminder? Fill the form at the top of this page. Invite your family and friends to do the same.
Our free monthly reminder of the Catholic holy days of obligation also mentions the dates for the nine First Fridays and the five First Saturdays. Sometimes it's tricky when the First Saturday comes before the First Friday, so it's good to have a reminder.
We also mention other major Catholic feast days and seasonal highlights of the Catholic liturgical calendar. Simply enter your regular email address in the white box on most of our web pages or sign up for our Holy Day Reminder at the top of this page.
Remember to check your local Ordo for what is required on the Holy Days in your area.
The Confirmation catechism is when we learn the holy days. We are usually required to memorize these so that we do not forget throughout the years.
The St. Anne's Helper Catholic Confirmation catechism is an audio Baltimore Catechism that makes memorizing the holy days easy and you can find an explanation of most of the holy days, especially Christmas, the Circumcision, and the Ascension of Jesus.
St. Anne's Audio Catechism for Confirmation teaches the Catholic Holy Days of Obligation in the USA. St. Anne's Catechism Copybooks also reinforce learning the answers. They use the copybook method to improve memorization, penmanship, reading and spelling!
The Roman Catholic calendar names the Catholic Holy Days of Obligation as well as the Catholic saints names to use for Baptism or Confirmation. It frequently has a separate list of patron saints, as well. Knowing the specific patron saint is handy for special dedications or gifts. The Catholic Encyclopedia or Butler's Lives of the Saints (not Attwater's rewrite) are great resources, too.
The Catholic Missal prayers, readings, and thoughts for the day are usually placed in the Catholic liturgical calendar according to the anniversary date of each saint's death. Newly canonized saints can be found on calendars that use the new liturgical year. TAN Books has had a Catholic calendar that lists both the traditional Catholic calendar and the new which can be handy for comparisons.
See the Vatican directives for Sunday and the Catholic Holy Days of Obligation here:
"The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. 'Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.'"110
"Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints."111
Looking for the dates of more Catholic Feast Days? Here's a great list by month according to the 1962 Catholic liturgical calendar that is used with the 1962 Roman Missal.
Use printables in your Roman Catholic catechism class, Faith formation, or Sunday school lesson. ~Mary Fifer