Catholic holy days of obligation are the days on which we’re expected to go to Mass. This list includes every single Sunday, along with a few additional days. Some feasts, such as Easter, are always celebrated on a Sunday, so they are always obligatory. But when are you supposed to attend Mass outside of Sundays?

What Are the Holy Days of Obligation?

The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church says that there are nine holy days of obligation other than Sundays, but it also says that the local conference of bishops may suppress some of them or transfer them to a Sunday.

Bishops in the United States have suppressed the feast of Saint Joseph and the feast of Saints Peter and Paul as holy days of obligation. In addition, the feast of Epiphany is always celebrated on a Sunday in the U.S. In 2021, the Feast of the Assumption falls on a Sunday, August 15. Since all Sundays are obligatory, it’s not included in the list this year.

Throughout much of 2020 and continuing into 2021 for the foreseeable future, bishops have lifted the obligation to attend Mass in person due to the Coronavirus pandemic and have instead encouraged virtual Mass celebrations. We invite you to join the Oblates of the Virgin Mary community online at daily and Sunday virtual Masses.

US Catholic Holy Days of Obligation for 2021

This leaves us with five holy days of obligation outside of Sundays. The following are holy days of obligation in the U.S. for 2021:

  • Solemnity of Mary, January 1
  • Ascension of Jesus, May 13 — Celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter Sunday*
  • Solemnity of All Saints, November 1*
  • Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8
  • Christmas, December 25

*An individual bishop may transfer a holy day to a Sunday. This is the case in most US dioceses with the Ascension of Jesus, which is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Since the Solemnity of All Saints falls on a Monday this year, it may also be transferred to the previous Sunday. Check with your local diocese.

Holy Days Calendar

To make sure you don’t miss Mass on these special days, we created a Google Calendar with the Catholic Holy Days of Obligation for 2021. We invite you to add it to your personal Google Calendar by entering your email address in the form below. You’ll also be subscribed to ongoing emails from the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.

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And don’t forget to tune into the live stream of our Mass at St. Clement Shrine at 11:00 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday and 8:00 a.m. ET every weekday.  Follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our daily, Saturday, and Sunday Mass online in your feed.

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There are a few exceptions to those obligations. If the Solemnity of Mary, the Feast of the Assumption or the Solemnity of All Saints falls on a Saturday or Monday, the obligation is often lifted and those feasts are celebrated on that Sunday. In 2021, this is the case for the Solemnity of All Saints.

We’d still encourage you to attend Mass on those days, but it would not be considered a holy day of obligation. If you’re ever unsure, check with your parish or your diocese’s website to see how your diocese approaches a specific holy day of obligation.

Hawaiians also handle Catholic holy days of obligation a bit differently. Since 1992, the only observed holy days of obligation (except Sundays) are the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Christmas.

A Christmas Miracle From An OMV Seminarian

Br. Leland

Christmas and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ holds a special place in the hearts of the faithful as we remember and give thanks for God’s greatest gift. One of our Oblates of the Virgin Mary seminarians, Br. Leland Thorpe, has a special connection to the Christmas story.

“The stable in which Jesus was born was likely dirty, and smelly, and entirely unfitting for a king. A few years ago right at Christmas I was in a place of desolation, and felt like my heart was just like that stable.

But after receiving Communion, the Infant Jesus settled into my heart and made me understand he was glad to be there, just like he was glad to be born in a stable.

Dorothy Day said, ‘I’m so glad that Jesus was born in a stable. Because my soul is so much like a stable. It is poor and in unsatisfactory condition because of guilt, falsehoods, inadequacies and sin. Yet I believe that if Jesus can be born in a stable, maybe he can also be born in me.’

That was the grace I received in that Communion, and it’s continued to be a source of hope and strength for me.”

What Catholic feast days or holy days of obligation are most important to your faith? We’d love to hear your stories and discuss special connections in the comments below.

23 comments on “Catholic Holy Days of Obligation: The Complete List”

  1. 1
    karen L molina on October 29, 2019

    thank you

  2. 2
    Pam DeHuff on December 13, 2019

    Was Sunday December 8, 2019 considered the feast of the Immaculate conception?

  3. 3
    Carla on February 26, 2020

    Perfect reference article. Thanks, Father.

  4. 4
    M. Halley on February 26, 2020

    How come different countries have different holy days? Example: Hawaii only observes two and Japan only one?

  5. 5
    Louanne Soczek on February 26, 2020

    Thank you for the information on the Holy Days of obligations!

    1. 6
      Oblates of the Virgin Mary on March 12, 2020

      Thank you Louanne. God bless.

  6. 7
    Maronita on March 16, 2020

    So technically on the Holy Name of Mary feast day you were really making your 2nd renewal of vows! I should suggest to my superior doing something like that in our statutes.

  7. 8
    Ayoosu Moses Mario SHL on October 30, 2020

    Thanks for the comprehensive explanation on the Holy day of obligation.

  8. 9
    Tom O’Hagan on December 8, 2020

    Does the calendar really need to include the Marian feast of Her Motherhood as a holy day of obligation on Jan 1st? It is so close to Christmas which includes Mary’s role of Motherhood.

  9. 10
    Okiche Stephen Sunday on December 25, 2020

    If Christ was born in such a dirty place, why am I so proud? This has been a food for thought ringing in my heart since this year’s December. This alone should beat down all our pride and ego. May Christ always be our

  10. 11
    LITA Chua on December 29, 2020

    I thought there was more than 6 holiday of obligation…. aside from SUNDAYS ‼️

  11. 12
    Olga on January 2, 2021

    Dear Fathers and Brothers,

    Thank you for sharing your stories!

    It brought to mind my own Christmas story and the manger during a very bad storm in my life.

    While gazing at Jesus , Mary and Joseph in a dirty manger. The King of Kings and Queen of Heaven and earth in this smelly dirty manger. was beyond my understanding. Thinking of the dirtiness of my own heart due to sin and how Jesus descends into it daily when I receive Him in the Eucharist filled me with a deep desire to clean it up!

    Thus, I asked St. Joseph help me to clean up my dirty, smelly manger for Jesus and Mary for Christmas that year and have asked him and our Blessed Mother every day since, to help me with the clean up to receive Jesus.

    It is a daily comfort to know Mother Mary and father, Joseph are there as Jesus Humbly lays in my own heart when I receive Him. May Jesus be praised now and forever!!!

  12. 13
    anonymous on February 8, 2021


  13. 14
    Francis Nkpe on February 20, 2021

    Thanks a lot for the update on my catholic faith. God bless you in all in Jesus mighty name name.

  14. 15
    Christopher Walters on March 20, 2021

    I can’t download your Holy Days of Obligation calendar to my iPhone. I went to your resource for help In downloading the calendar, but it didn’t help.

    Is your calendar still available to download?

    Thank you & God Bless!
    Chris Walters

  15. 16
    John on March 25, 2021

    What? Easter Sunday is not a Holy Day of Obligation? I am shocked.

    1. 17
      Boyd on April 30, 2021

      Easter Sunday is a Sunday and every Sunday, is an Obligation. So yes, it is a day of Obligation.

    2. 18
      Alan Polczynski on May 6, 2021

      Easter Sunday ALWAYS occurs on a Sunday. All Sunday’s ARE days of Obligation to attend Mass! Just put these 2 together – and there you have it. In addition, the Very FIRST paragraph at the top explains all of this.

      “Catholic holy days of obligation are the days on which we’re expected to go to Mass. This list includes every single Sunday, along with a few additional days. Some feasts, such as Easter, are always celebrated on a Sunday, so they are always obligatory.”

    3. 19
      Cheryl Ann on May 7, 2021

      I believe the list was written in a way that the bulleted days were non-Sunday holy days of obligation. Obvi, all Sundays are holy days on which a Catholic is expected to attend church. Thx

    4. 20
      Terry W on May 11, 2021

      That’s because Easter always falls on Sunday which is already a day of obligation as are all Sundays 🙂

  16. 21
    L. Rosales on March 26, 2021

    Thank you this is very useful for me. Love that you have a google calendar 👍🏼
    God bless. 🙏🏼

  17. 22
    Judy Tafoya on May 14, 2021

    Christ Presence IS in Constancy Within us; Living With Our Lord and Lady… Forever, Under the Shadow of His Wing, we remain in Communion With our Ecce Homo, Alive…
    We ARE Living the Sanctifying Wedding Feast of the Lamb; yes we do, in Everlasting Grace and Bliss!
    Our Holy Spirit, Jesus and His Holy Mother; Spouse of Spirit, One Holy Divine; Remain Ever Stoked Living Communion IN us!

  18. 23
    Justin on July 1, 2021

    This article forgets that Corpus Christi is also transferred from Thursday to Sunday after Trinity Sunday in the United States.

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