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.
While Bishops lifted the dispensations from the obligation to attend Mass that were in place for much of the Coronavirus pandemic, your Sunday and holy day obligation can be dispensed for a just cause. This may include physical illness or having an inability to go to Mass, such as being the only caregiver for someone who is homebound. Catholics are encouraged to use their prudential judgment and guidance from their priests in determining such a dispensation.
You are always welcome to join the Oblates of the Virgin Mary community online at daily and Sunday virtual Masses.
US Catholic Holy Days of Obligation for 2024
This leaves us with six holy days of obligation outside of Sundays. The following feast days are holy days of obligation in the U.S. for 2024:
- Solemnity of Mary: Monday, January 1*
- Ascension of Jesus: Thursday, May 9 — Celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter Sunday*
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Thursday, August 15
- Solemnity of All Saints: Friday, November 1
- Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Monday, December 9**
- Christmas: Wednesday, 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 Mary falls on a Monday, it may also be transferred to the closest Sunday. Check with your local diocese.
**The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is typically celebrated on December 8. When December 8 falls on a Sunday as it does in 2024, the feast day is celebrated instead on Monday, December 9, and there is no obligation to attend Mass on this day.
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 2024. 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.
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.
Celebrate Seminarians at the OMV Gala!
Join us for the OMV Gala on April 27, 2024! The joyful annual celebration honors and thanks Oblates of the Virgin Mary seminarians, brothers and priests who have dedicated their lives to service.Join Us
There are a few exceptions to those obligations. If the Solemnity of Mary, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 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 2024, this can be the case for the Solemnity of Mary.
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
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, Dcn. 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.