Holy Days of Obligation

Catholic Church Days of Obligation

In the Catholic Church, Holy Days of Obligation are the days on which the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. They have also abstain from unnecessary works, "which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body." (Canon 1247 of the Code of Canon Law).

The list of Days of Obligation includes all Sundays in all countries. Some feasts, e.g. Easter, are always celebrated on Sundays, so they are always obligatory. The number of additional Days of Obligation varies between countries, from 1 in Hong-Kong to 10 in Vatican.

Holy Days of Obligation in the 2026 Year

All the Days of Obligation observed in the United States are listed below.

Date Holiday name Is obligatory in 2026? Time left
All Sundays are obligatory for the faithful to participate in the Mass
Thursday, January 1, 2026 Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Yes ~ 100 months & 2 weeks (3056 days)
Thursday, May 14, 2026 Ascension of Jesus Yes ~ 104 months & 3 weeks (3189 days)
Saturday, August 15, 2026 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary No ~ 107 months & 3 weeks (3282 days)
Sunday, November 1, 2026 All Saints' Day Yes ~ 110 months & 2 weeks (3360 days)
Tuesday, December 8, 2026 Feast of the Immaculate Conception Yes ~ 111 months & 2 weeks (3397 days)
Friday, December 25, 2026 Christmas Yes ~ 112 months & 1 week (3414 days)

Using the links below, you can easily check the dates of Catholic Days of Obligation in the next 10 years.

2018  2019  2020  2021  2022  2023  2024  2025  2026  2027 

Notes

The number of Days of Obligation vary from year to year, because the percept to attend Mass is lifted (abrogated) if any of the following days:

  • 1 January (Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God),
  • 15 August (Feast of the Assumption),
  • 1 November (Solemnity of All Saints)

falls on a Saturday or on a Monday. The faithful, however, are encouraged to attend Mass on those days. This was decided by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of America on December 13, 1991 (Canon 1246) and is effective as of January 1, 1993.

Ascension is the Day of Obligation only in the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia; the others have transferred this celebration to the following Sunday (in which case it is also a day of obligation, as any other Sunday).

In Hawaii since 1992 the only observed Days of Holy Obligation (except Sundays) are Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas.

Special Dates of Prayer

Apart from days of obligation in the Catholic Church there are also often designated additional — Special Days of Prayer, in which the faithful pray for some important intentions chosen by the Church. In those days the faithful are usually not obliged to attend Mass, but they are asked to observe these days in their devotions or private prayer. For example in 2016 there are few Days of Prayer designated for the Archdiocese of San Francisco:

  • January 1 — Day of Prayer for World Peace (Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God),
  • February 14 — Day of Prayer for the General Needs of Humankind (First Sunday of Lent)
  • September 5 — Day of Prayer for Human Rights and Labor (Labor Day)
  • November 24 — Day of Prayer for the Fruits of the Earth (Thanksgiving Day)