Holydays of Obligation
What saith the Scripture?

© Copyright 1999, by Diane Dew.  Order the book



"The fourth precept ('You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation.') completes the Sunday observance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin MARY, and the saints. [Cf. CIC, can. 1246; CCEO, cann. 881 # 1, # 4; 880 # 3.]
The fifth precept ('You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.') ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart. [Cf. CIC, cann. 1249-1251; CCEO, can. 882.]
The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities. [Cf. CIC, can. 222.]" Catechim of the Catholic Church, para 2043

"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.' [CIC, can. 1246 # 1.]
'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 Christ,
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.' ..."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 2177

Scripture does not require the observation of "holy days of obligation." In fact, the Bible specifically states not to mandate such days, as we are each to determine for ourselves which days to observe.

Galatians 4:9-11 "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."

Romans 14:5, 6 "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth [it] unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard [it]. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."

Colossians 2:16, 17 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ."

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