Holy Day of Obligation on August 15

Holy Day of Obligation: Assumption of Mary

August 15, the Assumption of Mary, is a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses in English will be at 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on August 15. A Vigil Mass in Spanish will be on August 14 at 5:30 p.m.

What is a Holy Day of Obligation?

All Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. “Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs 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” (Code of Canon Law, c. 1247, in Code of Canon Law, at The Holy See, www.vatican.va).

Which Days Are Holy Days of Obligation?

Following the requirements in canon 1246 of the Code of Canon Law, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has determined that Latin Rite Catholics in the United States must observe the following Holy Days of Obligation:

  • January 1: the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  • Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter [transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter]: the solemnity of the Ascension
  • August 15: the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • November 1: the solemnity of All Saints
  • December 8: the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
  • December 25: the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Note, however, that “whenever January 1…or August 15…or November 1…falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated” (“Canon 1246, §2—Holy Days of Obligation,” at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, www.usccb.org).

With the permission of the USCCB, the Diocese of Cheyenne and many other dioceses in the United States have transferred the celebration of the solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

What if Participating in Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation  Is Impossible?

“If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families” (CIC, c. 1248, §2).