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Liturgical Year

Responding to our Lord’s call to come together in the Church’s liturgical celebrations, we take part in Christ’s Paschal Mystery by which we, as members of Christ’s Body, are sanctified and give glory to God. Therefore, “the Paschal Mystery’s celebration is of supreme importance in Christian worship… and its meaning is unfolded over the course of days, of weeks, and of the whole year” (Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Letter given Motu Proprio “Paschal Mystery”). 

Liturgical Calendars

In order to unfold fruitfully the meaning of the Paschal Mystery, the Roman Church orders the celebration of the liturgical year according to the General Roman Calendar. This calendar includes the entire cycle of celebrations of the mystery of salvation and celebrations of Saints who have universal significance. 

In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Diocese of Arlington provide Proper Calendars that contain celebrations, especially those in honor of local Saints, that are important for our spiritual lives in the United States and in the Diocese of Arlington.

General Roman Calendar including the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America

Holy Days of Obligation

Because of their special importance for unfolding the Paschal Mystery, certain days of the Liturgical Year are prescribed as Holy Days of Obligation. On these days, Roman Catholics are obligated to attend Mass. For Dioceses of the United States of America, the following are Holy Days of Obligation:

  •  Sundays
  •  January 1, Mary, the Holy Mother of God*
  •  Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
  •  The Ascension of the Lord**
  •  August 15, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary*
  •  November 1, Solemnity of All Saints*
  •  December 8, The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  •  December 25, The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

* In the United States of America, when the solemnities of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (January 1), the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15), or All Saints (November 1) falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the obligation to participate in Mass does not apply.

** In the Diocese of Arlington, the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated on the Sunday following the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter (that is, the Ascension is celebrated in place of the Seventh Sunday of Easter).