What is Mass?

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What is the Sunday Obligation?

The Sunday obligation is a precept of the Catholic Church that requires the faithful to attend Mass on Sundays and certain Holy Days of Obligation. This obligation is rooted in the Third Commandment, “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day,” and Canon Law. It serves to fulfill the spiritual need for communal worship, to receive the Eucharist, and to hear the Word of God. Failing to meet this obligation without a grave reason, such as illness or extreme hardship, is considered a mortal sin that necessitates confession for absolution.

What are Holy Days of Obligation?

Holy Days of Obligation are the most important feasts of the Liturgical Year besides Sunday, because of their centrality to our Catholic faith.

Why Must I Adhere to Holy Obligation?

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.” – CCC 2177

This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful “not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another.” – CCC 2178

The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.” “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”- CCC 2180 

Learn More

Answers to more Obligation FAQs can be found here.