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You are here: Documents > The Liturgical Year > General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar  Back one page.

Table of Contents
Table of ContentsChapter II-b. The Yearly CycleEndnotes

Chapter II-a. Liturgical Days

I. The Liturgical Day in General

3. Each day is made holy through the liturgical celebrations of the people of God, especially through the eucharistic sacrifice and the divine office.

The liturgical day runs from midnight to midnight, but the observance of Sunday and solemnities begins with the evening of the preceding day.

II. Sunday

4. The Church celebrates the paschal mystery on the first day of the week, known as the Lord's Day or Sunday. This follows a tradition handed down from the apostles and having its origin from the day of Christ's resurrection. Thus Sunday must be ranked as the first holyday of all. [3]

5. Because of its special importance, the Sunday celebration gives way only to solemnities or feasts of the Lord. The Sundays of the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter, however, take precedence over all solemnities and feasts of the Lord. Solemnities occuring on these Sundays are observed on the Saturdays preceding.

6. By its nature, Sunday excludes any other celebration's being permanently assigned to that day, with these exceptions:

a. Sunday within the octave of Christmas is the feast of the Holy Family;

b. Sunday following 6 January is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord;

c. Sunday after Pentecost is the solemnity of the Holy Trinity;

d. the last Sunday in Ordinary Time is the solemnity of Christ the King.

7. In those places where the solemnities of Epiphany, Ascension, and Corpus Christi are not observed as holydays of obligation, they are assigned to a Sunday, which is then considered their proper day in calendar. Thus:

a. Epiphany, to the Sunday falling between 2 January and 8 January;

b. Ascension, to the Seventh Sunday of Easter;

c. the solemnity of Corpus Christi, to the Sunday after Trinity Sunday.

III. Solemnities, Feasts, and Memorials

8. As it celebrates the mystery of Christ in yearly cycle, the Church also venerates with a particular love Mary, the Mother of God, and sets before the devotion of the faithful the memory of the martyrs and other saints. [4]

9. The saints of universal significance have celebrations obligatory throughout the entire Church. Other saints either are listed in the General Calendar for optional celebration or are left to the veneration of some particular Church, region, or religious family. [5]

10. According to their importance, celebrations are distinguished from each other and named as follows: solemnities, feasts, memorials.

11. Solemnities are counted as the principal days in the calendar and their observance begins with evening prayer I of the preceding day. Some also have their own vigil Mass for use when Mass is celebrated in the evening of the preceding day.

The celebration of Easter and Christmas, the two greatest solemnities, continues for eight days, with each octave governed by its own rules.

13. Feasts are celebrated within the limits of the natural day and accordingly do not have evening prayer I. Exceptions are feasts of the Lord that fall on a Sunday in Ordinary Time and in the Christmas season and that replace the Sunday office.

14. Memorials are either obligatory or optional. Their observance is integrated into the celebration of the occurring weekday in accord with the norms set forth in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal and the Liturgy of the Hours.

Obligatory memorials occurring on Lenten weekdays may only be celebrated as optional memorials.

Should more than one optional memorial fall on the same day, only one may be celebrated; the others are omitted.

15. On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.

IV. Weekdays

16. The days following Sundays are called weekdays. They are celebrated in different ways according to the importance each one has.

a. Ash Wednesday and the days of Holy Week, from Monday to Thursday inclusive, have precedence over all other celebrations.

b. The weekdays of Advent from 17 December to 24 December inclusive and all the weekdays of Lent have precedence over obligatory memorials.

c. All other weekdays give way to solemnities and feasts and are combined with memorials.

Table of ContentsChapter II-b. The Yearly CycleEndnotes

You are here: Documents > The Liturgical Year > General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar  Back one page.

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The Catholic Liturgical Library
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You are here: Documents > The Liturgical Year > General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar  Back one page.

Home | New | FAQ | Search | Forum | Links


All contents © copyright, 1998-2014
The Catholic Liturgical Library
http://www.catholicliturgy.com