HOLY DAYS OF OBLIGATION – Press release given on 20 July 2006
Statement from the president of the Bishop’ Conference,
Cardinal Cormac-Murphy-O’Connor:

For some time the Bishops have been considering the celebration of Holy Days of Obligation in England & Wales. We have responded to requests from Diocesan Councils of Priests and many others, deeply concerned at the diminishing observance of these days. In order to foster the celebration of the rhythm of the liturgical year and to celebrate more profoundly the mysteries of the life and mission of the Lord, the Bishops have decided to transfer to Sunday those Holy Days of Obligation which are Solemnities of the Lord (other than Christmas Day). This means that the Epiphany, the Ascension of the Lord and Corpus Christi will now be celebrated on Sunday.

The Bishops commend this as an opportunity for Catholics to deepen, through catechesis and celebration, their faith and understanding of these mysteries of the life of Christ. The current practice is retained with regard to other Holy Days of Obligation. In other words, Christmas Day, the Apostles Peter and Paul, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and All Saints will continue to be celebrated as at present. With the exception of Christmas Day, the discipline in England and Wales is that when these days fall on a Saturday or Monday they are transferred to Sunday. The Bishops call on all Catholics to observe their celebration.

The Holy See approved these changes to the calendar on 13 July 2006 and they take effect on 3 December 2006, the First Sunday of Advent. Further details on the changes, including their implications for the liturgical years 2006-7 and 2007-8, can be found on:

www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Calendar/Holydays.html

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