EXPLANATION OF TERMS
Holy Day of Obligation: A feast day of such importance that a person is obligated to attend Mass on that day, or on the evening before (the vigil Mass for the feast). To miss Mass on such a day, without serious cause, is a serious (mortal) sin, as is true for missing Mass on a Sunday. The holy days are so important because they celebrate truths that are doctrines of the Church. The six holy days of obligation in the U.S. are these:
• Mary, Mother of God (January 1)
Servant of God: The title given to a deceased person of the Roman Catholic Church whose life and works are being investigated for heroic virtue in consideration for official recognition by the Pope and the Roman Curia as a saint in heaven. A Servant of God is at the first step in the cannonization process.
Solemnity: A feast day of the highest rank in the Catholic Church, celebrating a mystery of faith such as the Trinity, or an event in the life of Jesus, his mother Mary, or another important saint. The observance begins with the vigil on the evening before the actual date of the feast. When a solemnity falls on a Sunday, the solemnity is celebrated. The solemnities in the Church year are these:
A solemnity is not the same thing as a holy day of obligation, but some solemnities are holy days of obligation. All of the holy days of obligation are solemnities and are printed in bold above.
Spiritual Bouquet: A gift of prayers. In giving a spiritual bouquet, one promises to pray specific prayers for another (e.g., 3 Rosaries, 2 Mass intentions, 1 Chaplet of Divine Mercy, etc.). Instead of giving a bouquet of flowers, one is giving a "bouquet" of prayers.
Vestment Colors: To emphasize the different seasons within the Church year, and to visually set an appropriate tone for the celebration of the Eucharist, different color vestments are worn. Their colors are called liturgical colors and are these:
• White, representing purity and rejoicing, is the color of the Christmas and Easter seasons, as well as feasts and solemnities, and liturgies celebrating virgins, doctors of the Church, priests and bishops, religious, and feasts of Our Lady.