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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)
• Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven (the sixth Thursday after Easter, or the seventh Sunday after Easter, depending on the diocese)
• Assumption of Mary into Heaven (August 15)
• All Saints (November 1)
• Immaculate Conception of Mary (December 8)
• Christmas (December 25)


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:

Mary, Mother of God

• Pentecost

• Assumption of Mary into Heaven

• Epiphany

• Trinity Sunday

All Saints

• St. Joseph

• Corpus Christi

• Christ the King

• Annunciation

• Sacred Heart of Jesus

Immaculate Conception of Mary

• Easter (and the 7 days after it)

• Nativity of St. John the Baptist



• Sts. Peter and Paul

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.
Green, the color of life, is the color of Ordinary Time, which is all time outside of Lent, Advent, the Easter Season and the Christmas Season.
Violet is the color of the seasons of penance: Advent and Lent.
Red, the color of blood and fire, is the color worn for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Pentecost, and the liturgies of the martyrs.
Black, signifying mourning and sorrow, is sometimes worn for funeral liturgies and All Souls Day.