Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

Catholic Defined

on November 3, 2011

The catholic meaning of solemnity, feast, memorial and obligation

I have found that although there are a lot of Catholic terms that frustrate my understanding, the jargon adds beauty to the faith.  Here are some definitions of key terms that are likely to show up in this month’s posts.

Low Mass.

Solemnity Memorial

A solemnity is the highest rank of celebration and is identified in the calendar with an [capital] S. Easter, Christmas, All Saints Day, the Ascension, Corpus Christi, and other celebrations of events in our Lord’s life on earth and certain saints are solemnities. Solemnities are like Sundays, though most of them are not days of obligation.  Reference.

Feast Day

Feasts are the next rank down and are identified with an [capital] F. They consist of the celebration of certain saints like the feast of the Archangels or most of the Apostles.  Reference.

Memorial Days

Memorials are the lowest rank and are simply the celebrations of most of the saints.  Obligatory memorials, identified with a capital M, must be observed. Optional memorials, identified with an [lowercase] m, may be observed but such observation is not required.  Reference.

Days of Obligation

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor.  Reference.

Let me know if you have any questions!  🙂


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