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Types of Feast Days
– These are the most important days in the Church year. The Church tells the faithful that they must attend mass on these special days. Each Sunday is special as the day set aside each week to worship God. Holy Days of Obligation are commemorations which happen during the week which the Church has deemed so important that attendance at mass is mandatory. In the United States, there are six holy days of obligation.
– These are the most important days of the year. They often are commemorations of the most important events in Christ's life. There are several solemnities throughout the year, and some of these have been especially elevated to become Holy Days of Obligation. On solemnities, both the gloria and the creed are said at mass. These are days of great celebration in the life of the Church.
– These are commemorations less important than solemnities, but still of great joy and celebration. They are reserved for lesser events in the life of Christ and for very special saints, like the Apostles, Mary, St. John the Baptist or the angles. On feasts, only the gloria is recited at mass.
– These are the regular saint days. Throughout the year, the Church designates some saints who are to celebrated throughout the world. Memorials are the designation for the commemoration of these saints. Neither the gloria nor the creed is said at mass. Memorials are mandatory to celebrate at mass, so a saint designated with a memorial mass must be celebrated at any mass on that day.
– There are some saint days that are not as important, and the Church gives each priest the option to celebrate that saint or to forgo remembering that saint. These are often lesser-known saints or ones who only have a strong devotion in a particular place in the world.
– There are some days of the year in which there are no saint memorials, optional or not. On these days, the mass is just simply of whatever liturgical season it is.