The Liturgy Files: Is January 1, 2008, a holy day of obligation?
Part of my job is to answer email. Some of these emails are simple Q&A. In these Liturgy Files, I'll share some of the most helpful Q&As.
Q: Is January 1, 2008, a holy day of obligation? Has our Bishop dispensed the obligation to participate in Mass?
A: January 1 is the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and is one of the holy days of obligation observed in the United States. (Click here for the entire list of holy days of obligation for the US.) By law, all Catholics are obligated to participate in Mass on these days. However, the Bishop of each diocese, whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual good, may dispense the faithful of his diocese from the obligation to participate in Mass for a particular holy day.
Bishop McGrath has dispensed the Diocese of San José from the obligation to participate in Mass on January 1, 2008. This dispensation, however, does not remove the rank of solemnity from the day, and the faithful are still encouraged to participate in Mass if they are able or to observe the holy day in other forms of prayer or pious works.
Parishes are expected to provide at least one Mass in observance of the holy day, either at an anticipated Mass on the evening of December 31, 2007, or during the day on January 1, 2008.