Do Catholics need to go to Mass on August 15?
A precept of the Church explains, “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.” One of the chief reasons behind these holy days is to highlight a specific aspect of the life of Christ or to give honor to the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the communion of saints.
These days are for the spiritual benefit of Christ’s flock and are opportunities to receive grace.
Currently holy days of obligations are set by local bishops’ conferences. This means that holy days can vary according to each country and even by the local region. However, the universal Code of Canon Law does list a number of holy days that typically span all countries of the world.
One holy day that is universally accepted by the Roman Catholic Church is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is always celebrated on August 15.
This feast day remembers the reality, solemnly defined by Pope Pius XII, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
It is a reminder of the final resurrection and shows the tender care Jesus had for his mother, not allowing her mortal body to suffer corruption.
Since it is a holy day of obligation, Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on August 15, or a vigil Mass that is held on August 14.
One of the best places to find local Mass times online is aptly named “MassTimes.org.” There you can find links to parish websites and bulletins, as well as times for Masses on holy days of obligation. Schedules may change without notice, so if you’re planning to attend Mass in an unfamiliar parish, it’s good to call ahead and confirm the times.
It is not so much an “obligation,” but an invitation to deepen our faith in God and celebrate the life of the Virgin Mary.
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