Certain days are set aside each year by the Roman Catholic Church in order

to impress upon people's minds great truths of religion. The more important

feasts are Holydays of Obligation (on which a Roman Catholic must go to

Mass), of which there are six: Christmas, Circumcision (Jan. 1), Ascension

Day, Assumption (Aug. 15), All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and Immaculate

Conception (Dec. 8) There are others are observed by the universal Church

but not in the U.S.: Epiphany, Corpus Christi, St. Joseph and Sts. Peter

and Paul.

Other feasts include Easter, Pentecost, Purification of our Blessed

Lady, Annunciation, Trinity Sunday, Sacred Heart, All Souls Day, Nativity

of St. John the Baptist.

There are many feasts of Mary; in the 12th century only four were

universally observed. At present, the number has increased to about 20.

There is a very involved system of attaching comparative liturgical rank

to each feast. In ascending order of importance, they are: simple, semi-

double, greater double, double of the second class, double of the first


Some great feasts have octaves, which extend the solemnity for 8 days.

In 1928, Pius XI raised the feast of the Sacred Heart to a first class

feast with a third class octave.

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