Is All Saints Day a “day of obligation”?

Dear friend,

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

A few years ago, I wrote this in Facebook:

In Singapore, I learned that there were such things as days of obligation. I wanted to influence my family and invite them to attend Mass for All Saints Day today. My family didn’t know about days of obligation, except for Sundays.

In Bustos parish church, Sto. Niño, there’s only one mass every Undas (Nov.1). It’s 7:00am!!! So….I decided not to sleep last night! Bwahahaha!!! Around 4am plus, I accidentally fell asleep and woke up past seven. Sigh.

And then, I decided to Google for mass schedules of nearby parishes. There was none.

“If All Saints Day is a day of obligation, would the church really schedule just one mass,” I thought, “and at 7:00 in the morning?”

Later, I ended up Googling “Philippines Catholic Days of Obligation” and found this:

Philippine Holy Days of Obligation

September 8, 2011 by Iloilo Mass

The holy days of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church are feast days which the faithful are obliged to hear mass and abstain from servile work.

The following are dates and feast days that are holy days of obligation as indicated by the Code of Canon Law 1246.

The list of official Philippine holy days of obligation are indicated below the Code of Canon Law version which consists of only 3 days.

According to the Code of Canon Law:

The days may vary in specific countries. With prior approval from the Apostolic See, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or move them to a Sunday close to the original date. All Sundays of the year are holy days of obligation by apostolic tradition and must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation.

  • Feast of Holy Mary the Mother of God – January 1. The oldest and most important of Mary’s feasts based on her privileges as the Mother of Jesus Christ the son of God.
  • Epiphany – Sunday that falls between January 2 and January 8. Feast that commemorates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.
  • Feast of Saint Joseph – March 19. A feast day that celebrates the life of Christ’s foster father.
  • Ascension of Christ – 40 days after Easter Sunday. Feast day that celebrates Jesus Christ’s ascension from the dead when His apostles witnesses Jesus’ body ascending into Heaven.
  • Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ or Corpus Christi – Thursday after the Trinity Sunday or on the following Sunday depending on the country. Celebrates the Body of Christ consecrated in the Mass.
  • Feast of Saint Peter  and Paul –  June 29. The joint feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul is traditionally celebrated by the Catholic Church as Pope’s Day, in commemoration of the martyrdom at Rome, Italy of the principal pillars of the Church
  • Assumption of Mary – August 15. Celebrates Mary’s assumption into Heaven.
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception – December 8. The day Mary, the Mother of Christ was conceived without original sin.
  • All Saints – November 1. Celebrates the lives of Christians who died in a state of grace.
  • Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ – December 25. Christmas Day. Feast of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Official Holy Days of Obligation for the Philippines:

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has granted dispensation on all faithful who will not attend masses on days stated above with the exception of 3 days. Official holy days of obligation for the Philippines are:

  • December 8 – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • December 25 – Christmas Day
  • January 1 – the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God


A friend said, “Yes.. ‘double confirm.!’ …Here in SG its a Holy Day of Obligation. BTW, Notice that Ash Wed is NOT a day of Obligation in PH !! But churches are packed during this time.”

Even if it is not a day of obligation in our country, it is still beautiful and wonderful to go attend Holy Mass. It’s a public holiday anyway. Some more, it’s a 5-day long weekend for us this year.

The CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) outlines why (in case some may wonder the reason for such laws) the Church , Mother and Teacher ‘obligates’ the faithful to attend Mass on these dates. (see Section on Life in Christ CCC# 2043; 2177; 2180; 2185; 2187-8; 2192-3)

Kristine G. Veneracion

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