GENERAL NORMS FOR THE LITURGICAL YEAR AND THE CALENDAR – 14
Chapter I: The Liturgical Year
1. Christ's saving work is celebrated in sacred memory by the Church
on fixed days throughout the year. Each week on the day called the
Lord's Day the Church commemorates the Lord's resurrection. Once a year
at Easter the Church honors this resurrection and passion with the
utmost solemnity. In fact through the yearly cycle the Church unfolds
the entire mystery of Christ and keeps the anniversaries of the saints.
During the different seasons of the liturgical year, the Church, in
accord with traditional discipline, carries out the formation of the
faithful by means of devotional practices, both interior and exterior,
instruction, and works of penance and mercy. 
2. The principles given here may and must be applied to both the
Roman Rite and all others; but the practical rules are to be taken as
pertaining solely to the Roman Rite, except in matters that of their
nature also affect the other rites. 
Chapter I-a. Liturgical Days
I. The Liturgical Day in General
3. Each day is made holy through the liturgical celebrations of the
people of God, especially through the eucharistic sacrifice and the
The liturgical day runs from midnight to midnight, but the observance
of Sunday and solemnities begins with the evening of the preceding day.
4. The Church celebrates the paschal mystery on the first day of the
week, known as the Lord's Day or Sunday. This follows a tradition handed
down from the apostles and having its origin from the day of Christ's
resurrection. Thus Sunday must be ranked as the first holyday of all.
5. Because of its special importance, the Sunday celebration gives
way only to solemnities or feasts of the Lord. The Sundays of the
seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter, however, take precedence over all
solemnities and feasts of the Lord. Solemnities occuring on these
Sundays are observed on the Saturdays preceding.
6. By its nature, Sunday excludes any other celebration's being
permanently assigned to that day, with these exceptions:
a. Sunday within the octave of Christmas is the feast of the Holy
b. Sunday following 6 January is the feast of the Baptism of the
c. Sunday after Pentecost is the solemnity of the Holy Trinity;
d. the last Sunday in Ordinary Time is the solemnity of Christ the
7. In those places where the solemnities of Epiphany, Ascension, and
Corpus Christi are not observed as holydays of obligation, they are
assigned to a Sunday, which is then considered their proper day in
a. Epiphany, to the Sunday falling between 2 January and 8 January;
b. Ascension, to the Seventh Sunday of Easter;
c. the solemnity of Corpus Christi, to the Sunday after Trinity
III. Solemnities, Feasts, and Memorials
8. As it celebrates the mystery of Christ in yearly cycle, the Church
also venerates with a particular love Mary, the Mother of God, and sets
before the devotion of the faithful the memory of the martyrs and other
9. The saints of universal significance have celebrations obligatory
throughout the entire Church. Other saints either are listed in the
General Calendar for optional celebration or are left to the veneration
of some particular Church, region, or religious family. 
10. According to their importance, celebrations are distinguished
from each other and named as follows: solemnities, feasts, memorials.
11. Solemnities are counted as the principal days in the calendar and
their observance begins with evening prayer I of the preceding day. Some
also have their own vigil Mass for use when Mass is celebrated in the
evening of the preceding day.
The celebration of Easter and Christmas, the two greatest
solemnities, continues for eight days, with each octave governed by its
13. Feasts are celebrated within the limits of the natural day and
accordingly do not have evening prayer I. Exceptions are feasts of the
Lord that fall on a Sunday in Ordinary Time and in the Christmas season
and that replace the Sunday office.
14. Memorials are either obligatory or optional. Their observance is
integrated into the celebration of the occurring weekday in accord with
the norms set forth in the General Instructions of the Roman Missal and
the Liturgy of the Hours.
Obligatory memorials occurring on Lenten weekdays may only be
celebrated as optional memorials.
Should more than one optional memorial fall on the same day, only one
may be celebrated; the others are omitted.
15. On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory
memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.
16. The days following Sundays are called weekdays. They are
celebrated in different ways according to the importance each one has.
a. Ash Wednesday and the days of Holy Week, from Monday to Thursday
inclusive, have precedence over all other celebrations.
b. The weekdays of Advent from 17 December to 24 December inclusive
and all the weekdays of Lent have precedence over obligatory
c. All other weekdays give way to solemnities and feasts and are
combined with memorials.
Chapter I-b. The Yearly Cycle
17. By means of the yearly cycle the Church celebrates the whole
mystery of Christ, from his incarnation until the day of Pentecost and
the expectation of his coming again. 
I. Easter Triduum
18. Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally
through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he
restored our life. Therefore the Easter triduum of the passion and
resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year.
 Thus the solemnity of Easter has the same kind of preeminence in the
liturgical year that Sunday has in the week. 
19. The Easter triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord's
Supper, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with
evening prayer on Easter Sunday.
20. On Good Friday  and, if possible, also on Holy Saturday until
the Easter Vigil,  the Easter fast is observed everywhere.
21. The Easter Vigil, during the holy night when Christ rose from the
dead, ranks as the "the mother of all vigils."  Keeping
watch, the Church awaits Christ's resurrection and celebrates it in the
sacraments. Accordingly, the entire celebration of this vigil should
take place at night, that is, should either begin after nightfall or end
before the dawn of Sunday.
II. Easter Season
22. The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in
joyful exultation as one feast day, or better as one "great
These above all others are the days for the singing of the Alleluia.
23. The Sundays of this season rank as the paschal Sundays and, after
Easter Sunday itself, are called the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth,
Sixth, and Seventh Sundays of Easter. The period of fifty sacred days
ends on Pentecost Sunday.
24. The first eight days of the Easter season make up the octave of
Easter and are celebrated as solemnities of the Lord.
25. On the fortieth day after Easter the Ascension is celebrated,
except in places where, not being a holyday of obligation, it has been
transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter (see no. 7).
26. The weekdays after the Ascension until the Saturday before
Pentecost inclusive are a preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
27. Lent is a preparation for the celebration of Easter. For the
Lenten liturgy disposes both catechumens and the faithful to celebrate
the paschal mystery: catechumens, through the several stages of
Christian initiation; the faithful, through reminders of their own
baptism and through penitential practices. 
28. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord's Supper
The Alleluia is not used from the beginning of Lent until the Easter
29. On Ash Wednesday, a universal day of fast,  ashes are
30. The Sundays of this season are called the First, Second, Third,
Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent. The Sixth Sunday, which marks the
beginning of Holy Week, is called Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday).
31. Holy Week has as its purpose the remembrance of Christ's passion,
beginning with his Messianic entrance into Jerusalem.
At the chrism Mass on Holy Thursday morning the bishop,
concelebrating Mass with his body of priests, blesses the oils and
consecrates the chrism.
IV. Christmas Season
32. Next to the yearly celebration of the paschal mystery, the Church
holds most sacred the memorial of Christ's birth and early
manifestations. This is the purpose of the Christmas season.
33. The Christmas season runs from evening prayer I of Christmas
until the Sunday after Epiphany or after 6 January, inclusive.
34. The Mass of the vigil of Christmas is used in the evening of 24
December, either before or after evening prayer I.
On Christmas itself, following an ancient tradition of Rome, three
Masses may be celebrated: namely, the Mass at Midnight, the Mass at
Dawn, and the Mass during the Day.
35. Christmas has its own octave, arranged as follows:
a. Sunday within the octave is the feast of the Holy Family;
b. 26 December is the feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr;
c. 27 December is the feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist;
d. 28 December is the feast of the Holy Innocents;
e. 29, 30, and 31 December are days within the octave;
f. 1 January, the octave day of Christmas, is the solemnity of
Mary, Mother of God. It also recalls the conferral of the holy Name of
36. The Sunday falling between 2 January and 5 January is the Second
Sunday after Christmas.
37. Epiphany is celebrated on 6 January, unless (where it is not
observed as a holyday of obligation) it has been assigned to the Sunday
occurring between 2 January and 8 January (see no. 7).
38. The Sunday falling after 6 January is the feast of the Baptism of
39. Advent has a twofold character: as a season to prepare for
Christmas when Christ's first coming to us is remembered; as a season
when that remembrance directs the mind and heart to await Christ's
Second Coming at the end of time. Advent is thus a period for devout and
40. Advent begins with evening prayer I of the Sunday falling on or
closest to 30 November and ends before evening prayer I of Christmas.
41. The Sundays of this season are named the First, Second, Third,
and Fourth Sundays of Advent.
The weekdays from 17 December to 24 December inclusive serve to
prepare more directly for the Lord's birth.
VI. Ordinary Time
43. Apart from those seasons having their own distinctive character,
thirty-three or thirty-four weeks remain in the yearly cycle that do not
celebrate a specific aspect of the mystery of Christ. Rather, especially
on the Sundays, they are devoted to the mystery of Christ in all its
aspects. This period is known as Ordinary Time.
44. Ordinary Time begins on Monday after the Sunday following 6
January and continues until Tuesday before Ash Wednesday inclusive. It
begins again on Monday after Pentecost and ends before evening prayer I
of the First Sunday of Advent.
This is also the reason for the series of liturgical texts found in
both the Roman Missal and The Liturgy of the Hours (Vol. III-IV), for
Sundays and weekdays in this season.
VII. Rogation and Ember Days
45. On rogation and ember days the practice of the Church is to offer
prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the
productivity of the earth and for human labor, and to give him public
46. In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions
and the different needs of the people, the conferences of bishops should
arrange the time and plan for their celebration.
Consequently, the competent authority should lay down norms, in view
of local conditions, on extending such celebrations over one or several
days and on repeating them during the year.
47. On each day of these celebrations the Mass should be one of the
votive Masses for various needs and occassions that is best suited for
the intentions of the petitioners.
Chapter II: The Calendar
Chapter II-a. Calendar and Celebrations to be Entered
48. The arrangement for celebrating the liturgical year is governed
by the calendar: the General Calendar, for use in the entire Roman Rite,
or a particular calendar, for use in a particular Church or in families
49. In the General Calendar the entire cycle of celebrations is
entered: celebrations of the mystery of salvation as found in the Proper
of the Seasons, of those saints having universal significance who must
therefore be celebrated by everyone or of saints who show the
universality and continuity of holiness within the people of God.
Particular calendars have more specialized celebrations, arranged to
harmonize with the general cycle.  The individual Churches or
families of religious should show a special honor to those saints who
are properly their own.
Particular calendars, drawn up by the competent authority, must be
approved by the Apostolic See.
50. The drawing up of a particular calendar is to be guided by the
a. The Proper of Seasons (that is, the cycle of seasons,
solemnities, and feasts that unfold and honor the mystery of
redemption during the liturgical year) must be kept intact and retain
its rightful preeminence over particular celebrations.
b. Particular celebrations must be coordinated harmoniously with
the universal celebrations, with care for the Liturgical Days. Lest
particular calendars be enlarged disproportionately, individual saints
may have only one feast in the liturgical year. For persuasive
pastoral reasons there may be another celebration in the form of an
optional memorial marking the transfer or discovery of the bodies of
patrons or founders of Churches or of families of religious.
c. Feasts granted by indult may not duplicate other celebrations
already contained in the cycle of the mystery of salvation, nor may
they be multiplied out of proportion.
51. Although it is reasonable for each diocese to have its own
calendar and propers for the Mass and office, there is no reason why
entire provinces, regions, countries, or even larger areas may not have
common calendars and propers, prepared with the cooperation of all the
This principle may also be followed in the case of the calendars for
several provinces of religious within the same civil territory.
52. A particular calendar is prepared by inserting in the General
Calendar special solemnities, feasts, and memorials proper to that
a. in a diocesan calendar, in addition to celebrations of its
patrons and the dedication of the cathedral, the saints and the
blessed who bear some special connection with that diocese, for
example, as their birthplace, residence over a long period, or place
b. in the calendar of religious, besides celebrations of their
title, founder, or patron, those saints and blesseds who were members
of that religious family or had some special relationship with it.
c. in a calendar for individual churches, celebrations proper to a
diocese or religious community, those celebrations that are proper to
that church and are listed in the Table of Liturgical Days and also
the saints who are buried in that church. Members of religious
communities should join with the community of the local Church in
celebrating the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral and the
principle patrons of the place and of the larger region where they
53. When a diocese or religious family has the distinction of having
many saints and blessed, care must be taken not to overload the calendar
of the entire diocese or institute. Consequently:
a. The first measure that can be taken is to have a common feast of
all the saints and the blessed of a given diocese or religious family
or of some category.
b. Only the saints and blessed of particular significance for an
entire diocese or religious family may be entered in the calendar with
an individual celebration.
c. The other saints or blessed are to be celebrated only in those
places with which they have closer ties or where their bodies are
54. Proper celebrations should be entered in the calendar as
obligatory or optional memorials, unless other provisions have been made
for them in the Table of Liturgical Days or there are special historical
or pastoral reasons. But there is no reason why some celebrations may
not be observed with greater solemnity in some places than in the rest
of the diocese or religious community.
55. Celebrations entered in a particular calendar must be observed by
all who are bound to follow that calendar. Only with the approval of the
Apostolic See may celebrations be removed from a calendar or changed in
Chapter II-b. The Proper Date for Celebrations
56. The Church's practice has been to celebrate the saints on the
date of their death ("birthday"), a practice it would be well
to follow when entering proper celebrations in particular calendars.
Even though proper celebrations have special importance for
individual local Churches or religious families, it is of great
advantage that there be as much unity as possible in the observance of
solemnities, feasts, and obligatory memorials listed in the General
In entering proper celebrations in a particular calendar, therefore,
the following are to be observed:
a. Celebrations listed in the General Calendar are to be entered on
the same date in a particular calendar, with a change in rank of
celebration if necessary.
This also applies to diocesan or religious calendars when
celebrations proper to an individual church alone are added.
b. Celebrations for saints not included in the General Calendar
should be assigned to the date of their death. If the date of death is
not known, the celebrations should be assigned to a date associated
with the saint on some other grounds, such as the date of ordination
or of the discovery or transfer of the saint's body; otherwise it is
celebrated on a date unimpeded by other celebrations in that
c. If the date of death or other appropriate date is impeded in the
General Calendar or in a particular calendar by another obligatory
celebration, even of lower rank, the celebrations should be assigned
to the closest date not so impeded.
d. If, however, it is a question of celebrations that cannot be
transferred to another date because of pastoral reasons, the impeding
celebration should itself be transferred.
e. Other celebrations, called feasts granted by indult, should be
entered on a date more pastorally appropriate.
f. The cycle of the liturgical year should stand out with its full
preeminence, but at the same time the celebration of the saints should
not be permanently impeded. Therefore, dates that most of the time
fall during Lent and the octave of Easter, as well as the weekdays
between 17 December and 31 December, should remain free of any
particular celebration, unless it is a question of optional memorials,
feasts found in the Table of Liturgical Days under no. 8 a, b, c, d,
or solemnities that cannot be transferred to another season.
The solemnity of Saint Joseph (19 March), except where it is
observed as a holyday of obligation, may be transferred by the
conferences of bishops to another day outside Lent.
57. If some saints or blessed are listed in the calendar on the same
date, they are always celebrated together whenever they are of equal
rank, even though one or more of them may be more proper to that
calendar. If one or other of these saints or blessed is to be celebrated
with a higher rank, that office alone is observed and the others are
omitted, unless it is appropriate to assign them to another date in the
form of an obligatory memorial.
58. For the pastoral advantage of the people, it is permissible to
observe on the Sundays in Ordinary Time those celebrations that fall
during the week and have special appeal to the devotion of the faithful,
provided the celebrations take precedence over these Sundays in the
Table of Liturgical Days. The Mass for such celebrations may be used at
all the Masses at which a congregation is present.
59. Precedence among liturgical days relative to the celebration is
governed solely by the following table.
60. If several celebrations fall on the same day, the one that holds
the highest rank according to the preceding Table of Liturgical Days is
observed. But a solemnity impeded by a liturgical day that takes
precedence over it should be transferred to the closest day not listed
in nos. 1-8 in the table of precedence; the rule of no. 5 remains in
effect. Other celebrations are omitted that year.
61. If the same day were to call for celebration of evening prayer of
that day's office and evening prayer I of the following day, evening
prayer of the day with the higher rank in the Table of Liturgical Days
takes precedence; in cases of equal rank, evening prayer of the actual
day takes precedence.
Table of Liturgical Days
1. Easter triduum of the Lord's passion and resurrection.
2. Christmas, Epiphany, Ascension, and Pentecost. Sundays of Advent,
Lent, and the Easter season. Ash Wednesday. Weekdays of Holy Week from
Monday to Thursday inclusive. Days within the octave of Easter.
3. Solemnities of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and saints
listed in the General Calendar. All Souls.
4. Proper Solemnities, namely:
a. Solemnity of the principal patron of the place, that is, the
city or state.
b. Solemnity of the dedication of a particular church and the
c. Solemnity of the title, or of the founder, or of the principal
patron of a religious order or congregation.
5. Feasts of the Lord in the General Calendar.
6. Sundays of the Christmas season and Sundays in Ordinary Time.
7. Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints in the General
8. Proper feasts, namely:
a. Feast of the principal patron of the diocese.
b. Feast of the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral.
c. Feast of the principal patron of a region or province, or a
country, or of a wider territory.
d. Feast of the title, founder, or principle patron of an order or
congregation and of a religious province, without prejudice to the
directives in no. 4.
e. Other feasts proper to an individual church.
f. Other feasts listed in the calendar of a diocese or of a
religious order or congregation.
9. Weekdays of Advent from 17 December to 24 December inclusive. Days
within the octave of Christmas. Weekdays of Lent.
10. Obligatory memorials in the General Calendar.
11. Proper obligatory memorials, namely:
a. Memorial of a secondary patron of the place, diocese, region, or
province, country or wider territory, or of an order or congregation
and of a religious province.
b. Obligatory memorials listed in the calendar of a diocese, or of
an order or congregation.
12. Optional memorials; but these may be celebrated even on the days
listed in no. 9, in the special manner described by the General
Instruction of the Roman Missal and of the Liturgy of the Hours. In the
same manner obligatory memorials may be celebrated as optional memorials
if they happen to fall on the Lenten weekdays.
13. Weekdays of Advent up to 16 December inclusive. Weekdays of the
Christmas season from 2 January until the Saturday after Epiphany.
Weekdays of the Easter season from Monday after the octave of Easter
until the Saturday before Pentecost inclusive. Weekdays in Ordinary
1.See Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum
Concilium (= SC), art. 102-105.
2.See ibid., art. 5.
3.See ibid., art. 106.
4.See ibid., art. 103-104.
5.See ibid., art. 111.
6.See SC, art. 102.
7.See ibid., art. 5.
8.See ibid., art. 106.
9.See Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini, Feb. 17,
1966, II §3.
10.See SC, art. 110.
11.Augustine, Sermo 219: PL 38, 1088.
12.Athanasius, Epist. fest. 1: PG 26, 1366.
13.See SC, art. 109.
14.See Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini, II §3.
15.See Congregation for Divine Worship, instruction Calendaria
particularia, June 24, 1970.