Obligation, Feasts of
Obligation, Feasts of a name in the Romish Church of holy days on which work is suspended. In 1362 forty-one were cited, including Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, Ascension, Pentecost, and Easter (each with the following three days), Good Friday, St. Stephen, John the Evangelist, Holy Innocents, Purification, Annunciation, St. Mark. St. Philip and St. James, John the Baptist, St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Jafnes, St. Bartholomew, St. Matthew, St. Michael. St. Luke, St. Simeon and St. Jude, All Saints, St. Andrew, St. Thomas the Apostle, Invention of Holy Cross, St. Thomas the Martyr, Corpus Christi, Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr, St. Mary Magdalen, Assumption, St. Lawrence, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, Exaltation of the Holy Cross, St. Nicholas, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the dedication of the church, the .patron saint of the church, and feasts ordained by the ordinary. In Worcester diocese the labor of the plow only was allowed on seven saints' days, and women's work was forbidden on the feasts of St. Agnes, St. Lucy, St. Margaret, and St. Agatha.
In the United States of America the "holy days of obligation," though they hold a very prominent place in the estimation and practice of Roman Catholics, have been reduced to the following: The Circumcision of our Lord (January 1), The Epiphany (January 6), The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (March 25), The Ascension of our Lord (see above), Corpus Christi, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15), All Saints (November 1), Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8), Nativity of our Lord, or Christmas (December 25). (Sundays, and the feasts which fall on them, are not included in this enumeration.) In some Western dioceses the Circumcision, Epiphany, Annunciation, and Corpus Christi are not even regarded as holy days of obligation. See Barnum, Romanism as it is, ch. xvi; Walcott, Sacred Archaeology (Lond. 1868), p. 407.