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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod.”
— Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431)

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Is It An Obligation?
published 8 December 2013 by Fr. David Friel

HE DATE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION this year is thoroughly confusing, even to Mass-going cradle Catholics. The transfer or omission of holydays that fall on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday is a mystery to most, and I am afraid I won’t be able to shed much explanatory light.

What I would like to do, however, is give an encouragement.

This year (in the Ordinary Form), the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is superceded by the Solemnity of the Second Sunday of Advent. As such, the holy day will be observed on Monday, December 9th. (In the Extraordinary Form, the Immaculate Conception remains a first class feast and is not supplanted by the Mass of Sunday; the orations for the Sunday, however, are commemorated.)

While Monday therefore will not be a holy day of obligation, it will still be a holyday. So my encouragement is this: although attendance at Mass is not obligatory, let’s make sure to celebrate Monday as the holyday that it is.

Tomorrow, if you are able to go to Mass, go. It doesn’t matter that it’s not required. If you are able to avoid work, do so. If you have an opportunity to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, take it. If you want to mark the day with your family, pray the rosary together or sing a hymn to the Blessed Mother after dinner.

These suggestions hold true also for holydays that are, in fact, holy days of obligation. It is quite possible to go to Mass on those days, but not really observe the “spirit” of the holyday.

On the patronal feast of our country, let’s not miss the opportunity to honor the Blessed Lady and renew our devotion to her. O Mary, conceived without sin: pray for us who have recourse to thee!