By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

Christmas Day, Dec. 25, falls on a Saturday this year.

Catholics fulfill the holy day of obligation for Christmas, the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, at Christmas Eve vigil Masses (no earlier than 4 p.m.) and at any Masses celebrated on Christmas Day.

Christmas is a holy day of obligation regardless of the day of the week it falls. As a result, Catholics are obligated to attend Mass for Christmas, either at a Christmas Eve vigil Mass or Christmas Day Mass, and on Sunday, Dec. 26, the feast of the Holy Family, which will be celebrated solely on Sunday this year. {{more}}

Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is a holy day of obligation in the United States. In 2011, the solemnity falls on a Saturday. In the United States, when Jan. 1 falls on a Saturday or a Monday, the obligation is suspended.

However, the Church observes these solemnities with Masses for the faithful even when there is no obligation.

The vigil Masses on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, and Sunday Masses on Jan. 2 celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.

Sunday, the Lord’s Day, holds as always for Catholics the obligation to attend Mass.

For more information, consult your pastor or church bulletin, or Father G. Dennis Gill, director of the archdiocesan Office for Worship, at 215-587-3537.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or