Holy Days of Obligation are days when Catholics are bound to participate in the Mass.
Every Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation. Sunday is the Lord's Day, the day of Christ's resurrection, the first Christian feast day.
For Christians it is meant to be a day of joy and freedom, a day for relaxing and refreshing ourselves, free from business, free to worship God.
As well as Sundays the only other Holy days in New Zealand now are Christmas Day (25th December) and the Assumption of Mary (15th August).
If a Priest is not available, or if people can not attend Mass for some serious reason, it is recommended they take part in a celebration of God's Word or some other form of communal prayer, or at least spend time in personal prayer.
Easter is the high point of the Church's year.
The most important time is the three days we call the Easter (or Paschal) Triduum, from Holy Thursday night to Easter Sunday evening.
Sacraments like Reconciliation or Marriage are not scheduled on these days.
The sacred rites of the Triduum reach their climax with the Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday night when we celebrate the Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist of unbaptised adults and children.
Usually at Easter Sunday Mass and at other times in the Easter season we celebrate infant baptisms.
These celebrations joyfully remind us that we have been gifted with new life through Christ who rose from the dead.
Together we witness Christ alive among us.
Pentecost, the 50th day of Easter, brings the season to a close by sending us out empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring others to Christ.
Since the Eucharist is so important to our Christian life, Catholics are obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once a year.
The time for 'Easter Duty' lasts from Ash Wednesday to Trinity Sunday (Sunday after Pentecost).
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is regularly available for those conscious of serious sin preventing their receiving Holy Communion.
Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday to holy Thursday, is a penitential season of prayer, self-denial and helping others. It is also a time of preparation for Baptism.
The whole Church prepares for Easter with those who are to be baptised at the Easter Vigil. Preparation rites for these candidates occur regularly through Lent.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) also holds a special place in Lent.
It enables us to turn away from sin and celebrate Easter like new-born children of God.
Reconciliation is available each Saturday morning in the Reconciliation Chapel where penitents celebrate the Sacrament either face to face with the Priest or behind the screen.
About a week before Easter we celebrate reconciliation communally with a Liturgy of the Word followed by the opportunity for individual confessions to one of the Priests present.
Booklets explaining the different rites are available. For further information contact the Parish Office.
Church decorations and music are kept simple in liturgies celebrated during Lent, in keeping with the reflective spirit of the season.
DAYS OF PENANCE
The Gospel obliges us to do penance.
It gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives, express sorrow for sin and resolve to live a more fervent life.
The Church sets down certain days for penance when we may pray more, do works of piety, practice fasting or abstain from meat.
All Fridays are days of penance.
Suitable forms of Friday penance are:
to abstain from some foods, e.g. meat
to abstain from alcohol, smoking or some other enjoyment
to fast from food for an extended time
to donate savings from fasting to the needy at home or abroad
to help poor, sick, old or lonely people
to make a deeper commitment to prayer, e.g. at Mass, family prayer, Blessed Sacrament visits, Stations of the Cross
These are days when we do not eat between meals and our smaller meals combined amount to less than our main meal.
Catholics aged from 18 years to 59 years are obliged to observe Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as Fast Days.
DAYS OF ABSTINENCE
These are days when we do not eat meat.
Catholics aged 14 years and over are obliged to observe Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as Days of Abstinence.
The offering given to the Priest for the celebration of a Mass is a traditional practice in our Church.
It probably comes from the ancient custom of providing the bread and wine necessary for the celebration of Eucharist and bringing these to the Priest at the preparation of the gifts in the Mass, together with other gifts for the Priest and those in need.
A Mass offering is not required: Priests will celebrate a Mass at the request of the faithful even without a Mass offering.
Mass offering envelopes available from church foyer. Hand it to the priest, or to the Parish office, or in the dropbox at the office door if there is no-one in the office.