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Is Ash Wednesday a Holy Day of Obligation?

Are Catholics Required to Attend Mass?

Ashes on forehead

No. Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.

That is the short answer, if you are wondering whether you have to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday under penalty of sin.

When people find out Ash Wednesday isn't an obligatory day, many Catholics are shocked. The reason is that many Catholics actually show up to Mass on that day who don't attend many other Masses.

In fact, it is probably one of the most well-attended Masses of the entire Church year. Just because you don't have to attend doesn't mean you shouldn't go. It is a great way to start the Lenten season.

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Updated 02-15-2017