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2020 Liturgical Calendar: specifics

Issued annually by the Worship Office of the Diocese of Buffalo, New York.

For a printable PDF copy of the 2020 calendar specifics, please go here.


Pope Francis' call that the Family be the Domestic Church suggests inserts from the USCCB Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, henceforth CHBP, 2007 for your consideration.


The First Sunday of Advent December 1, 2019

to the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday, November 22, 2020.


The following reminders will assist you in planning your 2017 - 2018 liturgical calendar for your parish or congregation.

Gospel Book/Lectionary
Weekdays: Cycle II (even number year)


Following the 1991 decision of the USCCB and with the 1992 confirmation of the Congregation for Bishops, when the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, or the Solemnity of the Assumption, or the Solemnity of All Saints falls on a Saturday or a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.

According to this decision:

  • The Christmas and the Ascension are holy days of obligation.
  • Furthermore, the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York (Diocese of Buffalo), Newark, Philadelphia and Nebraska have retained the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord on the proper Thursday, May 21, 2020 (Thursday, May 13, 2021).
  • The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, Sunday, the Octave of the Nativity, Wednesday, January 1, 2020 (Friday, January 1, 2021) is a holy day of obligation.
  • The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saturday, August 15, 2020) is not a holy day of obligation.



Funeral Masses are not permitted on Solemnities, which are Holy Days of Obligation, from Holy Thursday morning and through the days of the Easter Triduum.  On these days, the body of the deceased may be brought to the church and the Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated.

Funeral Masses are permitted on Holy Days only when the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.

  • A Funeral Mass is not permitted on Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Solemnity of the Ascension, and the Solemnity of All Saints since the obligation to attend Mass remains in force.
  • A Funeral Mass is not permitted on the Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter (GIRM 2011, 380).
  • Furthermore,


Every effort should be made to schedule communal celebrations of the sacrament of Penance during the season of Advent.  See Rite of Penance, 20 for sample service.  No parish may schedule or advertise "general absolution."



In scheduling Masses, care must be taken not to multiply Masses on Christmas Eve to the detriment of Christmas Day itself.  Anticipated Masses on Sundays and holy days (Christmas included) are to take place in the evening (see Canon 1248 § 1).

The Diocese does not allow Christmas Eve Masses to be scheduled before 4 p.m.

Note: "Christmas pageants or Nativity Plays" for adults or children within Mass are to be avoided.  According to Vatican II, the assembly of the baptized is to participate fully, actively, and consciously (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 41) in various roles and functions and should never be reduced to passive spectators or an audience. As is true for pageants, plays, and dramatic presentations.

"The Mass is not a historical reenactment of the events of salvation history and care should be taken not to give the impression that the Liturgy of the Word is a play.  This is not to say that dramatic elements may not be used.  However, in some circumstances, the need to encourage active participation over entertainment or a passive audience mode should be seriously considered. Care should be taken, especially at Christmas, not to stage the various liturgies as plays.  The Christmas Mass should not be presented as a birthday party of Jesus, nor should secular notions of Santa Claus (alias "capitalist elf" December marketing ploy) be introduced into the Christmas liturgy." (Lectionary for Masses with Children, 52).



The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph falls on Sunday, December 29, 2020 (Sunday, December 27, 2021).

See The Book of Blessings, nn. 62-67 for "Blessing of a Family."


JANUARY: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, Wednesday, January 22, 2019 (Friday, January 22, 2021), shall be observed as a particular day of prayer and sacrifice for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.  The liturgical celebrations for this day may be the Mass "For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life" (no. 48/1 of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions), celebrated with white vestments, or the Mass, "For the Preservation of Peace and Justice" (no. 3A) Eucharistic Prayers for use in Masses for Various Needs and Occasions I-VI), celebrated with violet vestments (General Instruction of the Roman Missal and GIRM 2011, 373c).


LITURGY OF THE DOMESTIC CHURCH:  The Presentation of the Lord. Sunday, February 2, 2020.  The 40th Day after Christmas.

Blessing of candles for use in the domestic church or family is encouraged within the context of the procession.  Prescribed in the Roman Missal for the Solemnity of The Presentation of the Lord.  Also CHBP, 2012 "Candlemas: Receiving Blessed Candles at home, pp 124-136. Parishes may contact the Catholic Store to procure traditional partial beeswax candles.  The faithful maybe instructed to use these blessed candles at a festive Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, Epiphany table.  Lighting blessed candles on the Feasts of the Lord accentuates Jesus' desire to take a place at the Table in a believer's home (Rv 3:20).  It also reveals him as the family's true Light of the World while being a very appropriate way to celebrate anniversaries of being Baptized as a pro-life celebration (especially with children).



 Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020. The Great fast joins the Church with Jesus in his 40 days of desert sojourn.



Every effort should be made to schedule communal celebrations of the sacrament of Reconciliation during the season of Lent.  See Rite of Penance for service of the Prodigal Son, n.31 or Beatitudes, n.37.  No parish may schedule or advertise "general absolution".  Although individual confessions may be scheduled in the parishes according to the pastoral need, Lenten Communal Penance Services should neither be scheduled during the days of the Triduum, nor the Tuesday of Holy Week, April 7, 2020 to allow priests and people to attend the 7pm Chrism Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral.

LITURGY OF THE DOMESTIC CHURCH: for Lenten practices: Fasting, Almsgiving and The Penitential Psalms, see CHBP, 2012, pp 96 - 107.


Thursday, March 19, 2020 The Solemnity of St Joseph Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  "Blessing of St. Joseph's Table": Bread and beans for the poor and hungry.  See CBHP, 2012, pp 140 - 141.  



Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020. "Placing of Branches in the home" CHBP pp 108-109. 


In planning and scheduling services, "care should be taken especially during Holy Week and the Easter Triduum not to stage the various liturgies as "Passion Plays" (Lectionary for Masses with Children, 52).  The Assembly of the Baptized is primarily a participatory act, rather than passive onlookers at a spectator event.



Funeral Masses are NOT permitted on Holy Thursday morning or during the days of the Easter Triduum.  On these days, the body of the deceased may be brought to the church and the Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated.


According to the Church's ancient tradition, all Masses without a congregation are prohibited on this day.  The Mass of the Lord's Supper is celebrated in the evening.  No additional Masses are to be scheduled.  For serious pastoral need and only with the permission of the local Ordinary, may another Mass be celebrated in the evening or morning (see Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of Paschal Feasts, 47 and Missale Romanum III, "Thursday of the Lord's Supper at the Evening Mass", 3) Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter, March/April 2003).



"The celebration of the Lord's Passion is to take place in the afternoon, at about three o'clock.  For pastoral reasons, an appropriate time will be chosen in order to allow the people to assemble more easily, for example, shortly after midday or in the late evening, however, not later than nine o'clock" (Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of Paschal Feasts, 78).  The same instruction is repeated in the new edition of the Missale Romanum.  Holy Communion may only be distributed during the Solemn Celebration of the Passion.  No other communal distribution or Holy Communion may take place on Good Friday (for example, during Stations of the Cross or other secondary services.  Holy Viaticum may be given at any time).



"On Holy Saturday the Church is, as it were, at the Lord's tomb, meditating on his passion and death, and on his descent into hell, and awaiting his resurrection with prayer and fasting.

The image of Christ crucified or lying in the tomb, or the descent into hell, which mystery Holy Saturday recalls, as also an image of the sorrowful Virgin Mary may be placed in the church for the veneration of the faithful." (Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation And Celebration Of The Easter Feasts. 1988, 73-74.)


Order of Blessing of Food for the First Meal of Easter, BB, 1989, nn. 1701-1723.



Wherever appropriate, pastors should raise parishioners' awareness of the original and most ancient of all Christian preparatory fasts: the paschal fast, encouraging fasting and/or abstinence through to Easter Communion, the original "break-fast of believers". May they join their full Paschal fasting to Jesus’ suffering and burial, for renewal in the Buffalo Diocese, for priests, the faithful and anyone who has undergone mental or physical abuse.

In this manner the baptized keep vigil of prayer with the Elect approaching the Easter Vigil with lightened and uplifted spirits (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy-1963, 110b; Universal Norms of the Liturgical Year-1969, 20).



The Paschal Vigil is not an anticipated Mass, but a true vigil and, therefore, it may not begin until nightfall.  This means that the Easter Vigil should be scheduled 30 to 45 minutes after sunset to assure darkness.  "The entire celebration of the Easter Vigil takes place at night. It should not begin before nightfall.  This rule is to be taken according to its strictest sense"  (Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year-1969, 21; Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of Paschal Feasts, 1988, 78).

Sunset will take place at about 7:53 PM on Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020.

This means that the Easter Vigil is not to begin before 7:30 p.m.

Sunset will take place at about 7:44 PM on Holy Saturday, April 3, 2021.

". . . it is never permitted to celebrate the entire Easter Vigil more than once in a given church or to anticipate the Mass of Easter before the vigil . . ." (Roman Missal III, "The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night", 3) "The celebration of the Easter Vigil for special groups is not to be encouraged, since above all in this vigil the faithful should come together as one and should experience a sense of ecclesial community."  (Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of Paschal Feasts, 94)

"The rubrics of Missale Romanum III remind us that this mother of all vigil is the 'greatest and most noble of all solemnities' and it is to be unique in every single Church.  (Missale Romanum III, "The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night", 2) . . . Therefore, the Easter Vigil does not correspond to the usual Saturday evening Mass and its character is unique in the cycle of the liturgical year."  (Bishops Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter, January 2003)

It should be noted that the Missale Romanum III now requires that at least three Old Testament readings, always including Exodus 14, must be read at the Easter Vigil.  Previously, in extreme necessity two Old Testament readings might have been used.  Of course, all nine readings need to be read whenever it can be done, so that the character of a Vigil which takes place over some duration of time can be observed (EV, 20, Bishops Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter, January 2003).



"It is also appropriate that children receive their First Communion on one or other of the Sundays of Easter." (Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of Paschal Feasts, 103)  "Apart from exceptional cases, it is not appropriate for First Communion to be administered on Holy Thursday of the Lord's Supper.  Another day should be chosen instead, such as a Sunday between the Second and Sixth Sunday of Easter, or the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or the Sundays of Ordinary Time, since Sunday is rightly regarded as the day of the Eucharist." (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 87).  This guideline presupposes that weekdays, such as Saturday morning or early afternoon, are not appropriate times to celebrate First Eucharist.  Above all, First Holy Communion should reunite families, the parish, and all communicants more closely to the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day—Sunday.



Sunday, June 14, 2020 The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. "It is desirable that a procession take place after the Mass in which the Host to be carried in the processions consecrated.  However, nothing prohibits a procession from taking place even after a public and lengthy period of adoration following the Mass."  Roman Missal III, p. 474.



The ritual Mass for Confirmation may not be used on holy days of obligation, the Sundays of Advent, Lent and the Easter Season, on days in the Octave of Easter, on all solemnities, on All Soul's Day, on Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week.  If Confirmation is to be celebrated on one of the above-mentioned days, the Mass of the day is to be used (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 200, 372).

When the ritual Mass is not celebrated, one of the readings may be chosen from those provided in the Lectionary for the ritual Mass for Confirmation, However, on all holy days of obligation, Easter Sunday, Christmas, Epiphany, Pentecost and Corpus Christi only the readings of the day are permitted.  The final blessing proper to the ritual Mass may always be used.



Note: The ritual Mass for Marriage is not permitted on Holy Days on which the precept to attend Mass is abrogated, since these days still rank as solemnities.

Note: On days when the ritual Mass for Marriage is prohibited, the “Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass” from The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, 2016, is permitted.



Encourage parents of a newborn or adopted to celebrate "Prayers after the arrival of a child".  See CHBP, 2012, pp 236-239.

Anniversary of Baptism. Pastors may help parents to discover their role as presiders over their family's prayer.  Suggest that parents, using the Baptismal Candle and cross signing of the forehead celebrate their child's annual anniversary of Holy Baptism.  See CBHP, 2012, 244H.

"Visiting and praying with the Sick" pp 209-223. "The sick should be encouraged to pray when they are alone, or with their families, friends or those who care for (visit) them." Rite of Anointing Pastoral Care of the Sick, 1972, n. 44. 

"Visiting a grave"; CHBP, 2012, pp 158-160. 



Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament usually begins at the concluding rite of the last Mass of the day and continues through the day with appropriate prayer services.  Exposition concludes most often with a Word Service or devotion with Benediction.  Please note that the Order for Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, 1992 should be used.



  • The RITE OF ELECTION will take place for the Diocese of Buffalo TBA.
  • SCRUTINIES - The Scrutinies should seek to remove all obstacles to holistic conversion of the elect (unbaptized) and deepen their resolve to bind themselves to Christ and to carry out their mission to love God above all else.

They take place within Mass on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent. Year A readings with appropriate chants are used.  The Sacramentary contains special orations and prefaces for the Masses at which the Scrutinies are to be used at these celebrations.  See "Ritual Masses, Christian Initiation", 2. 

  • RITE OF DISMISSAL for the Elect and Candidates to be fully initiated at the Easter Vigil will be celebrated by Bishop Malone during the Chrism Mass TBA at St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo.
  • EASTER VIGIL - The elect (unbaptized) receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  Candidates (baptized) celebrate the Rite of Reception, the Full Communion into the Catholic Church.
  • MYSTAGOGY - Classic mystagogy starts with reflecting on a particular symbolic action of the liturgy. Having selected the action, its meaning is opened through Sacred Scriptural texts and human experience. Bishop Malone will celebrate a Mystagological Gathering TBA at St. Joseph Cathedral.

Preaching from the Rite is recommended by Vatican II (SC, 1963, 35-2) as an appropriate point of departure, especially when bonded to Sacred Scripture and daily living.

"Teaching about the importance of the Liturgy" or Mystagogy, was recommended by Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops of New York State at their 2011 ad limina in November of 2011.