Is Good Friday a Holy Day of Obligation?

And What Practices Are Done on Good Friday?

Icon of Extreme Humility. (Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)
Icon of Extreme Humility (Christ being lowered into the tomb). (Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)

On Good Friday, Catholics commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ with a special service recalling His Passion. But is Good Friday a Holy Day of Obligation?

Holy Day of Obligation

First off, what are Holy Days of Obligation? These are the days in the Catholic Church on which faithful followers are obliged to attend Mass.  

Good Friday

While all Roman Catholics are encouraged to attend the commemoration of Our Lord's Passion on Good Friday in order to prepare most fully for Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday, Good Friday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.

Practices

Good Friday is, however, a day of strict fasting and abstinence. Fasting entails having one full meal for the day with two smaller portions or snacks. Followers also refrain from eating meat. For more on the regulations on fasting and abstinence, see the article on Good Friday or What Are the Rules for Fasting and Abstinence in the Catholic Church?

Liturgy on Good Friday consists of Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion. The Roman Catholic church has specific prayers for Good Friday that are acts of reparation for the sufferings and sins that Jesus endured the day he died.

Date

Good Friday is held on a different date each year, usually falling in March or April. It is the Friday before Easter, since Easter was the day Jesus was resurrected.

For the date of Good Friday in this and future years, see When Is Good Friday?