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The six Precepts of the Church

The obligatory character of these positive laws de­creed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the indispensable mini­mum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

  • “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.”

This precept requires to participate in the Eucharistic cel­ebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the resurrection of the Lord.

  • “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”

This precept ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the re­ception of the sacrament of Reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.
“You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.” This precept guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s body and blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.

  • “You shall keep holy the holy days of Obligation.”

This precept requires the completion of the Sunday obser­vance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts that honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. It requires, also, abstinence from those labors and business concerns that impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy that is proper to the Lord’s day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body.

  • “You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.”

This precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance that prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire free­dom of heart and mastery over our instincts.

  • “You shall provide for the material needs of the Church.”

This precept requires the faithful to contribute to the Church according to their own abilities.