Important dates in 2020

Pope Francis holds his pastoral staff as he celebrates Mass marking the feast of All Souls at Laurentino Cemetery in Rome on Nov. 2, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) Pope Francis holds his pastoral staff as he celebrates Mass marking the feast of All Souls at Laurentino Cemetery in Rome on Nov. 2, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

It is too late to mark the start of a new liturgical year; that began with the first Sunday of Advent, on Dec. 1. But you have already experienced the change at Mass: The church is now in Year A of its three-year cyclical lectionary, which means that readings are built around the Gospel of Matthew (with Mark and Luke to follow in subsequent years).

As for the secular world, Jan. 1 marks a new year that is the last in the four-year cycle of U.S. presidential politics; 2020 also brings a Summer Olympics and multiple commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the close of World War II.

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Celebrations of the liturgical year 2020

Jan. 1: Solemnity of Mary*

Jan. 5: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Jan. 12: The Baptism of the Lord

Feb. 26: Ash Wednesday

March 19: Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

March 25: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

April 5: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

April 10: Good Friday

April 12: Easter Sunday

April 19: Divine Mercy Sunday

May 21: The Ascension of the Lord (Thursday)*

May 31: Pentecost Sunday

June 7: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 14: The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

June 19: Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 24: Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

June 29: Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Aug. 15: Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary**

Nov. 1: Solemnity of All Saints**

Nov. 2: The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day)

Nov. 22: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Christ the King)

Nov. 29: First Sunday of Advent

Dec. 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary*

Dec. 25: The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)*

*Holy Day of Obligation

**Not a separate Holy Day of Obligation in 2020 because it falls on a Saturday or Sunday


The liturgical seasons

Dec. 1, 2019–Jan. 12: Advent, Christmas

Jan. 13–Feb. 25: Ordinary Time

Feb. 26–May 31: Lent, Triduum, Easter

June 1–Nov. 28: Ordinary Time

Nov. 29–Jan. 10, 2021: Advent, Christmas


Other dates of note

Jan. 24: March for Life

Feb. 3: Iowa presidential caucuses

Feb. 11: New Hampshire presidential primary

March 13: Anniversary of the election of Pope Francis

March 15: N.C.A.A. basketball tournament (“March Madness”) begins

April 22: World Earth Day

June 10: G7 Summit

July 13: Democratic National Convention

July 20: Summer Olympics (Tokyo)

Aug. 24: Republican National Convention

Sept. 29: First presidential debate (at Notre Dame University)

Nov. 3: U.S. Election Day


Anniversaries of historical events

Jan. 17: Prohibition bans the sale of alcohol in the U.S. (1920)

Feb. 11: Nelson Mandela released from prison (1990)

March 24: Assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador (1980)

March 25: publication of “Evangelium Vitae” (1995)

April 2: death of St. John Paul (2005)

May 8: birth of Fulton Sheen (1895)

May 8: Victory in Europe Day (1945)

May 24: publication of “Laudato Si’” (2015)

Aug. 6: atomic bombing of Hiroshima (1945)

Aug. 18: 19th Amendment gives women the right to vote (1920)

Sept. 26: First televised U.S. presidential debate (Kennedy v. Nixon) (1960)

Sept. 27: Jesuits receive charter from Pope Paul III (1540)

Oct. 24: United Nations founded (1945)

Nov. 11: Mayflower Compact signed (1620)

Nov. 21: “Bloody Sunday”/war of independence in Ireland (1920)

Nov. 23: Nuremberg Trials (1945)


Sources: “Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America 2020,” U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; “2020 Holy Days of Obligation and Solemnities,” relevantradio.com.

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