Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Go to Mass on Sunday and on Christmas, bishops say

 DENVER, Colo.—In a newsletter issued earlier this year, the U.S. Catholic bishops addressed questions regarding whether Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligations can be fulfilled with a “two-for-one” Mass attendance at Christmas this year.

In a “relatively rare” situation which last occurred in 2006, Christmas Day this year falls on a Monday.

Because Catholics are obliged to attend Mass for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, some have asked whether a Sunday evening Mass on Christmas Eve would fulfill both the obligation for a Sunday Mass and the obligation for a Christmas Day Mass.

The U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Divine Worship has said the faithful should attend two Masses to fulfill their Sunday and Christmas Mass obligations.

Since the mid-twentieth century, the Church has allowed for Catholics to attend vigil, or anticipated, Masses for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation as “a convenience for many of the faithful.”

“Most canon lawyers defer to Venerable Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus (January 6, 1953), which gave 4:00 p.m. as the earliest time when anticipated Masses may be scheduled,” the bishops said in their 2017 letter.

This means that the Sunday obligation for Dec. 24 can be fulfilled on Sunday, or anytime after 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, and the Christmas Mass obligation can be fulfilled on Monday, anytime after 4 p.m. on Dec. 24.

In the case of two consecutive days of obligation, as at Christmas this year, the “prevailing view of many canon lawyers is that each obligation must be fulfilled with a separate Mass,” the bishops said.

“Thus, when consecutive obligations occur on Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday, the faithful must attend Mass twice to fulfill two separate obligations.”

According to the bishops, the question of whether such obligations could be fulfilled in one Mass has been raised before by bishops in what is called a “dubium”, which was “answered in the negative by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy and approved by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1970.”

“The Church’s intention in extending the possibility of meeting Mass obligations through vigil Masses, while intended to make it easier to fulfill obligations, was never envisioned as a legal loophole, and, hence, separate obligations remain,” the bishops said.

The bishops emphasized that they hoped that Catholics “foster a love for the Sacred Liturgy and hold a desire to celebrate the holy days as fully as is reasonably possible.”

They also noted that pastors may grant dispensations to individuals or families “for a just cause and subject to any regulations laid down by the diocesan bishop.”

“At the same time, diocesan bishops may examine their regional circumstances and grant general dispensations or commutations, while permitting their pastors to make judgments in individual cases.”

By Mary Rezac / CNA/EWTN News

Photo, haak78, Shutterstock: Children light candles at a Christmas Mass.




  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Jan 17 Report Cards Emailed
    From the Calendar of St. Mary School Greenville
    End of 2nd Quarter
    From the Calendar of St. Gregory the Great School
    End of 2nd Nine Weeks
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony School Florence
    Report Cards Issued
    From the Calendar of St. Andrew School Myrtle Beach
    Fun Nite @ OLSS w/CCD
    From the Calendar of Holy Trinity North Myrtle Beach
    Spirit Day
    From the Calendar of Prince of Peace School Taylors
    6:30 pm Sophomore/Junior college Planning Night hosted by Counseling Dept.
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston
    7:00 pm Curso 1- CIC/Biblia Tema #1
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 18 Last day to drop a second semester class and add another semester class (per BEHS guidelines)
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston
    End of 2nd Quarter
    From the Calendar of St. Peter School Beaufort
    End of Second Quarter
    From the Calendar of St. Joseph School Anderson
    Report Card
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    TAG day
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    Middle School Gold Card Treat #2
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    2:00 pm Dismissal for Faculty Meeting
    From the Calendar of St. Mary School Greenville
    3:00 pm HSA Family meeting
    From the Calendar of Holy Trinity North Myrtle Beach
    3:30 pm Parent-Teacher Conferences
    From the Calendar of Cardinal Newman School
    7:00 pm Curso 1: CIC/Biblia Tema #1
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 19 E-Team Weekend
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry
    Soup Bowl Fundraiser
    From the Calendar of St. Michael School Murrells Inlet