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  #1  
Old Jan 8, '12, 5:29 pm
Illini Illini is offline
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Default Vigil Mass Rules

Does anybody know the regulations on celebrating vigil Masses? I noticed that the new Roman Missal has a number of vigil masses for Solemnities, some of which have the same reading as the Mass of the Day, and some of which do not.

When a Vigil Mass is provided, is it mandatory? Is it optional, i.e., may the Mass of the Day be said instead? Is it different when the Solemnity actually falls on a Sunday and replaces the regular Sunday Mass? Some people I've talked to believe that, because Saturday evening Mass is the anticipated Sunday Mass, the Mass of the Day is to be said instead. However, if that were the case the Vigil Mass would never be said, particularly for Pentecost and Holy Days of Obligation.

Most important, are there documents providing the answers to these questions? I've reviewed the GIRM and the Lectionary for Mass: An Introduction, and unless I missed it neither provide the answers I was looking for.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Illini
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  #2  
Old Jan 8, '12, 7:48 pm
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FrDavid96 FrDavid96 is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

First, they are optional.
There is no requirement to have a Vigil Mass, and no requirement to use the text if the Mass is "the evening before." The one exception, of course, being the Easter Vigil which is required.

A priest could use the Mass for the day itself, even though a Vigil Mass is available.
Note: I don't recommend or advocate it, I'm simply saying that it would not be illicit to do it.

The original purpose of a Vigil Mass was that it was a Mass in the night before a feast. "Vigil" means to stay awake. They weren't merely evening Masses but Masses during the true nighttime.

Unfortunately, over the centuries, vigil Masses kept getting earlier and earlier. By the time of Vatican II some were actually celebrated in the morning of the day before the feast. The Council called for a reform of liturgical times to better match the actual time of day of the celebration. At present, the Roman Missal says that they are celebrated "in the evening" the day before the feast. There is a rubric accompanying the vigil Mass texts in the Roman Missal (that's the source you're looking for) that explain this. I don't think it's meant to exclude nighttime, but I do think it's meant to exclude morning or afternoon.

Here's the exact text of the rubric in the current Roman Missal for the Vigil Mass of Epiphany
This Mass is used on the evening of the day before the Solemnity, either before or after First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of the Epiphany
The Saturday evening Mass is not the "anticipated Sunday Mass" it is the festive Mass of Sunday. The Church makes no distinction between the Sunday Mass celebrated on Sunday morning and the Sunday Mass celebrated on Saturday evening--both are equal and identical in every respect. The notion of an "anticipated Mass" is a holdover from the 1917 Code of Canon Law which was completely changed by the 1983 Code. Unfortunately, we sometimes hear the old terminology, and more importantly, the old ideas used, even though they no longer express the Church's position.
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  #3  
Old Jan 8, '12, 11:52 pm
AJV AJV is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

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Originally Posted by FrDavid96 View Post
First, they are optional.
There is no requirement to have a Vigil Mass, and no requirement to use the text if the Mass is "the evening before." The one exception, of course, being the Easter Vigil which is required.

A priest could use the Mass for the day itself, even though a Vigil Mass is available.
I do not see how the rubric gives an option in this regard. It does not say the Mass "may" be used, it says the Mass is to be used.

"This Mass is used on the Evening of the day before the Solemnity [on the Evening of (insert date)], either before or after First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of (insert name of feast)"
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  #4  
Old Jan 9, '12, 9:23 am
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FrDavid96 FrDavid96 is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

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Originally Posted by AJV View Post
I do not see how the rubric gives an option in this regard. It does not say the Mass "may" be used, it says the Mass is to be used.

"This Mass is used on the Evening of the day before the Solemnity [on the Evening of (insert date)], either before or after First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of (insert name of feast)"
I do see what you're getting at.

Here's the difference. When we look at the Mass of the Day for these feasts (with the exceptions of Easter and Christmas) those texts don't have a restriction that they must be used at a certain time; namely, the day itself as opposed to the evening before. The criteria for (just an example) the Mass of the 5th Sunday of Ordinal Time is the same as that for the Mass of Epiphany; or for that matter any other Sunday or Solemnity.

We have to keep in mind the history here. The rubric for Vigil Masses, that they are used in the evening is a corrective one, to tell us that the old practice of a Vigil in the morning is not to be followed. It's much like the rubric that says the priest can only use one opening Collect--it only makes sense when one compares it to the older practice which the Church is telling us cannot be followed anymore. If one looks at a 1962 or earlier Roman Missal, the "Vigil of the Epiphany" Mass was actually scheduled for the morning of January 5. It had to be before noon. This Mass was moved from morning to evening to make it a true vigil.
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Old Jan 9, '12, 9:35 am
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJV View Post
I do not see how the rubric gives an option in this regard. It does not say the Mass "may" be used, it says the Mass is to be used.

"This Mass is used on the Evening of the day before the Solemnity [on the Evening of (insert date)], either before or after First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of (insert name of feast)"
I may be confused, but it looks like you are citing the rubrics for the mass of the vigil. I understand FrDavid96's claim to be that the mass of the day may be used the evening before. Do the rubrics for the mass of the day have similar restrictions to what you cited?

I can see how it might not be appropriate to omit the listed vigil mass in favor of the mass of the day, However, if a parish were celebrating three masses the night before the solemnity, I wouldn't think there would be anything wrong with making the first a mass of the vigil, and the second and third masses of the day - unless there are restrictions on the mass of the day.
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  #6  
Old Jan 9, '12, 11:30 am
AJV AJV is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

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Originally Posted by Digitonomy View Post
I may be confused, but it looks like you are citing the rubrics for the mass of the vigil. I understand FrDavid96's claim to be that the mass of the day may be used the evening before. Do the rubrics for the mass of the day have similar restrictions to what you cited?

I can see how it might not be appropriate to omit the listed vigil mass in favor of the mass of the day, However, if a parish were celebrating three masses the night before the solemnity, I wouldn't think there would be anything wrong with making the first a mass of the vigil, and the second and third masses of the day - unless there are restrictions on the mass of the day.
The way I am looking at it would be that if you could use either formulary, the rubric for the Mass of the Vigil would not say "This Mass is used..." but "This Mass may be used..." thus allowing one. Compare, for example, the rubric for the Extended Vigil of Pentecost. It says "This Vigil Mass may be celebrated on the Saturday Evening, either before or after First Vespers....". On the other hand, the rubric of Pentecost Simple Vigil says "This Mass is used on the Saturday Evening, either before or after...."

I do not see why there has to be a second rubric. If you say in one place that a certain formulary is to be used for a given time period, it is redundant to say in the second place that another formulary should not be used for that time period.

The heading of the second formulary also seems to indicate that it should not be used the evening before. It says "during the Day" and comparing this phrase to other occasions where it occurs in the missal (e.g. the Nativity) it seems that it does not refer to the entire liturgical day from First Vespers onward.
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  #7  
Old Jan 9, '12, 11:48 am
AJV AJV is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

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Originally Posted by FrDavid96 View Post
I do see what you're getting at.

Here's the difference. When we look at the Mass of the Day for these feasts (with the exceptions of Easter and Christmas) those texts don't have a restriction that they must be used at a certain time; namely, the day itself as opposed to the evening before.
I would argue that they do, based on the headings and the rubric for the Vigil.

Quote:
The criteria for (just an example) the Mass of the 5th Sunday of Ordinal Time is the same as that for the Mass of Epiphany; or for that matter any other Sunday or Solemnity.
I do not see how one can reach this conclusion simply based on (it seems) the fact that they are somewhat equivalent in terms of rank, and the formerly-termed "anticipated Masses".

Quote:
We have to keep in mind the history here. The rubric for Vigil Masses, that they are used in the evening is a corrective one, to tell us that the old practice of a Vigil in the morning is not to be followed.
Yes, but in that case, the wording of the rubric would indicated its optional nature for the evening before -- as for example, it does in the Pentecost Vigil. Certainly the Vigil Mass was moved - but that doesn't imply that one can use a different formulary.
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  #8  
Old Jan 9, '12, 12:58 pm
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FrDavid96 FrDavid96 is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

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Originally Posted by AJV View Post
I would argue that they do, based on the headings and the rubric for the Vigil.



I do not see how one can reach this conclusion simply based on (it seems) the fact that they are somewhat equivalent in terms of rank, and the formerly-termed "anticipated Masses".



Yes, but in that case, the wording of the rubric would indicated its optional nature for the evening before -- as for example, it does in the Pentecost Vigil. Certainly the Vigil Mass was moved - but that doesn't imply that one can use a different formulary.
You're reading entirely too much into the rubrics.

The liturgical day of any solemnity begins with First Vespers on the evening before. Just as the 5th Sunday of Ordinal Time does not need its own rubric to say "this Mass may be used on Saturday evening..." neither does any other Solemnity. The Vigil Masses (Christmas and Easter excepted) are optional--they may be used but they are not required.

You are missing the whole point of the rubrics for the special Vigil Masses (and the rubrics for the day-of). As I keep trying to explain, the rubric does not forbid the use of the "day" Mass on the evening before, it is intended rather to clarify that it no longer belongs in the morning of the day before the feast.

While I am not saying I recommend it or encourage it, there's nothing wrong with a priest choosing the day Mass even when there is a special Vigil text. The Vigils are available but not strictly speaking required.
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  #9  
Old Jan 9, '12, 2:32 pm
jimrob jimrob is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

In my Parish, the choice between the Proper for the Vigil Mass or the Mass of the day, depends usually on what Mass sheets have been delivered. The special Vigil Mass proper is not compulsory except for the Easter and Christmas Vigils - but we use it if we can. If we were to use a Mass that's not the same as the one on the Mass sheets, no-one would be able to hear it over the sound of rustling paper.

It's interesting that Fr David mentions the Vigil Mass of the Epiphany. We used to have one in the Tridentine Missal. One was not specified in the 1970 Roman Missal, but it has returned in the 2002 Latin Missal and its new translations. However, there are no readings specified in the Lectionary for that day. Apparently, the Sacred Congregation for Liturgy is "working on it".
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  #10  
Old Jan 9, '12, 6:43 pm
AJV AJV is offline
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Default Re: Vigil Mass Rules

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrDavid96 View Post
You're reading entirely too much into the rubrics.

The liturgical day of any solemnity begins with First Vespers on the evening before. Just as the 5th Sunday of Ordinal Time does not need its own rubric to say "this Mass may be used on Saturday evening..." neither does any other Solemnity.
But the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time does not have a special Vigil Mass. It does not follow that this extends to Solemnities for which a special Vigil Mass is provided AND which have a heading that says "Mass During the Day".

My point is that it was optional before, as the rubric for the some of the Vigils that we had was "The Mass may be used on the evening (insert date) either before or after Evening Prayer I of the solemnity." The new translation has altered the "may" of the rubric, to "is" reflecting the omission of the option in the 2002 Latin Missale Romanum.
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