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  #1  
Old Aug 17, '13, 10:32 pm
peace2all24 peace2all24 is offline
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Question When does mass start?

Hello Everyone on CAF,
I would like to know when does the Mass start? Is it when the Entrance hymn is being sung or is it when the priest makes the the Sign of the Cross? I went for Mass today, but as I go by walk, it takes me 15 minutes to get to Church. When I got there they were still singing the hymn, so the priest hadn't made the sign of the cross yet. Did I fulfill my Sunday obligation or do I have to go again in the evening? I read that you have to be there for the whole of the Mass in order to fulfill the obligation, http://catholicism.about.com/b/2009/07/03/reader-question-our-sunday-duty-and-holy-communion.htm[/url]
so I'm worried about this. Please answer if you have any idea about this, thanks.
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  #2  
Old Aug 17, '13, 11:11 pm
Julie de Sales Julie de Sales is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

In my opinion the Mass starts when the priest is making the sign of the cross. I would certainly consider that you fulfilled your Sunday obligation, you missed like 2 minutes or something like that. From what I understand, it is not yet clear from which point on it's too late to arrive. Before Vatican II you had to be there at least from the Offertory (if I'm not mistaken) and I recently read that one priest has the same opinion. So, the best idea is to attend the whole Mass, from the begining to the end, and I think you did so. Don't worry!
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Old Aug 17, '13, 11:43 pm
peace2all24 peace2all24 is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Thanks Julie,
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  #4  
Old Aug 17, '13, 11:45 pm
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R_C R_C is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

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Originally Posted by Julie de Sales View Post
In my opinion the Mass starts when the priest is making the sign of the cross.
In the old form, the entrance is not part of Mass, and the Rite of Sprinkling (Asperges) isn't either. The Mass of Catechumens begins when the priest, bowing down at the foot of the altar, makes the Sign of the Cross.

The liturgical reform now has what we term "Introductory Rites" (see GIRM), namely, the Entrance, the Greeting, the Penitential Act, the Kyrie, the Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) and Collect. But we read:

Quote:
49. When they have arrived at the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the ministers reverence the altar with a profound bow.

Moreover, as an expression of veneration, the Priest and Deacon then kiss the altar itself; the Priest, if appropriate, also incenses the cross and the altar.

50. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, signs himself with the Sign of the Cross. Then by means of the Greeting he signifies the presence of the Lord to the assembled community. By this greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest.
It would seem - but it's my opinion - that Mass begins when "the Priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, signs himself with the Sign of the Cross".

Now, about fulfilling the Precept of the Church, here is a response from Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum:

Quote:
Q. At what point in time during Mass it is considered too late for anyone coming into the Mass to receive Communion?

It is true that before the Second Vatican Council some moral theology manuals placed arrival before the offertory as the dividing line in deciding whether one fulfilled the Sunday obligation of assistance at Mass. But after the liturgical reform, with its emphasis on the overall unity of the Mass, modern theologians shy away from such exactitude.

Mass begins with the entrance procession and ends after the final dismissal and we should be there from beginning to end. Each part of the Mass relates and complements the others in a single act of worship even though some parts, such as the consecration, are essential while others are merely important.

To say that there is a particular moment before or after which we are either "out" or "safe," so to speak, is to give the wrong message and hint that, in the long run, some parts of the Mass are really not all that important. It may also give some less fervent souls a yardstick for arriving in a tardy manner.

Although I prefer not to hazard giving a precise cutoff moment, certainly someone who arrives after the consecration has not attended Mass, should not receive Communion, and if it is a Sunday, go to another Mass.

Arriving on time is not just a question of obligation but of love and respect for Our Lord who has gathered us together to share his gifts, and who has some grace to communicate to us in each part of the Mass.

It is also a sign of respect for the community with whom we worship and who deserves our presence and the contribution of our prayers in each moment. The liturgy is essentially the worship of Christ's body, the Church. Each assembly is called upon to represent and manifest the whole body but this can hardly happen if it forms itself in drips and drabs after the celebration has begun. [...]

If people arrive late due to culpable negligence, and especially if they do so habitually, then they need to seriously reflect on their attitudes, amend their ways, and if necessary seek the sacrament of reconciliation.

Depending on how late they arrive they should prefer to honor the Lord's day by attending some other Mass, or, if this is not possible, at least remain in the Church after Mass is over and dedicate some time to prayer and reflection on the readings of the day.

The Mass ends with the dismissal, but as a mark of respect the faithful should wait until the priest has entered the sacristy and any final song has ended. Leaving after Communion does not allow us to thank God properly for the gift of his Son and also deprives us of the added grace of the concluding prayer and final blessing.

At times the members of the congregation resemble marathon hopefuls as they stampede toward the exit after Mass. In other circumstances, one wishes they would only get out sooner and not hang around chatting in the aisles. But that is a theme for another occasion.
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  #5  
Old Aug 18, '13, 1:51 am
peace2all24 peace2all24 is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Quote:
Depending on how late they arrive they should prefer to honor the Lord's day by attending some other Mass, or, if this is not possible, at least remain in the Church after Mass is over and dedicate some time to prayer and reflection on the readings of the day.
Thanks for your reply. Since I was late for about 2-3 minutes, does this mean I must go again? Or do I just make an act of reparation like the Father said through prayer. I didn't want to go late or anything, I usually try to go early, but as I went in the morning it was a little more difficult for me. If i don't go will it be a mortal sin?
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  #6  
Old Aug 18, '13, 3:00 am
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Default Re: When does mass start?

He did not state in what he said that in your particular case you missed mass.
It is not a mortal sin, you arrived well before the act of consacration "his words".

Therefore have a blessed Sunday and be at peace.

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  #7  
Old Aug 18, '13, 3:42 am
Cat Cat is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Funny you should ask.

Our pastor published an essay in our parish bulletin just this week about this very question. He gently but firmly rebuked the parishioners for coming late (right before the Gospel) and leaving early (right after receiving Holy Communion--instead of returning to their seat, they go right out the door). In his essay, he said that some people have learned some incorrect teachings that this is sufficient for fulfilling the Mass obligation, but they are incorrect and this teaching is wrong.

According to our pastor, who spent a lot of time in the essay discussing the theology and the historical basis for the OF Mass--Mass begins when the priest makes the Sign of the Cross, and ends with the dismissal. What this means, of course, is that the Opening Hymn and the Closing Hymn are not part of the Mass. The announcements ARE part of the Mass, and should not be skipped out of.

So you have fulfilled your obligation.

And I think you need to be careful not to be so scrupulous--a mortal sin means that you had deliberate intention to sin. You were trying to be on time, but miscalculated--this means it's not a mortal sin. And you still made it on time--you made it for the Sign of the Cross.
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  #8  
Old Aug 18, '13, 4:22 am
peace2all24 peace2all24 is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Ok, thanks so much [Cat and Jerry ] for the clarification! I'm finally at peace, if its ok with you please say a small prayer for me. I'm struggling with scrupulosity. And yes, Blessed Sunday to everyone!
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  #9  
Old Aug 18, '13, 4:33 am
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YoungTradCath YoungTradCath is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

It is clear that any post-dismissal music is decidedly not part of Mass. It never has been, and it is not mentioned in any of the liturgical books, because it is not part of the Roman Rite. However, there is no harm in it.

The entrance chant/Introit is liturgical in nature (well, at least in principle, for it is difficult to argue that hymns, used in extraordinary abundance to the near-absolute exclusion of almost everything else, are per se liturgical music) and is prescribed in the books. However, I am not aware of anyone who would argue that "Mass begins" when the first note of the Introit is sung.

The general and widespread consensus is that Mass begins with the Signum Crucis.
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Old Aug 18, '13, 5:07 am
Brendan 64 Brendan 64 is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungTradCath View Post
The general and widespread consensus is that Mass begins with the Signum Crucis.
And ends, after the dismissal, when the congregation says, "Thanks be to God".
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  #11  
Old Aug 18, '13, 5:49 am
Bergon Bergon is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peace2all24 View Post
Hello Everyone on CAF,
I would like to know when does the Mass start? Is it when the Entrance hymn is being sung or is it when the priest makes the the Sign of the Cross? I went for Mass today, but as I go by walk, it takes me 15 minutes to get to Church. When I got there they were still singing the hymn, so the priest hadn't made the sign of the cross yet. Did I fulfill my Sunday obligation or do I have to go again in the evening? I read that you have to be there for the whole of the Mass in order to fulfill the obligation, http://catholicism.about.com/b/2009/07/03/reader-question-our-sunday-duty-and-holy-communion.htm[/url]
so I'm worried about this. Please answer if you have any idea about this, thanks.
The beginning and end of Mass are not directly relevant to your question. What you want to know is: did I meet my obligation?

The answer is: yes, of course, you did.

Being a few minutes late for Mass does not prevent you from fulfilling your obligation.

IMHO we should be in the pew before the Entrance Procession and remain there until after the Recession.

You were a little later than I think you would've liked but please be at peace: you most certainly met your obligation.
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Old Aug 18, '13, 5:57 am
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Default Re: When does mass start?

When I was a kid we were never late (at least that I can recall), so this wasn't something we ever considered. Once I got old enough to where I was responsible for getting myself to Mass, my mother told me that if I wasn't there by the time the Gospel started, I shouldn't bother coming. She's mellowed a bit since then, apparently. We had several families at our parish who were in the habit of showing up after the Gospel, receiving Communion then filing out. When I mentioned this to my mother she said, "Well, at least they're at Mass." I tried to explain that they hadn't actually fulfilled their obligation, but she felt it was the effort that counted. I have a feeling that if I showed up for dinner after everyone had been served, ate over the sink in the kitchen then grabbed a piece of pie and walked out, she wouldn't feel that my effort had counted.
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Old Aug 18, '13, 5:57 am
Bergon Bergon is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

I'm interested to know why several members think the Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross. I ask because IMHO I see the Entrance as the start of the Mass. The GIRM (#47) says, regarding the Entrance Chant: "Its purpose is to open the celebration ...". The Entrance is described in the GIRM. It seems to me part of the Mass; not something apart from it.

I'm genuinely interested in the reason people have for regarding the Sign of the Cross as the start of the Mass. I'm certainly not interested in starting any argument about who's right or wrong. I really just want to know the basis for your opinions.
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Old Aug 18, '13, 6:01 am
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peace2all24 View Post
Thanks for your reply. Since I was late for about 2-3 minutes, does this mean I must go again? Or do I just make an act of reparation like the Father said through prayer. I didn't want to go late or anything, I usually try to go early, but as I went in the morning it was a little more difficult for me. If i don't go will it be a mortal sin?
please do not be scrupulous.

You have not committed a sin and do not need to go to anther mass.
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Old Aug 18, '13, 7:30 am
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YoungTradCath YoungTradCath is offline
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Default Re: When does mass start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergon View Post
I'm interested to know why several members think the Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross. I ask because IMHO I see the Entrance as the start of the Mass. The GIRM (#47) says, regarding the Entrance Chant: "Its purpose is to open the celebration ...". The Entrance is described in the GIRM. It seems to me part of the Mass; not something apart from it.

I'm genuinely interested in the reason people have for regarding the Sign of the Cross as the start of the Mass. I'm certainly not interested in starting any argument about who's right or wrong. I really just want to know the basis for your opinions.
Because there are all sorts of contingencies that arise if we consider this the beginning of Mass.

What if a hymn is sung, then the proper Introit is sung in its rightful place? Which one fulfills the "Entrance Chant?" If the EC is the beginning of Mass, if I miss the hymn, but I am there for the Introit, do I really miss part of Mass?

Or what if there is a nice, meditative Ave Maria sung as the procession begins, then two seconds later the "real" EC begins? Who is to say which song, in a juridical sense, is the EC? Could the case not be made that, regardless of intention, the Ave Maria is technically the EC, since it accompanies the procession, even for only a short bit?

In the EF, at Low Mass, the Introit is recited after the Sign of the Cross. Since there is no "liturgical rupture," or there isn't supposed to be, what do we make of this scenario?

Unless there is a juridical rule that says the EC must be the Proper Introit, or more clearly, unless the EC is strictly defined, which in the OF it is anything but that, then it cannot be argued effectively that this or that song is the EC, unless there is only one song. Adding songs compounds the confusion. Therefore, it is difficult to argue, in the OF, that the EC is the beginning of Mass.

I agree in some vague sense that it is cosmically wrong to not be present for the EC. But unless the EC is strictly defined, it is difficult to argue that the EC is the beginning of Mass because of the myriad contingent cases. Whereas, in the EF, it is easy to argue that the EC is the beginning of sung Mass--although I don't think a lot of people do argue it--because the EC is strictly defined as the Proper Introit. Nothing can replace it in a sung Mass. Yes, you can have a hymn accompany the procession, but the Introit must be sung after it. In the OF, nearly anything can be used at the procession. In the EF Low Mass, the first act is the Sign of the Cross, so that begins Mass in that case.

I am basically saying that, because the definition of "Entrance Chant" in the Ordinary Form is so amorphous and loose, we can't determine what is in fact the Entrance Chant at any given Mass if there is more than one song during the Procession. Tradition dictates that there is not more than one "Entrance Chant" strictly speaking, so if we've got an OF Mass on Sunday with two songs during the procession, which one is the Entrance Chant?

Since this is all so ambiguous, at least in the OF, the easiest demarcation is the Sign of the Cross.
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