1:00 a.m. Christmas Mass


One Catholic gentleman recently learned that an out of state Roman Catholic Church has a Mass scheduled at 1:00 a.m. on December 25th.
Would this be the equivalent of a Midnight Mass?


This is going to sound weird, but… in the Catholic Church, there is no “Midnight Mass”, per se. In celebration of the solemnity of the Nativity of Christ, there is a ‘Vigil Mass’, a ‘Mass during the Night’, a ‘Mass at Dawn’, and a ‘Mass during the Day.’

So, whether Mass is at 10pm, midnight, or 1am, it’s all the “Mass at Night.” :wink:


It’s tough to second guess a priest, but I’ve been told that a day is from midnight to midnight.

I would check to see if it’s really valid.


I’m not sure what you mean by “equivalent” however there would be nothing different about a Mass at 1:00 AM compared to a Mass at Midnight itself; not with regard to the time alone.

There’s a certain symbolism to beginning Mass at Midnight (even though it’s no longer literally the middle-point of the night as far as sunset/sunrise is concerned). That symbolic meaning would be the only thing to make it different, and therefore not “equivalent.” This distinction doesn’t amount to much.

Also, it depends on the parish schedule. Maybe one priest is celebrating a more solemn Mass at Midnight itself and a different priest (or even the same one) will be celebrating at 1:00 AM, with less solemnity. There’s no way of knowing. Again, things like this would make it different, but not in any meaningful way.

As far as any differences that actually matter: no, there’s no difference between the two times.


Why check to see if it’s valid?

There’s nothing about a 1:00 AM start time that would even come close to calling into question the validity of the Mass.




There was a time (in early Christianity) when Easter Vigil took all night until dawn.

In the last century, there used to be 3 AM “printers’ Masses” and 2 AM “actors’ Masses” every Sunday morning in many big cities, so that night shift workers could fast from midnight, get to Mass and fulfill their obligation, and then go home and sleep safe.

Having a 1 AM Christmas Mass is well within the rules and regs and traditions of the Church. Sounds great for night-owls!

It’s also very pastoral for certain parishes in an area to offer oddball Mass times, because it helps people from other parishes have an “emergency Mass” to attend if stuff happens.


Yes just like Midnight Mass -


What’s the difference between each of these Masses? My church has several “Christmas Eve Masses” (I think to account for the sheer number of people who show up) and one “Christmas Day Mass”. I thought they would all be the same Mass (like the Saturday night/Sunday morning) - are they actually different depending on which you attend?


There is a difference in Mass readings between Masses; different sets of readings for Christmas depending on the time the Mass is celebrated. , the vigil Mass, Mass during the night, Mass at Dawn and Mass during the day. They are all valid Mass celebrations for the Nativity of the Lord. Enjoy the final days of Advent in joyful hope.Have a peaceful and blessed Christmas.


I had never heard of such!


The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord begins at Vespers on December 24. While there are four selections of propers and readings that can be applied to Masses for this solemnity, they are all considered “Christmas”. In fact, the priest may select one set of propers and readings and use them at all four Mass times! So you see, the “day” of a Sunday or solemnity lasts longer than 24 hours, from Vespers through Midnight until the next Midnight.


Midnight Mass has become the norm in a lot of Catholic Churches; however, the Mass is properly titled “The Nativity of the Lord: Mass during the Night”. A lot of parishes have their “Mass during the Night” around 8 pm. It need not be at midnight.

The readings are also another story. A priest can use any set of readings from any of the four Masses of Christmas.


“Has become”? Why don’t you try: Midnight Mass was the norm for hundreds of years until the Vatican II reforms turned it into “Mass during the Night”.


Hmm, the Latin texts prior to VII call it “Missa in nocte”, which translates to “Mass during the Night”.


Christmas Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. This obligation can be satisfied by attending any Mass on the evening of Christmas Eve and any Mass on Christmas Day.
The readings are irrelevant with regard to fulfilling the obligation.


I’m not terribly concerned with fulfilling the obligation - I love attending Mass and often attend daily (I’m also only a catechumen, so I don’t think I’m subject to the obligation yet, though I know we are encouraged to practice it). My question was more in the realm of, if I attended both Midnight Mass and Christmas Day Mass, would I be hearing the same mass twice, or is it two different masses?


What do you mean by different Masses?



The Masses were also identified throughout the world as

“Dominus dixit”

“Lux fulgebit hodie”

“Puer natus est”

These come from the first line of the Introit, which is now very seldom used.


As in different readings, different Gospels, etc. As an example, the Saturday evening Mass is the same, content wise, as the Sunday morning Mass (other than variations in the homily, depending on who is delivering it). One of the posters above mentioned that there are “four Masses”, and I was trying to clarify whether this meant I would hear different readings depending on which Mass I went to.

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