Attending Mass At Different Parishes

I have never heard that. Just putting it bluntly, Catholics don’t have a concept of “that guy was rude” in Mass — we go for the sake of Almighty God and our own sanctification, and Catholics typically neither know nor care what the other guy does. Catholics tend not to be judgmental about other people’s behavior — everyone is more or less “doing their own thing”.

And I’ve never understood this thing of “leaving right after communion”. You can stay the entire hour to receive, but you can’t manage that last 10 minutes? Are people really that pressed for time? Wait — in the United States, that very well could be. Our entire culture needs to slow down and recollect itself. People are nervous wrecks anymore.

And, as I alluded to above, it’s an American attention span thing. In many (if not most) other cultures, people have a higher tolerance for lengthy explanations. In France and Poland, to use just two examples that are not so far removed from ours (when compared to African or Asian cultures), people take time to go into detail, to consider various aspects, to listen, and to absorb what they discuss. Here, not so much. Everything is sound bites, tweets, texts, and other forms of information conveyed in brief. And I’ve gotten infected with it myself. Occasionally I try to watch the PBS Newshour and the CBC National, and eventually I just throw my hands up, say “this is too much”, and change the channel. Thoughtful discussion and analysis isn’t respected in today’s culture, and this percolates down to inability to appreciate long sermons.

I do find it a bit silly myself… especially as it invalidates fulfillment of holy day obligation (at least that is my understanding).

I don’t think so. Missing everything after the communion rite isn’t essential to having attended Mass. Missing the entire Liturgy of the Word, or even worse, missing the Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer) would be another story.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning missing any of the Mass whatsoever. Absolutely, strictly speaking, once the priest has said “the Mass has ended, go in peace”, Mass is over and you could leave that very minute. In fact, when I first became a Catholic, I reasoned, “well, it’s over, it’s OK to leave”, and I did precisely that. It does speed things along and lets you avoid the scrum that takes place when everyone else leaves at the same time. Then I realized, first of all, that you need to stay after Mass to make a proper thanksgiving (doesn’t have to be that long), and secondly, to leave while the priest is processing, or while the recessional is still playing, may not violate the letter of the law, but arguably, it violates the spirit.

That’s what I always figured… staying after that, I always regarded a matter of decorum. When I was younger and dumber it used to drive me bananas when the priest would hold up that “green light” for the sake of seemingly never ending announcements😏

Another understanding I always had (whether correct or not) is that if I am late, my Mass is valid as long as I arrive in time for the Gospel reading.

I suppose this is one way to respond. To find reasons not to do what one ought. Sad people can’t work as hard to do the opposite.

I’m a history geek and enjoy watching TV news shows from the 1950s-1970s on YouTube. It’s fascinating to see how much longer the film clips were back in the day - some of them would be 45 seconds or a minute long. Broadcast journalism students in the 1980s were taught to limit them to 20-30 seconds. Today…it’s a 5-7 second sound byte.

The Catholic Church does not mandate what parts of the Mass one must be present for in order to “count” as having “attended Mass”.

Many priests, canon lawyers etc have posted their opinions online, but it is just that, opinion.

It seems more likely that the situation of whether you have “met your Mass obligation” is dependent on why you came late/ left early/ missed part of the Mass etc and whether you made a good faith effort to be there, not on whether you were in the worship space (or out in the nave with your toddler listening on the loudspeaker etc) when the entire Liturgy of the Word or even the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist was going on.

Very sad that some cannot understand that their preferences are not laws of nature or of the Church. Welcome to the Ignore bucket.

Ideally and in theory, yes, I’d agree; in practical reality, not so much — just read these forum threads! “I saw this guy at Mass the other day doing ___. What’s wrong with him?!”

I’ve even heard priests give differing opinions on the matter of when to leave and whether it’s rude or not.

Nope; the Church does not define any specifics about parts of the Mass you must be present for to meet your obligation, whether the final blessing, the Gospel, the Eucharistic Prayer, etc.

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So I am hearing… but taking it to the other end of the extreme, can I just come in to cross myself, light a candle and call it good?

No, not to fulfill your obligation; you have to attend Mass - the Church just doesn’t define what that means in a rigid way.


OK, folks, I’ll take your word for it. What you say makes sense. I thought I had read somewhere (and in 46 years of being Catholic, there is a whole lot of “reading somewhere” in my past) that, at the very minimum, you had to be there from the Gospel through the end of the Eucharistic Canon.

That term “Sunday obligation” sounds absolutely horrible. To non-Catholic ears, it makes Catholics sound like these horrible little creeps who, if they weren’t bludgeoned into being in a church for an hour a week through threat from Rome of eternal damnation (and not everyone cares about that kind of thing anymore, it was quite different 75 years ago), would only show up for Easter and for midnight Mass at Christmas time. Couldn’t the Church find a more flattering term?

You probably did read that somewhere, because like I said, priests and canon lawyers love to give their opinions on this question online. Kids also used to be taught in Catholic school that you had to hear certain parts of the Mass in order to qualify as having been to Mass, even though the Church hadn’t taken a position on it and this was just opinion on the part of the teachers.

We’ve had past threads on it here because people have asked the question. The Church doesn’t take an official position on it and just leaves it up to people’s individual consciences to decide.

In that case, maybe it’s best to simply show up on time and stay until the final blessing, like big boys and girls… reasonable impediments aside. Whenever I find that too unbearable, I try to meditate on how bearable it would be to hang from a cross instead. Speaking from personal conscience. Happy Sunday folks )

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I think you have the right idea. I am often late to Mass during the week because it is challenging to fit a Mass around work and other weekday activities, but rarely late on Sunday because of the obligation - I want to make sure I attend a full Mass. Occasionally I’m late if there’s a traffic issue or I’m feeling sick but not sick enough to miss Mass, or something like that.

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