Attending vigil


For several years now I have not been able to attend the vigil. Now finally the local buses are going to begin running in the evenings from 7pm-11pm. And that’s on Saturdays too. I was told by a fellow parishioner that the vigil is over at 6PM. That leaves an hour to sit around. I will talk to the priest about this but I thought I’d ask here too. If it’s cold and rainy or such and I have to sit around for a hour, would that be a valid excuse to attend just the weekday Mass? In the winter anyway?



Bill, we can’t tell you that. It is for you to discern given all the facts of your specific situation, and best discerned with the help of your pastor.


Just a note, I think technically the Saturday evening Mass is usually a “Mass of Anticipation”, rather than a true Vigil Mass, which has specific readings, etc. for a Vigil.

Anyway, I echo 1ke that this is something for you to decide: probably depends on different factors: weather, your state of health, if there is a place to wait, if you have other obligations (work, taking care of family), etc.


The priests here on CAF have explained that it is neither to be called a vigil Mass or an Anticipatory Mass. It is just the regular Sunday Mass on Sat. evening. There is no difference in the Mass if it is said on Sat. evening or Sunday morning, and the obligation is fulfilled at either time.


CB - - Thanks for the clarification! I read something once (a while ago) and thought I knew it all. :slight_smile: Not the case…


Correct it’s just a Sunday Mass; however there are some evening Masses that are quite properly “vigil” Masses with their own readings. Christmas is one, Pentecost is another (which is always on Sunday) and some feasts like the solemnity of St. John the Baptist. And there’s the Easter Vigil which is a particular case.

But on normal Sundays during the seasons (Advent, Lent, Eastertide and OT), the Sunday Mass is just a Sunday Mass celebrated the previous evening on what is “liturgically” Sunday (after Sundown/First Vespers).


Or the Lord’s Day. (dies dominici, in Latin) Christianized term

Sunday is solis dies in Latin or heméra helíou in Greek (midnight to midnight) more pagan.


My Parish has a board out front and it mentions Vigil on Saturdays. I don’t know then what that’s about.



Many parishes do this. It’s been actually widely accepted that way but as some have posted, it can be confusing on Easter and Pentecost. Eve is similarly a problem on Christmas.


The common meaning of vigil is evening.

Etymology: Anglo-French and Old French vigile “watch, guard; eve of a holy day” (12c.), from Latin vigilia “a watch, watchfulness,” from vigil “watchful, awake, on the watch, alert,” …


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