I was at choir practice last night and this came up. Our priest is out of the country and won’t be back until right before Christmas, so it will be difficult to get an answer from him, so I’m going to ask it here.
Christmas Eve is on a Friday. Due to our location and that we have many elderly who don’t drive in the dark, our Christmas Eve service will be Friday at 4pm.
Christmas is then on a Saturday this year.
We were told by our choir director that Christmas mass had to be held before noon on Saturday and that it doesn’t count for Sunday, and that all Christmas day masses must be held before noon.
Then we would have the regular Sunday vigil mass at 4pm on Saturday and Sunday mass at it’s regular time on Sunday.
Our priest has 2 parishes (both extremely small, no more than 100 families combined) and there is a question if he will cancel one of the masses on Saturday.
What is required in a case like this, is he required to do the Christmas Mass and the vigil mass on the same day?
Not true. You can hold Christmas Masses on the evening of the 25th which is a Saturday. But I guess doing it this way lessens the confusion. Some parishes may cancel afternoon and evening Masses because there are Christmas Masses on Friday evening.
we are ommittng our normal Saturday evening Mass on Christmas. We really don’t think many would attend a 5PM on Christmas day and our priests really should be able to spend time with their families on Christmas afternoon and evening. Our latest mass on Christmas day is 12:45.
I hope this helps rather than confuses any more. I am paraphrasing what I’ve read on a few diocesan websites.
Saturday 25th December 2010 is the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord and Sunday 26th December 2010 is the Feast of the Holy Family.
Both holy days are in the General Roman Calendar. Both holy days are in honour of our Lord. Solemnities outrank feasts. Because of this rule the following must apply on the afternoon/evening of Saturday 25th December 2010. 1. Any Mass must be the Mass of the Nativity (there are in fact 3 so it should be the “Mass during the Day”); 2. Evening Prayer should be Evening Prayer 2 of the Nativity; and, 3). Night Prayer should be Night Prayer following Evening Prayer 2 of Sundays and Solemnities.
If a Mass celebrated on the evening of Saturday 25th December 2010 is celebrated after the time your diocesan bishop has ruled that Saturday evening Mass fulfils the Sunday obligation - a Mass after that time should fulfil your Sunday obligation. (From what I have read here on CAF 4 p.m. seems to be the standard time in the US).
The suggestions from the websites that I have been paraphrasing also recommend that it may be a good idea not to have any late afternoon/evening Masses on Saturday 25th December 2010 because 1) it is likely they will be poorly attended and 2) it will avoid any confusion.
To further that point, if a Mass were to be held on Saturday evening it would have to be a Christmas Mass (as Christmas outranks a Feast of the Lord). But again, it’s no recommended so that people avoid conflating the 2 celebrations together instead of keeping them separate.
Most parishes I am familiar with have no afternoon or evening mass on Christmas, whatever day is falls on. The priests are worn out from multiple masses Christmas Eve and Christmas morning and need a rest. In my current parish, and I think in many, the Christmas morning masses are poorly attended. Most people go to the Christmas Eve and Midnight Masses.
The Vietnamese may have an evening mass on Christmas. It would be valid for either the Christmas or the Sunday obligation. I have seen good arguments against attending one mass to fulfill both obligations, but am not prepared to guarantee that. I think it is a poor practice to be chintzy with God.;)]