Christmas vigil mass?


At my parish, I noticed there is a mass at 6 PM on December 24th. Is this to fulfill the Christmas obligation? I know you can fulfill a Sunday obligation with a Saturday evening mass, but I have not heard it clarified about other holy days of obligation.

If so, I look forward to staying awake at the Christmas mass without copious amounts of caffeine at 10 PM! xD


The 6pm vigil Mass will fulfill your obligation.


There are four Masses for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord: Vigil Mass, Mass at Midnight, Mass at Dawn, and Mass During the Day. Any one fulfills the obligation.


This fulfills your Christmas obligation.

It’s importance to realize that since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has allowed Masses on the evening prior to a feast to be celebrated according to the upcoming feast.

This is a restoration of the ancient belief of days beginning at sundown, not midnight.

The tradition of Midnight Mass on Christmas is venerable, but since the introduction of the possibility of Mass at a more reasonable hour, the practice of Midnight Mass has fallen into disuse in some places, in favor a a Vigil Mass.

The Local Ordinary has the right to decide the earliest possible time for a Mass to count as a vigil. In most dioceses, any Mass celebrated after 4:00 p.m. on the day leading up to a solemnity is considered a vigil, although this is not always true.

An example of an exception to the rule is today, actually. Yesterday was the Second Sunday of Advent, and today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Even if a Mass was celebrated in the evening on Sunday, it would be considered the Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent, since the solemnity of a Sunday Mass supersedes that of the Mass of the Immaculate Conception in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.


The vigil mass at 6pm Christmas Eve does indeed probably count as Christmas mass.

Fair warning though, in our parish, Christmas Eve is usually about 2-3 times as crowded as Christmas morning (we have had to sit in the church entrance before in temporary seating, and I think other years we have been turned away all together for fire regulations).

So you may want to arrive early :wink:


Yes, of course it will satisfy your obligation. Canon Law says

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

There is a Mass called “Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ” on December 24. Some parishes celebrate that one at any Mass before Midnight Mass; other parishes start celebrating the Midnight Mass liturgy as early as 4 p.m.

There are 4 specific liturgies for Christmas (Vigil, Night, Dawn & Day).

Before the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal was promulgated, the priest was free to pick which readings he’d do at Masses, he could opt to read the Mass during the Night readings at all the Masses. I don’t know if that mix-and-match permission is still there.


Yes, it does.
In my Parrish the Sunday mass celebrated at Saturday are held at 0100 pm and are therefor celebrated a few hours to early to count as a Sunday mass, but when I mentioned this to my priest he said it didn’t matter as long as it was the exact same mass as the one held on Sunday.
So with the blessing of my priest Im going to sunday mass at Saturday when I’m prevented from going on Sunday.

The Christmas obligation are fulfilled if you go to the Vigil at the 24 December or at the midnight mass or the 11am mass at Christmas Day.

God Bless you and Merry Christmas to you and yours;)
And Happy IC day!

  • Peace in Christ


Are they 4hours long? :eek:


I think the poster was indicating that, if he were to attend a 6 pm Mass, he wouldn’t have to resort to drinking lots of caffeine to stay awake for a 10 pm Mass.


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