Didnt go to Christmas Mass. Is it a sin?

Where I live, there’s not a lot of appreciation for tradition, so we don’t have a “Midnight Mass” anywhere near. Because of that, I always thought that if I went to a Christmas Vigil Mass, I would be fulfilling my obligation. But after going to the Christmas Eve’s Mass this year, I discovered that it didn’t fulfill the Christmas Holy Day of Obligation!!

(An important factor is that I’m still underage) So on Christmas day, I told my dad that we needed to go to Mass again, and he told me that he didn’t care and that we already went to the Vigil Mass.
I still tried to contact a Parish near us, but they weren’t open. The day went by and I didn’t go.

I feel like I could have done more to try to Fulfill my obligation. Maybe I could’ve contacted other parishes, or maybe I should’ve asked my aunt if she could come with me. But I didn’t…

Do you think it is a sin that I need to confess?

Christmas vigil fulfills the obligation. It wouldn’t if you went to mass Christmas Eve at 7am or whatever, but the vigil in the evening, even before midnight, is valid.


Why do you think this?


In the first place, I wish the Church wouldn’t voluntarily attach “obligation” of grave matter to (non-Sunday) Holy Days because it gets people in this legalistic and anxious mindset.

As for your case, I’m pretty confident Vigil Mass counts. But even if not, I hardly see any sign of mortal sin on your part.

If it was in the evening, it was Christmas Mass. Perhaps you remember the Gospel; it would have mentioned Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

If you went in the morning (and the Gospel was the Canticle of Zechariah, didn’t mention Jesus, Mary, and Joseph), then yes, you missed it, but still you should not worry about it being a sin because you did try and you had to obey your father.

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You did fulfill the obligation if you went to the Vigil mass.


Masses 4p or later (Vigil Masses) count. Not sure where you heard otherwise. Same as going to 4p Saturday counting as your Sunday morning obligation.

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The reality is that if there’s no obligation, most people wouldn’t bother to attend Mass, and in some areas where priests are scarce, there might not even be a Mass made available on the particular day, or its vigil.
Sad but true.

I echo the other posters in asking where you got this idea?

If you went to the vigil Mass, then it fulfilled the obligation. That is the point of having Christmas Eve vigil Masses.

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That’s true. I’m not really sure if that’s the reasoning behind it in the first place, though.

It seems your dad told you you didn’t have to go again. Did you ask him to explain why? You say you discovered the vigil Mass did not fulfill the obligation. Where did you discover this? Extremely erroneous information.

Attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is a Precept of the Church.
The Precepts of the Church set forth the minimum level of effort/ participation/ activities that a Catholic needs to do in order to practice his faith.
That is “the reasoning behind it in the first place.”

The Catechism states:

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

Yes i see.

But wouldn’t it be debatable, in the first place? Jan 1st is a Holy Day for example. Why? Who decides?

I’m fine with Holy Days. I like celebrating the Faith. But I’m just saying that I don’t totally get making certain rules grave matter because they cause anxiety like the poster above.

I’ve always thought of the Obligation days as those that reminds me that Jesus isn’t just “something I do on Sundays” (that kind of mentality, not that I actually think that). It’s a reminder to all of us that every day should be ordered towards prayer and Christ; even if it happens to be in the middle of the week and inconvenient. Any time it’s been tough schedule-wise and I wish I could stay at work longer to fix things I offer it up in penance for all the times I could’ve prayed or been to mass and I didn’t because I’m lazy.

It’s fine being grave matter because me not going (without proper cause) is like I’m saying the Lord gets Sunday but I can’t be bothered to join with my fellow Christians and pray a mass together on any other day. As for Jan. 1, why wouldn’t the Church like to tell us that we have to sanctify a new year by praying the mass together?

(Not saying that’s your attitude, just saying that’s what my annoyance usually feels like when I have it.)

The Magisterium decides how many holy days Catholics need and which days they will be, with a realistic eye towards whether it will be reasonably possible for Catholics to fulfill their obligation. For example, it’s highly unlikely that the Church would make 300 days out of the year Holy Days of Obligation because many people would find it a hardship to get to that many Masses, and many areas might even have a hard time offering enough Masses for every Catholic in the area to attend them.

The holy days selected reasonably reflect aspects of Church teaching that one would expect the Church to emphasize, such as Jesus’ birthday and the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

Celebrating a New Year is not a dogma or key point of the Catholic Faith (sounds pretty pagan to me actually). Honoring Our Blessed Mother is a key point of the Catholic Faith and it makes good sense to me to start off the year by honoring her, since we just had a big Holy Day honoring Jesus the previous week.

Of course it does. I have no idea who told you it didn’t, but they are wrong.

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