Does a mass celebrated at 3pm on a Saturday fulfil the Sunday obligation?

In this case is a Mass with the Saturday liturgy starting at 3 pm. But would it mattered if it was the Sunday liturgy? Thanks!

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Not if it’s the Saturday Mass and not the Vigil Mass for Sunday

The canon does not distinguish between the liturgy used.

“Canon 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.”


4 PM is the earliest the vigil Mass can be celebrated, AFAIK. Any Mass prior to that would not fulfill the Sunday obligation.

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That;s for Holy Days of Obligation, not Saturday Mass vs the Vigil Mass for Sunday.

Generally but not always. I believe there are churches in Kansas City and Las Vegas that have Masses at 2:30 on Saturday that fulfill the Sunday obligation. There may be others.

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Is it the case that the “Sunday” masses must fall within a 24hour window? I imagine so.



Don’t know the answer to that.

I guess they had to get permission from their Bishop?

The answer is in the plain reading of the canon above (which is apt to the obligation to assist at Mass on both Sundays and other days of obligation).

Assist at Mass either: (i) On the feast day itself (24 continuous hours reckoned from midnight), or (ii) in the evening of the preceding day. ie A larger than 24hour window.

No, I will not tell you when evening begins. I will only tell you that (according to my understanding) there are legitimate differing views on the matter.

If memory serves me correctly both those two churches are cathedrals…if so there would have to be approval by the Bishop. Actually you would need approval by the Bishop in any case, assume.

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If the bishop says so, it’s fine. Doesn’t matter what liturgy it is, though ideally it should be the Mass for Sunday. AFAIK there is no “24-hour window”. If I’m not mistaken, “evening” can be any time after noon, though 4 pm Saturday is the usual cutoff time.

I have to think the Church could even give permission for Mass to be heard on Monday, perhaps for a mission area where that is the soonest the priest could get there after he has said Mass elsewhere on Sunday. That would be up to the Church to bind and loose, and would probably require special permission from Rome. I’ve never heard of this happening.

That is a question for the local pastor. There may be an indult or dispensation in play.

In general, it is 4 pm or later on Saturday for the Sunday obligation.

No, Jim. There is absolutely no requirement for any certain readings for a person to fulfill their obligation for Sunday or a Holy Day.

A person who attends a wedding mass, a funeral mass, or other ritual mass might have readings that are not the Sunday readings, and they still fulfill their obligation. They can attend the OF or EF. They can attend Latin Rite or another rite.

Even if a priest celebrated the Saturday daily mass, a person attending at 7 pm on Saturday fulfills their Sunday obligation.


Canon law defines the day— midnight to midnight. A person may fulfill the Sunday obligation all day Sunday (12 to 12). They may also fulfill it the evening before. Evening is generally understood to begin at 4 pm as the word in Canon Law is vespere. However, a place may have an indult or some other sort of exception. In that case it would be whatever time through midnight on Saturday, plus midnight to midnight Sunday.


The short answer is that we can’t tell you definitively on your situation. It seems odd to me that there would be a liturgy intended to fulfill the obligation that wasn’t the liturgy of the obligatory day.

I never heard of a Saturday Mass celebrated after 12 noon and would not fulfill the Sunday obligation.

Also, I’m not sure about attending a wedding or funeral Mass fulfilling the obligation

I’ve always been told that they do not count for Sunday Mass obligation and I have never seen a funeral Mass offered on Sundays anyway.

The canon is both plain and specific. It’s already been provided. I don’t know what else you need. Whoever told you that you had to have certain readings to fulfill the obligation was mistaken.

You fulfill your obligation by attending A mass, not a specific kind of mass and not one with certain readings, on the day of or evening before the day of obligation.

It does not matter which liturgy is used. For the time see Edward N. Peters, JD, JCD, who states:

The leading British-Irish commentary on canon law reads as follows: “What is ‘the evening of the previous day’? Despite the view of some commentators that this should be interpreted as beginning only at 1400 hours (2 pm) on that day, it is the firm view of this commentary that the evening of the previous day begins at midday (12 noon) on that day itself. In some dioceses there is a local regulation to the effect that the so-called vigil or anticipated Mass may not be celebrated before, say, 5 pm or 6 pm: this is normally for pastoral reasons, e.g. to facilitate weddings or funerals in the parish and other churches. Those regulations do not in any way concern the time prescribed for fulfilling the obligation to assist at Mass : thus, e.g., if . . . a person were to attend a nuptial Mass in the early afternoon on a Saturday, that person would thereby have fulfilled the [Sunday] obligation.” (Fr.) Raymond Browne, Letter & Spirit (1995) 702, emphasis added. For a contrary view, see J. Huels, CLSA New Comm (2001) 1445.

For reasons that go beyond what I can present in a blog post, I hold the British-Irish position on this point, but, even if ours turned out to be minority view, it is, I suggest, more than sufficient (per 1983 CIC 14, among others) to defend the conscience of one who attends any Mass in a Catholic rite, beginning any time after 12 noon on Saturday but before midnight between Sunday and Monday, in fulfillment of one’s Sunday obligation.

Is this listed in the bulletin as a regular Mass, or is it a wedding or special event, in which case I’d ask the priest? Or anyone, for that matter. I can’t imagine no one showing up for it.

Your Bishop has decided the hour, so, check with your Pastor. He knows the rules for your Diocese.

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