Does Saturday Mass count toward Sunday obligation?

My wife and I go to mass on saturday (4:30pm) does this count toward our sunday obligation, i heard the sun has to have set for it to be considered the next day, i don’t think this qualifies, mass is a hour over at 5:30 pm does it count or not?

The Saturday evening Mass has to be the Mass of Sunday, not the Mass of Saturday, or a wedding Mass. I do not believe that there is any rule about sundown except for one Mass, that of the Easter Vigil; it is to start time-wise after sundown. So 4:30 is fine.

It is my understanding that any mass said by a priest, in union with the pope, after 4 pm Saturday and before mid-night Sunday qualifies.

The 4 pm is arbitrary. I think it can be changed by the bishop.

The exact start time for a Saturday Mass to qualify as a Vigil Mass is set by the diocese. It seems to be most often 4:00 pm or later from the different dioceses that I’ve lived in.

Since Vigil Mass became recognized as fulfilling our Sunday obligation when the Church decided to draw upon the Jewish tradition of the day starting at sundown, it is pretty clear that the time period at least ought to approximate late in the day. For example, where I live, it is dark at 4:30 in late December, but obviously light out in June.

I think that a 3:00 pm Mass clearly “pushes the envelope”, as that is really mid-afternoon. I’d find it hard to believe that any diocese accepts 3:00 pm as a Vigil Mass. But I’d also be interested in hearing from others if there are such dioceses.

[quote=dizzy_dave]My wife and I go to mass on saturday (4:30pm) does this count toward our sunday obligation, i heard the sun has to have set for it to be considered the next day, i don’t think this qualifies, mass is a hour over at 5:30 pm does it count or not?
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It counts if the Bishop has given his approval and the readings are for the Sunday.

Las Vegas has a 2:30 vigil mass at the Guardian Angels Cathedral right there on the strip. The bishop gave permission for the mass to start so early because there is such a great demand for masses. They start at 2:30 and contine for many more masses after that. That is a good sign! That shows that Catholics take time from their vacation fun to remember what comes first. :tiphat:

I went to church for the 2:30 mass last spring at 2:15 and I thought I had arrived early. I was lucky to find a pew. People were up in the balcony, standing outside and every seat was taken before 2:30. It was a beautiful mass. The priest and readers spoke in beautiful tones. A most inspiring homily was delivered. The cantor was definitely a professional singer. I definitely recommend the Guardian Angels Cathedral for all Catholic tourists in Las Vegas.

The Canon Law: Letter & Spirit commentary on canon 1248 §1 opines that noon is the earliest that a Mass can start on Saturday and still count for Sunday obligation.

[quote=Catholic2003]The Canon Law: Letter & Spirit commentary on canon 1248 ¤1 opines that noon is the earliest that a Mass can start on Saturday and still count for Sunday obligation.
[/quote]

I’d been wondering about the exact time. You see, this past weekend my girlfriend and I attended a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Olympia WA sponsored by the Eparchy of Van Nuys. We attended two Divine Liturgies during our stay there (one of them was a hierarchical Liturgy with His Grace Bishop William Skurla celebrating!!! Oooohhhh that was definitely an awe-inspiring Liturgy), and I believe that the Hierarchical Liturgy on Saturday started at around 11, but continued for almost two hours after that.

It was indeed quite beautiful, although my feet were starting to hurt after standing for an hour-and-a-half long Matins service prior to Divine Liturgy. lol. Anyway, I bring this up because my girlfriend and I returned back to the Tri-Cities late Saturday night, and while she attended Mass on Sunday with a friend, I was busy playing for the Lutheran congregation that I used to belong to before being received into full communion with Rome.

You see, without prior consultaiton, my mother had told the organist there that I would be happy to play for the two morning services and an evening service. So I was stuck. Between services at the protestant church I snuck accross to St. Joe’s and attended the Liturgy of the Word of the Spanish Mass, which was better than nothing. Obviously, this does not meet the obligation since I was not present for the Sacrifice. I could not attend any of the evening Masses offered in the Tri-Cities because they all conflicted with the previous comittment that had been made. I NEVER allow work for the protestants to interfere with my obligation to attend Mass. In fact, I try to attend Mass and receive communion BEFORE playing for protestants and AFTER playing for protestants (which doesn’t happen very often, thankfully). But this time I was sorta stuck and couldn’t fulfill my obligation. Since the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was still going on at noon and the consecration did not take place until after noon, am I ok? sigh If only I were canonically Byzantine… I could have gone to the Orthodox parish in town and licitly fulfilled my obligation. No such luxury for us Romans.

Any eucharistic liturgy that is offered according to a Catholic rite – and this includes Eastern Catholic liturgies – that takes place on Saturday afternoon or evening counts toward Sunday. The readings of the Mass do not matter. An afternoon wedding Mass would count. A Saturday vigil Mass would count. The Church, to date, has not been as specific as we might like about the timing of vigil Masses. Unless or until Rome is more specific, a general rule of thumb is that anything in the afternoon and/or evening of the previous Saturday will fulfill the Sunday obligation.

§1 The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a Catholic rite either on a holy day itself or on the evening of the previous day
(canon 1248).

Evening, please note, tends to be elastic because of the sun setting later in the day during the summer. A 5 PM wedding Mass that starts in full daylight in summer would be at twilight during the winter. In places in the far north, the sun doesn’t set until late at night. But both the “afternoon” and “evening” wedding Masses would fulfill the Sunday obligation.

Please see this post at Jimmy Akin’s blog for more information.

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