Holy Day of Obligation Overlap

Hello everyone,

I have two questions:

One, I would simply like to know - if a Holy Day of Obligation happens to fall on a Saturday (as All Saint’s Day does this year), does a Saturday vigil Mass “cover both”, or must one also go to Mass on Friday (Vigil) or Sunday? I ask because it seems unlikely that my brother will be able to go to a Mass on Friday, and I’d like to know what sort of changes we’ll need to make.

Two, does the duty of Sabbath rest apply also to holy days of Obligation, even if those days don’t fall on a Sunday? It would stand to reason that the answer is yes, but I’m not sure.


Also, is it permissible to go to a Saturday morning Mass for a Saturday that is a Holy Day, then to go a Saturday evening Mass for Sunday?

You don’t say what country you are in. In the US, when a Holy Day of Obligation falls on a Saturday, the obligation is lifted. This is the case for All Saints Day this year. Going to Saturday evening Mass will fulfill your Sunday obligation. You can always go to an earlier Saturday Mass to hear the readings of the day, in this case, the readings for All Saints and also go to Saturday evening Mass.

I am in Ireland at the moment. Thanks for responding.

It is true that (in the U.S.) the obligation is lifted when All Saints Day, Mary Mother of God, and the Assumption fall on a Saturday or Monday. But it is not the case for the Immaculate Conception and Christmas.

Just clarifying for completeness. :slight_smile:

With regards to Ireland, I’m not sure. You’d have to check with the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The only thing I found on their website lists the Holy Days of Obligation but says nothing about them being abrogated if they fall on a Saturday or a Monday:


In any case, I know this issue has been discussed before and I’m not sure that there’s a definitive answer. Canon Law says:

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.

Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

So Canon Law does list both the “rest” requirement and the obligation to attend Mass as pertaining to both Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

There certainly would be no problem with going to Mass in the morning for All Saints and on Saturday evening for the Sunday.

Whether or not you could go Saturday evening and have it count for both is disputed. Some say yes. Others say no. To be on the safe side, I’d go to two Masses.

Each day has an obligation to attend Mass.

We do not fulfill two separate and distinct obligations by attending one Mass.

Some have said that we do. In the words of the then-Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura saying that we can fulfill two obligations with one Mass is “just plain wrong.”

What I would suggest for your brother is to talk to the pastor. His pastor can help guide him to discern whether or not it’s impossible to attend Mass on Sunday (since you say that he can do so on Saturday), or if he needs a dispensation from the Sunday obligation (which a pastor can give).

In Ireland All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation.
It is specifically listed as a HDO this year (not just in general).

As for the Sabbath rest on Solemnities, the answer to your question is “yes.”
There is a moral obligation, however Church law does not define this exactly (certainly not the way our Jewish brethren define the rest). The point is to do what we can to keep the day holy, and to avoid what makes the day profane. We do what we can. Or maybe say “we avoid what we can avoid.”

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