I wonder if someone can help me with this: I just came from a Saturday 5:30 pm (Sunday Vigil) Mass which ended with a closing hymn after communion. The priest did not give a final blessing or a dismissal. Did this fulfill my obligation, or should I go to another Mass on Sunday? I appreciate any insight you can give.
Was there anything following the Mass? That can be a valid reason to omit the blessing and dismissal. One example is if Mass is followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Or did he simply leave during the final hymn, with nothing else?
You might be accidentally mixing illicitness with validity. In lay-man’s terms, licitness regards whether something is allowed or not; validity regards whether something exists or not. So, something illicit would be the priest wearing a baseball cap during Mass. Something invalid would be using steak instead of bread for the Host. Something that is invalid is illicit, but something that is illicit does not always make something invalid.
Anyway, in regards to your question, your Sunday Obligation is fulfilled (based upon the information given by you. There might be other information that I don’t know about that would mean that you didn’t fulfill your obligation).
We should be more charitable. Often, there are people that need a quick and simple answer to a specific question, and this provides a great forum in which to do it. Furthermore, not everyone understands or knows the difference between validity and licitness. People that are not veterans to the forums might not take the time to read the stickies, and to know the difference. Just because people continuously tell me that the Immaculate Conception refers to the Incarnation does not mean that I get angry and upset. I just explain it, again and again, charitably.
A few years back, I went to morning Mass one day. The priest seemed quite preoccupied throughout Mass and, after making some brief announcements following Communion, simply walked off into the sacristy without giving the final blessing.
I’ve never otherwise known him to omit it, so it must simply have been genuine forgetfulness or distraction.
Perhaps he had just received some bad (or distractingly good?) news prior to Mass or something and forgot for that reason.
Actually, this is not correct, and it’s a mistake I’ve had to correct more than a few times. The Eucharist, by itself, does not amount to a Mass. If a priest has bread and wine and says the words of Consecration with the proper intention, then you have the Eucharist. But was it a Mass? No, clearly not: for instance, the Code of Canon Law makes it a grave sin to confect the Eucharist outside the context of the Mass. To be a Mass, you need the Eucharist (obviously), but also things like an Offertory and the priest’s communion. For instance, if a priest does everything you normally see at Sunday Mass but neglects to actually consume the Eucharist itself, then it was not a Mass (so, for instance, he cannot accept a stipend for it), but the Eucharist was valid.
It’s definitely true that the final dismissal and blessing have no bearing whatsoever on whether the Eucharist was validly consecrated fifteen minutes earlier. It is a more difficult question whether you had a Mass if there was never a dismissal. I suspect that the answer is yes, but it’s not an analytically obvious matter.
In sum, “Was it a valid Eucharist (did it really become Jesus)?” and “Was it a valid Mass?” are two quite different questions. Since a Mass requires more than the Eucharist, even a full explanation of “[a]ll that is needed for a valid Eucharist” will still not fully set forth all that is needed for a valid Mass.
I was not being uncharitable, except to the moderators who could put a lot of people at ease with a sticky. I feel bad for the people like the OP. Their worries could be averted and calmed really quickly if the negligent moderators would put up a sticky on what invalidates a Mass.
I feel bad for the multitude of posters who worry unnecessarily about attending an invalid Mass because the priest failed to do this or that. They have to post a message and then wait for a response from someone to get an answer. The moderators could deal with a lot of these people’s worries with a short sticky.
I am very sorry if I caused the OP to think that her question was causing problems. It was not directed at you but at the moderators whose lack of action on this issue causes a lot of people unnecessary worry. I am sorry.
I am sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I am very sorry if I made you feel like that.
I am frustrated because people post all the time worried that the Mass they attended was invalid. The moderators could go a long way to allaying these people’s worries problem with a sticky about what invalidates a Mass.
You worries should have been laid to rest easily. You shouldn’t have to wait to find out whether the Mass you attended was valid or invalid.
I am sorry if I made you feel that you caused a problem.
Thanks for the note. No apology needed, but I appreciate it. I know trying to clarify doctrinal matters can get very frustrating at times. Heaven knows there are probably still quite a few Liturgical liberties taken nowadays, intentionally or not. And the Mass is more important than ever now in these creepingly secular times. At least in these forums Jesus isn’t just “some wise teacher,” the Golden Rule Guy, or some forerunner of Barney the Dinosaur.