Is Sunday obligation fulfilled if attending mass in a different language?


This is assuming that one does not speak nor understand the language.

Does this change if the decision to attend mass is based on convenience? Such as needing (or wanting) to go to mass in the morning (offered in a different language) and not in the evening when it is offered in your native language?


Not a problem at all. Latin Mass was almost universal for many years back in the day, even though most people didn’t know the tongue.


Yes. Nothing further to add.


Absolutely, and that’s an excellent point about the Latin Mass. Even today Sunday obligation is fulfilled by attending a Latin Mass. It is also fulfilled by attending a Eastern rite church in union with Rome.

One doesn’t need any justification to attend Mass in a another language.


I sometimes attend mass on Sunday morning in a different language. But mainly because attending mass in the evening in English (when it’s the only time offered) interferes with my day.

I can’t help but feel guilty because I can’t fully participate in the mass and I’m basing my decision on when to go on what is convenient for me.

Am I not in the wrong here?


I have attended masses in other languages out of interest and because it was a language I was learning at the time. I mostly understood much more than I thought I would. I did borrow a missal though so I could read along. I don’t think i would have understood as much by just listening. And I guess knowing the rough content of what’s being said helps pick up the pattern and rough meaning of individual words. I think I even picked up the general drift of the homily even if I couldn’t follow every sentence.


That has been my experience as well. I do understand portions of the mass as I can relate to what is said in English. I’ve made the effort to read the daily gospel readings beforehand so I can have some context but I’m generally lost during the homily.


I’m wondering if it would be possible to get a missal in both languages.


No, you are not in the wrong. You are attending Mass and that’s what is asked of us.

To help you participate more fully, you could take your English missal/missalette with you and follow the readings and such. Nothing is stopping you from saying the responses in English in a very soft voice, or learning them in the language of the Mass you are attending.


Of course, it fulfills your Sunday obligation.
It is still a Mass. I have attended the Spanish Mass at our church many times.


It depends on what the two languages are, and if there is sufficient demand for the book.

In the digital age, you don’t need nearly the demand for a book to make it worth while to print, so the answer is a definitive “maybe”. A friend of mine published a poetry book in the 1980’s, the minimum number of copies was 2000, it isn’t nearly that today. I think he still has a box or two of books in his apartment.


I’m not Catholic yet. I start RCIA in a few weeks. At home I regularly attend mass, however I spend 3-5 months a year in France. I don’t really speak French and have so far only been to Mass once here.

The Mass was in a church thats not usually used. It was way to small for the number of people. I guess it seats 150 and maybe 200 showed up. The priest made a number of jokes I guess about the size of the church or maybe the number of people who had turned up. But as I don’t speak French I didn’t understand. He then asked the congregation to introduce themselves to the person next to them or ask them a question. Again I didn’t understand.

It was all very difficult.

I have no idea what I will do once I am Catholic.


As a child I had a missal to take along on holidays. It had the order of mass arranged in about 6 languages in neat columns so you could compare. It was just the basic parts though, Readings etc were not included.



Used to be in Latin.


You don’t “really” speak the language of the country where you live for three months or more every year? You don’t know enough to say, “Hello, my name is Alex and I’m American”? What went wrong?

Maybe you could arrange to do your RCIA in the parish where you live in France. I’m assuming that they have an RCIA equivalent in France – they don’t have them in every country, I think. It would be good for your French.


I’m going back home to do RCIA.

I speak basic French but not much more than school boy level. The thing about living in France is that you can become really lazy re speaking French. We get TV in English from the UK. Some of the banks have online banking in French, German and English. Some of the utility companies have english speaking contact numbers. You go to the supermarket and you don’t need to speak to anyone. Go to the post office and they now pretty much force customers to use a machine and it has multiple language options. It all just becomes to easy not to bother speaking french.

I do need to try harder.


Any valid mass, regardless of language. Your reason for attending that Mass does not in any way invalidate that Mass.


Yes, any mass in a Catholic rite is ok to go to. It might be more profitable if you can understand it, but it is not at all a sin not to.


That’s great if they’re available (somebody else discussed this in more detail). One of the great things about the Catholic liturgy is that it is essentially the same everywhere, so if you take your English missal with you, you can follow along with the readings.

Working through the prayers in the other language will help you participate in the Mass, and you may find that you come to better appreciate the prayers in English too. It forces you to slow down and actually read the prayer word-for-word instead of just reciting them.


I grew up with the Latin Mass and even learned to be an altar server for that. Years later, I attended a Mass at the Vatican, in St. Peter’s. It was in Italian, but for purposes of the Mass, it sounded close enough to Latin that it really took me back.

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