Is this still a legitimate mass?


I am on a retreat team at my college. During the first retreat in fall quarter, the priest chose to do a mass with readings that he chose - not the readings specified by the Church. For this upcoming retreat, I am not sure if this is going to be happening again.

Although the priest may be choosing his own mass readings, is this mass still legitimate? Is it valid? My main question is this: Does it fulfill the sunday obligation?

Thank you :slight_smile:

If the mass does not happen after 4pm on Saturday or some time Sunday then, no it does not fulfill the Sunday obligation.

And, yes a priest can choose the readings at Mass and it still be a valid mass. Think about the nuptial mass. Some times it is the couple that chooses the readings instead of the priest, but the wedding/marriage is still licit.

Thank you very much for your response.

The retreat is over the weekend, and the mass is Sunday morning.

I guess I just thought that since it was the “Sunday Mass” (the mass that we are required to go to every week) that it would somehow be different than a nuptial mass – and therefore the priest would not be able to choose whatever readings he wants.

The mass at the retreat is the mass that will be fulfilling our weekly (Sunday) obligation – so is it still okay for the priest to choose his own readings?

If the priest changes the readings it will most likely be something to do with the theme of the retreat. So, if you grab coffee with someone on Monday mornings and discuss the readings you might want to read on your own the “regular” readings for that day. Otherwise you should be good to go.

However, while this might work for Ordinary Time, this probably may not fly during the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. Ordinary Time is more flexible.

I just wanted to jump in here and add something.

When you said the priest may change the readings I assumed that you meant he changes them to reflect the common formula. They still need to be 3 and one from the Gospel.

If you end up with only 1 or 2 and no Gospel then I’d seriously consider finding an afternoon mass with a different priest.

There is also the possibility that the priest is using readings for the Saint’s day (whoever’s day it is) even though it’s Sunday. Why don’t you ask the priest how he choose the readings if he doesn’t say anything in his homily.

Can you explain what you mean by “may not fly” and “flexible?”

Thank you

Now, for parishes that have a Patronal feast during Ordinary Time, that is certainly an option. However, the readings for Sundays in Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter take precedence over any other day.

If he does end up doing different readings, there will definitely be 1 Old, 1 New, and 1 Gospel.

So, if he were to use different readings, would it still fulfill the Sunday obligation?

ask the priest if you have doubts
generally you should assume if he is offering Mass at the normal time to fill the Sunday obligation for the retreatants, that the readings are approved for that. He knows more about it, that is his job. Unless you know for sure the readings cannot be substituted such as for a major feast or Sundays of Lent and Advent, assume the readings are acceptable.


We do not sing or say the Gloria at Sunday Mass (except on Easter and Christmas) I have alwasy thought that the Gloria was to be sung at every Sunday MAss except during Lent and Advent. Any answers to if this is true…

Also we use crystal glasses and bowls for the Holy Eucharist… are these proper vessels that are approved by the Church… if not how do you approach your Priest about using the proper vessels???

Thanks and God Bless:thumbsup:

I wouldn’t sweat this one. Which readings are used could have a bearing on the liceity (not the validity) of the Mass, but so can a variety of other things. The short version is, if,in good faith, one attends a Mass that is properly scheduled as a Sunday (or Holy Day) Mass, the “obligation” is met. Liceity doesn’t affect that.

from what i know, if you don’t follow the Church prescribed Sunday readings (such as in a funeral or wedding) then its not a Sunday mass even if its done on a sunday

its still a legitimate mass, but not a Sunday mass

That premise would put a burden on the faithful since they are not in control (and in most cases have no prior knowledge of) which reading are used. People who show up in good faith for a scheduled Sunday Mass cannot be held to a further “obligation” due to an error (whether intentional or otherwise) on the part of the priest (or the “liturgy committee” etc) who selected inappropriate readings.

Canon law specifies how you meet your Sunday obligation:

Can. 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. source]

This entire thing has me curious. I can not find anything that upholds this. Googled, USCCB’ed, CCC’ed.

Everything I find simply says that we are to assist in the mass and receive the Eucharist on Sunday.

At my parish on the Easter Vigil, our deacon read the wrong Gospel. According to you statement above, none of the people attending that mass fulfilled their Easter obligation.

i’ll look for it, i’m at work now

but i know i read something that a mass such as a funeral mass or wedding mass, is different from a sunday mass, even if its done during sunday because the liturgy is different

Okay, I can see that, Choy. But if the OP is going to a regular Sunday liturgical mass that the only difference is the readings which are correct in type and number the mass should be valid for meeting the Sunday obligation.

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