Late for Mass - How late is too late?


#1

If somebody is late for Mass through no fault of the own, then how late is too late? In other words, at what point in the Mass does “fulfill Sunday obligation” no longer attach?

When I was a child, I heard an adult say, “As long as we get there by the Consecration, we’re OK.” By “OK”, she meant that she and her companions would not be committing the mortal sin of missing Mass without a good reason.

So, is it true that the Consecration is the cut-off point? I am skeptical of what that adult said because she seemed had an attitude that it was OK to deliberately late for Mass, provided that one arrives before the Consecration.


#2

My understanding is one must be there before the gospel readings in order to fulfill the Sunday obligation.


#3

[quote="Gneiss, post:1, topic:287859"]
If somebody is late for Mass through no fault of the own, then how late is too late? In other words, at what point in the Mass does "fulfill Sunday obligation" no longer attach?

When I was a child, I heard an adult say, "As long as we get there by the Consecration, we're OK." By "OK", she meant that she and her companions would not be committing the mortal sin of missing Mass without a good reason.

So, is it true that the Consecration is the cut-off point? I am skeptical of what that adult said because she seemed had an attitude that it was OK to deliberately late for Mass, provided that one arrives before the Consecration.

[/quote]

The Church used to have a specific cut off point. What they found was that a lot of people were sliding in just under the line. They decided that stating a particular point in the Mass was counterproductive. So now they just say, you "should" get there on time. Of course, your ordinary may opt to apply a particular constraint for his diocese. I believe he has the authority to do so.


#4

I was always taught that you had to be there by the Gospel. However, after speaking with my older brother, he informed me the pre-Vatican II 'standard' was you had to be there for the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist (post-homily).

However, the most important thing to remember is that one cannot intentionally show up late, but before the cutoff point, and maintain their Sunday obligation.


#5

First of all - the sin of missing the obligation only attaches if it is your fault that you missed. Not if it isn't.

Simply - attend as much of Mass as you can. If you are late for one, attend another if you are able. If you cannot attend any other, then be present for as much as you can of the first.

God does not demand the impossible. He does ask that we are present for as much of the Mass as we can be.


#6

My gut feeling was that if one is late for Mass (or misses Mass) through no fault of their own, then the notion of a specific cut-off point seemed irrelevant.

But since I had heard as a child "Just as long as we get there before the Consecration", I thought I should ask if there indeed is a cut-off point. The adult said this a few years after Vatican II began to be implemented. Some people here said that the Gospel and/or the whole Liturgy of the Eucharist is required (or required pre-Vatican-II).

So, that adult was mistaken, apparently, in thinking that the Consecration was the cut-off point. (And this person went to Catholic schools from 1st to 12th grade!)

This adult also did not put much importance on planning things as to arrive to Mass on time. It was as if she "shot for the Offeratory" in order to "guarantee" getting there before the Consecration. And in her general secular life, she put low priority on punctuality. So, perhaps she was never taught any cut-off point duing her many years of parochial school education. Perhaps she just make up her own "Church Rule" to suit whatever was convenient for her?

Thank you all for your replies. The key is: is it or is it not through no fault of your own.


#7

I'm not sure we should be so wrapped up in defining a "cut-off time" to "meet an obligation".

If we attend Mass only out of obligation, I would think even if we arrive early and depart well have the recessional, that our worship was offered without pure love for our God.

Pax


#8

[quote="Gneiss, post:1, topic:287859"]
If somebody is late for Mass through no fault of the own, then how late is too late? In other words, at what point in the Mass does "fulfill Sunday obligation" no longer attach?

When I was a child, I heard an adult say, "As long as we get there by the Consecration, we're OK." By "OK", she meant that she and her companions would not be committing the mortal sin of missing Mass without a good reason.

So, is it true that the Consecration is the cut-off point? I am skeptical of what that adult said because she seemed had an attitude that it was OK to deliberately late for Mass, provided that one arrives before the Consecration.

[/quote]

Somewhat yes, we must arrive before consecration provided you have a great reason why you're late, unless it is cause of laziness, intetionally to be late and the like still that is a mortal sin.


#9

[quote="Dhugz, post:8, topic:287859"]
Somewhat yes, we must arrive before consecration provided you have a great reason why you're late, unless it is cause of laziness, intetionally to be late and the like still that is a mortal sin.

[/quote]

So what would you say to someone who through no faut of their own arrives after Consecration of the only Mass that they can attend that weekend?

That they should simply not bother spending the precious time of Communion with Our Lord (and it is a grace filled moment even if they don't receive)? Shouldn't bother receiving the final blessing which He imparts on all through the priest the end of Mass to strngthen them for the coming week? Shouldn't make the effort to join in the final hymn of praise to Him?

Each and every part of the Mass is important. I'm flabbergasted that anyone could say, in effect, 'meh, nothing after Consecration is worth paying attention to, so just don't bother if you couldn't get there earlier'.

That's the effect of saying that there's a particular time before which you need to arrive.


#10

[quote="Gneiss, post:1, topic:287859"]
If somebody is late for Mass through no fault of the own, then how late is too late? In other words, at what point in the Mass does "fulfill Sunday obligation" no longer attach?

When I was a child, I heard an adult say, "As long as we get there by the Consecration, we're OK." By "OK", she meant that she and her companions would not be committing the mortal sin of missing Mass without a good reason.

So, is it true that the Consecration is the cut-off point? I am skeptical of what that adult said because she seemed had an attitude that it was OK to deliberately late for Mass, provided that one arrives before the Consecration.

[/quote]

If someone is late through no fault of their own then the arrival time there is not relevant.

Apart from that you will hear different opinions about what constitutes being late for Mass but the bottom line is that the Church has no document about this. The Church simply states you must participate in Mass but does not specify when you have to get there and how long you have to stay in order for your obligation to be fulfilled.

As for my 75 year old priest friend and mentor this is his opinion:

"For the essentials of the Sacrificial Meal of the Mass you have to be present at the Offertory, (hence if you come into the Church after the Offertory you have not attended the Eucharist), the Consecration and Holy Communion (hence you must not leave the Church until the Priest has received Holy Communion)."

He added:

"Without a good reason one should not leave the Church until after the Final Blessing (and the final hymn). Some people leave before the Final blessing and the Final Hymn giving the impression that they have fulfilled a burdensome obligation as a minimum requirement, instead of rejoicing they they have encountered the living glorious risen Lord, the greatest possible privilege the Lord can confer on us."


#11

There is no official Church teaching on how late is too late. Various priests from all parts of the world have different opinions on the matter, but that is their opinion. If a priest has an opinion about this and you go to his parish for Mass, I say abide by it. As he is the father of that community, therefore his advice should be heard and followed. Not to say that what he says becomes absolute truth, but the same at home that you obey your father even if he is not right all the time, you obey your priest as your spiritual father.


#12

[quote="Gneiss, post:1, topic:287859"]
If somebody is late for Mass through no fault of the own, then how late is too late? In other words, at what point in the Mass does "fulfill Sunday obligation" no longer attach?

When I was a child, I heard an adult say, "As long as we get there by the Consecration, we're OK." By "OK", she meant that she and her companions would not be committing the mortal sin of missing Mass without a good reason.

So, is it true that the Consecration is the cut-off point? I am skeptical of what that adult said because she seemed had an attitude that it was OK to deliberately late for Mass, provided that one arrives before the Consecration.

[/quote]

This is a good question. I've gotten there as late as the procession is waiting to go up. I felt very bad about that. But also people leave beore the mass is ended. For ex. after communion I don't see how that is right. But i don't think that it is a mortal sin either...


#13

I've always heard that you should be in the Church in your pew before the first procession. You should also stay in the Church until the final procession leaves the Church.
So this is how I've been doing it. Saying that you have to be there by the Gospel or the Consecration sounds ridiculous to me. This really seems to reduce the experience of Mass to some annoying obligation. No thanks!


#14

[quote="holyghost, post:13, topic:287859"]
I've always heard that you should be in the Church in your pew before the first procession. You should also stay in the Church until the final procession leaves the Church.
So this is how I've been doing it. Saying that you have to be there by the Gospel or the Consecration sounds ridiculous to me. This really seems to reduce the experience of Mass to some annoying obligation. No thanks!

[/quote]

Rule of thumb - priest is last person into the Church and the first person out.


#15

Many years ago (60) we used to be taught that we needed to be in church at least before the priest lifted the veil off the chalice .

Love of Jesus ought to ensure that we are there in plenty of time unless it is unavoidable .


#16

[quote="thistle, post:14, topic:287859"]
Rule of thumb - priest is last person into the Church and the first person out.

[/quote]

It would be so much more reverent if that were what happened. We have several families in our parish who have not seen the priest either entering or leaving in years.


#17

[quote="thistle, post:10, topic:287859"]
If someone is late through no fault of their own then the arrival time there is not relevant.

Apart from that you will hear different opinions about what constitutes being late for Mass but the bottom line is that the Church has no document about this. The Church simply states you must participate in Mass but does not specify when you have to get there and how long you have to stay in order for your obligation to be fulfilled.

As for my 75 year old priest friend and mentor this is his opinion:

"For the essentials of the Sacrificial Meal of the Mass you have to be present at the Offertory, (hence if you come into the Church after the Offertory you have not attended the Eucharist), the Consecration and Holy Communion (hence you must not leave the Church until the Priest has received Holy Communion)."

He added:

"Without a good reason one should not leave the Church until after the Final Blessing (and the final hymn). Some people leave before the Final blessing and the Final Hymn giving the impression that they have fulfilled a burdensome obligation as a minimum requirement, instead of rejoicing they they have encountered the living glorious risen Lord, the greatest possible privilege the Lord can confer on us."

[/quote]

This is a good rule. You are correct, you must be present for the sacrifice, which includes the offertory through communion. Traditionally, this would be called "from veil to veil," from when the chalice veil is removed at the offertory until it's back on after the purification of the vessels. Some say that is one reason why the bell used to be rung when it was removed, so that you knew if you made it or not. :)


#18

any we get upuhty when people arrive in church and barely sit down on the pew as the bell rings right at beginning of the service. its rude to others already there to be late because it destracts those who you join the pew of. Once in a life time etc fair enough but persistently. I feel it rude to others and definately late if you have to wait for the procession to go by to sit down. Though we do have one guy who regularly late and at Advent/lent we miss out the Gloria etc and the first week of Advent the other year he was a bit stunned at how late he thought he was. He been a little more on time at times since but still late in our opinion. How late is too late, if you not in the pew by the time the bell rings at the beginning of the service then that is too late in my opinion if you are regular at being late. No point in being there if can't be there for all of it :blush:


#19

If, through no personal fault, you are going to be late attend a later Mass if available. If you have to be late stay in the back rather than disrupt the Mass. Never leave before the priest unless perhaps setting up for a parish function after the Mass; it's rude to God, the priest and the congregation.

If you are attending Mass out of love and adoration you won't not have a problem with a minor inconvenience; it's about the Lord, not about you. If you are perpetually late you need to examine your priorities, you have a problem.


#20

i think that you should be there by the time Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross.
if not that, definitely by the time the Gospel is read.


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