Late for Mass

I have been told that if you arrive at Mass after the Gospel is read you have missed Mass. Can anyone direct me to where I can find this, or if I am wrong, the information of where it states at what point are should it be considered that you have missed Mass. Thank you. God bless.

If you arrive after Mass has begun, you are late for mass. By definition. Of the word “late”.

Talk to your priest as to whether or not he believes you met your obligation. Lateness due to a flat tire is not the same as lateness because you fail to prioritize Mass.

If I invite you over for dinner, at what point did you offend me by your lateness and feel you need to apologize? (Hint, it’s when you show up and everybody else is already gathered at the table.)

Before Vatican II, Catholics had to at least be present by the offertory. One reason bells rang when the cloth was removed from the chalice was to make people aware of this cutoff. Other theologians said it was necessary to be present at least as the Gospel is read.

The liturgical reform of Vatican II shifted the emphasis to the overall unity of the mass. Theologians don’t specify a cutoff point for the obligation. The underlying assumption seems to be that we should be there for all of it but since Canon law doesn’t give specifics about the obligation, we probably shouldn’t be scrupulous about it either, one writer says.

And there’s nothing in church rubrics that says we can’t go to communion, no matter how late we are.

I don’t trust that source at all. I would love to see proof of the church ever having definitive rules on when you had to be at mass. Pre Vatican II. Bah,
As a general rule “Vatican II changed that”. Is followed by a bunch of hooey 99.9 percent of the time.

I was taught the same thing before VII. If you missed the Gospel, you missed Mass.

If you arrive after the Offertory, you have missed Mass and must go to another Mass to fulfill the obligation. You must be in the church by the Offertory in order to have fulfilled the obligation. If you miss the Gospel, you still fulfill the obligation of hearing Mass.

Can you cite this “rule”?

Maybe the best analogy I’ve ever read!

I always tell people that Mass begins when the priest says, “In the name of the Father…” and ends after he reverences the altar. It seems to me overly legalistic to say, “At this point you have missed Mass, and not at this point.” The point of Mass is to foster and develop our relationship with God.

Imagine the absurdity of asking this question to your marriage counselor, “If I tell my wife I love her once a week, is that good enough?” Or, how about this one, “Have I met my obligation of loving my wife if I mute the TV during the football game when I tell her I love her on my once-weekly, ‘I love you?’” “How about if I don’t mute it? What if I have my feet on the footstool, and I’m reading the paper, while watching the game. Have I still met my obligation?”

I realize the OP isn’t asking this, and I don’t mean to imply that his/her attitude towards Mass is parallel to this mythical husband’s attitude towards his wife. But, it’s the overarching point. The Christian life simply isn’t about following a bunch of rules, whether those are rules of Canon Law, liturgical law, ecclesial law, divine law, or any law. Ideally, we follow the law precisely because we love the Law Giver, recognize that He gives it to us for our good and benefit, and desire to have a relationship with Him.

Why do I try to follow liturgical law to the best of my ability, for example? Is it for the sake of the law itself? No. It’s because I try to love God (heaven knows I fail ALL THE TIME) and love His Church, and love demands respect and obedience. Why do I encourage people to show up to Mass on time and not leave early? Because God gives us 168 hours a week, and asks for one in return…literally one half of one percent of our time each week.

If we’re in a car accident and cry out to God in our need, we wouldn’t want Him showing up late and leaving early. Thus, we ought not either. As HoosierDaddy said so eloquently, God has invited us to His home for supper. Common courtesy dictates that we arrive on time.

I am not sure about the answer to your question, BUT, I used to be consistently 10 mins or more late to mass. Our parish is extremely punctual. 10 mins late and the Gospel has been read! One day, I just decided I needed to leave 10 to 15 mins earlier and now that is what I prefer. No standing out until the homily is done and not having a clue about what was discussed or having to climb over people because I was late. I now know that I have likely missed out a bunch of great homilies and likely irritated countless people who were on time. But most importantly, actions speak louder than words! What was I showing God by my actions?
Not to sound crass, but resolve to be on time! I promise you won’t regret it! God bless you!

Matthew 20:1-16

If we weren’t seated when the bell finished sounding, we were given detentions.

Being late even one second is a bad habit to fall into. Your teachers don’t like it, your boss doesn’t like it, and your customers won’t.

I have read it in at least 2 catechisms and in an introductory book to the Mass, all of which were approved by the Church and the catechisms were written by clergy. We can’t miss the Offertory because it is a principal part of the Mass.

Although some of us were taught in the old days that there was some point at which coming late was too late and would be considered missing Mass, this was actually not defined officially. It seems like it was more an accepted practice rather than an official proclamation. Just ask yourself how much of the Mass you feel you can miss before having the sense that you didn’t really attend. Or, using a perhaps a not so good analogy, how much of a movie do you think you could miss before you missed something important? If you missed the readings, you missed an important part of the teachings of the Mass for that week.

This is the third thread in as many weeks on this.
The Church has not spoken on this.
There are many pious writings by pious people that people take as “gospel” you should pardon the expression, but it’s just an opinion.
My opinion is, try not to be late. Make a big effort.
it’s Jesus you’re coming to see.
A flat tire is out of your control.

Now, you have to cite it.

I don’t believe it exists.

It’s not a proof of anything but this is all I found from the Baltimore Catechism

Q. 932. What are the chief parts of the Mass?

A. The chief parts of the Mass are:

1.(1) The Offertory, at which the priests offers to God the bread and wine to be changed at the Consecration;

2.(2) The Consecration, at which the substance of the bread and wine are changed into the substance of Christ’s body and blood;

3.(3) The Communion, at which the priest receives into his own body the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of both bread and wine.

Q. 948. What is important for the proper and respectful hearing of Mass?

A. For the proper and respectful hearing of Mass it is important to be in our place before the priest comes to the altar and not to leave it before the priest leaves the altar. Thus we prevent the confusion and distraction caused by late coming and too early leaving. Standing in the doorways, blocking up passages and disputing about places should, out of respect for the Holy Sacrifice, be most carefully avoided.

As you wish.

My Catholic Faith A Catechism in Pictures, written by Bishop Louis Morrow, reviewed by Fr. Edward Murray of St. John’s seminary & Fr. Charles Sloane of St. Joseph’s Seminary:

Not to hear Sunday Mass, or to miss a notable part of Sunday Mass, is a mortal sin. To come a little late and not make up for it in another Mass, is a venial sin. The precept is to hear an entire Mass from beginning to end; that is, from the Priest’s entrance into the sanctuary till his departure into the sacristy. One is considered to have missed Mass if one arrives too late to be present at the Offertory (when the Priest uncovers the chalice), or leaves before Communion is finished. The principal parts - that is, the Offertory, the Consecration, and the Communion - must be heard in one and the same Mass.

The Catechism Explained An exhaustive exposition of the Catholic Religion by Fr. Francis Spirago, professor of Theology; edited by Fr. Richard Clarke. Has nihil obstat & imprimatur.

We have not heard a whole Mass, unless we have been present in the church during the three principal parts of one and the same Mass. It is requisite to be present at the three principal parts of the Mass; if one of these is omitted through negligence, the obligation is not fulfilled; if, for instance, we do not come in before the offertory, or if we leave before the communion. … He who comes in after the offertory must stay for the whole of another Mass.

Treasure and Tradition written by Lisa Bergman, has nihil obstat & imprimatur from 2014

Did you know? The Offertory is one of the most important ceremonies of the Mass. In order to fulfill our obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, we must be present by this point.

This text is from 1949 – in other words, it pre-dates the renewal and restoration of the liturgy mandated by the Council Fathers at Vatican II

The Catechism Explained An exhaustive exposition of the Catholic Religion by Fr. Francis Spirago, professor of Theology; edited by Fr. Richard Clarke. Has nihil obstat & imprimatur.

This text and its author is from the 19th century…it predates even the liturgical movement.

Treasure and Tradition written by Lisa Bergman, has nihil obstat & imprimatur from 2014

This is what the Council Fathers said about the Liturgy of the Word, in Sacrosanctum Concilium.
*24. Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony.

  1. That the intimate connection between words and rites may be apparent in the liturgy:
  1. In sacred celebrations there is to be more reading from holy scripture, and it is to be more varied and suitable. *
    Thanks to the renewal and restoration of the liturgy in the wake of the council, no contemporary theologian should properly evoke, for Catholics who are living the liturgy today, a mindset that belongs to a bygone era or that would minimize the absolutely essential character of the Liturgy of the Word; even the vetus ordo liturgy celebrated today has to be done with the full acknowledgement of the judgement of the world’s Catholic bishops – that it was a liturgy they mandated was urgently in need of reformation and restoration.

There have been many advances in theology and theological thought in the past 100 years, above all in the fields of moral theology and of liturgy, something which is lost when such antique texts are employed.

I strongly disagree, Father. I don’t think that what was done to the Mass was a good restoration or renewal, and I don’t think that, while the Epistle & Gospel are important, they are so important as to require our presence for us to fulfill the obligation. They are not the principal parts of the Holy Mass.

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