Looking way ahead: Christmas - Saturday, December 25, 2010 - Most Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph - Sunday, December 26, 2010

I was looking ahead and noticed that Christmas this year will fall on a Saturday, and then the Solemnity of the Most Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph falls on the Sunday the next day. So, how is this going to affect Saturday evening vigil Masses? Will there be any since it is Christmas Day, or will there just be Sunday morning Masses. I think this is going to confuse a lot like the time in 2006 when the Fourth Sunday of Advent falled on Christmas Eve, and then people had to go later on December 24 to celebrate Christmas.

I haven’t seen the schedule for my parish yet, but I think it’s safe to say that the usual vigil mass will not happen. Sadly, it’s probably also safe to say that our pews will likely be mostly empty on Sunday. :frowning:

I agree. With Christmas falling on a Saturday attending Christmas Mass will be obligatory and will not satisfy the Sabbath requirement. How many attend Mass on Sunday will likely depend on how the clergy addresses the issue to the congregation the prior week.

it will confuse people who go to parishes that have evening masses. its that 5pm or 7pm mass for Christmas or Sunday? a clarification in the Church bulletin and during announcements should solve the problem

Easy enough, no matter which Mass is celebrated at that time If you haven’t already been to Mass for Christmas, then it fulfills your Christmas obligation. If you’ve already been to a Christmas Mass then it will fulfill your obligation for Sunday.

My guess is that there will be VERY few masses in the evening on December 25.

What with all the Christmas Eve Masses and Midnight Masses it’s likely that the priests will want some time off. Only parishes with multiple priests are likely to have Masses late on Christmas Day.

but the Readings for Christmas and Sunday (Holy Family) would be different
don’t you have to go to the one with the appropriate readings?

Note Canon Law

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.
Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and aVairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.
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.

Any Catholic Mass satisfies the obligation.

the issue here is that there are two days of obligation in-a-row

this normally wouldn’t be an issue if Christmas was Wednesday or Friday. but because Christmas is Saturday, its unclear whether evening masses on Saturday would fulfill the Christmas obligation, the Sunday obligation, or both in a way that it fulfills the Saturday first but if you have fulfilled that, then it will fulfill the Sunday

I believe it depends when you go and what number you’re on. If you go Friday and Saturday evening, then I believe that you’ve fulfilled your obligation for both. If you go on Saturday evening for your first mass, then you’ve only fulfilled Christmas and not Sunday.

This usually doesn’t come up because I believe that if Holy Days fall on Saturday/Monday the obligation is usually suppressed (don’t quote me on it though). Christmas is more special though than a usual Holy Day (2nd most important behind Easter I think).

You never get 2 for 1. You have to attend twice but the combination is up to you:
Friday evening, Saturday evening;
Friday evening, Sunday morning;
Friday evening, Sunday evening;
Saturday morning, Saturday evening.

All would fulfill both obligations.

Like other posters I don’t believe you will find too many parishes having a Mass late on Christmas Day.

OTOH, what do you do in parishes where, due to the number of parishioners, an anticipated Mass and 4 or 5 Masses are required every Sunday? Do such parishes have more than one priest available to celebrate?

My parish normally only has the anticipated Mass (attended by at most 50 people) and one Mass during the day on Sunday. At Christmas we add one more Mass, the so-called Family Mass which is SRO every year, even with 60 additional chairs. I foresee no problem with
Friday evening 6:30 Mass
Friday evening 10 p.m. “Midnight Mass” (why can’t we have Midnight Mass at midnight any more???)
Saturday 10 a.m. Christmas Day Mass
Sunday 10 a.m. Sunday Mass – the only people likely to attend that one are those who regularly come to Sunday Masses (and they easily all fit in the church together), the others will consider their duty done by attending one of the 3 Christmas Masses.

That’s only in the US.

In Canada, the only Holy Days of Obligation that have not been abrogated or moved to a Sunday are Christmas and the Feast of Mary, Mother of God on New Year’s Day. I have never known the obligation for either of those to be suppressed.

That’s probably because we have so few as it is in Canada! :eek:

Christmas obviously never does because it’s Christmas (John Chick would claim Catholics are doing some kind of devil worship if they moved the obligation for Christmas to the nearest Sunday :p), but I would have thought they’d move Sol. of Mary if it fell on Saturday/Monday :shrug: (the Mass wasn’t very well attended as it was at my parish this past year).

Here is what the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has to say on the matter:

When Christmas Is Celebrated on Saturday

It is important to keep the celebration of Christmas and Sunday distinct, and to be mindful of the extra demands which are placed upon priests and other liturgical ministers when Christmas and Sunday are celebrated on consecutive days.

The following recommendations will be helpful.

a)  If possible, additional celebrations of the Vigil Mass of Christmas are to be avoided.
b)  If necessary, only one anticipated Midnight Mass should be celebrated around 10:00 p.m.
c)  The regularly scheduled Saturday evening Mass in anticipation of Sunday should be omitted altogether.

Did your parish point out the obligation to attend Mass on that day? If I didn’t put it in the bulletin of my own volition each year we’d never hear it mentioned.

I think if you did a survey at Mass on New Year’s Day you’d find that most people who are there that day, came because it was a way to start off a new year on the right foot and not because there was a notion that this was a Feast of Obligation. I know many a priest who wishes that Rome had picked another day for such an important feast.

I actually don’t know. I’m not really a member of that parish (it’s the closest one to my home in my hometown) so I don’t take a bulletin (sometimes I’ll read it online). I attended a different parish for Christmas (the one our extended family attends together on Christmas), and a different one on the Feast of the Holy Family (it had an earlier Mass and we were leaving town to visit other family).

I think I read somewhere that it’s only an obligation in Canada because the Quebec bishops requested it (apparently it is traditional to go to church on New Years in Quebec, but I’m guessing that long ago it became “was”). I would say that the majority of Catholics probably do not know that it is a Holy Day though.

that was helpful, thanks!

i wonder if it would be the same way in other parts of the world? although i’ve never had that problem before because i didn’t attend Vigil Masses for Sunday in the past. even though i’m not an early day person, in the Philippines it was never a problem to find a Mass in the late afternoon or early evening on the day itself.

It certainly was tradition in Quebec. It was also the day that a father blessed his family and even married children made their way home to ask for his blessing. Until probably the early 50s it was also the day when presents were exchanged, Christmas being strictly a religious holiday. I remember that all the children’s programming of the day showed that tradition very clearly.

Apparently Acadians had had the same traditions but over the centuries had adopted the traditions of their more numerous English neighbours.

The bottom line is both Saturday and Sunday will holy days of obligation and two Masses will be required. You can try to game the rules with a single Mass but you’ll only be fooling yourself.

That occurs only in the USA with holy days other than Christmas and the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the USA. So it applies to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, as well as All Saints and the Assumption, but not to the Ascension (which can never fall on Saturday or Monday), Christmas or the Immaculate Conception, which do not ever lose their obligations.

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