No Morning Mass on days with a funeral?

Our parish just published in the bulletin that the pastor will no longer celebrate two masses on days when a funeral is scheduled. He is a new pastor, and this was never done with the former priests, who always said the early mass for parishioners in addition to the funeral liturgy. I was told the reason for this change is to encourage support from the congregation for the grieving family by attending that liturgy.

The problem is that the funeral liturgy is specific for funerals, and the participants are not able to celebrate the mass of the day according to the calendar.

Due to many parish closings and priests having “days off,” we have many people traveling among parishes that have a mass. They arise early, prepare for mass, drive in excess of 10 miles one way, only to find that the mass has been cancelled.

My question: Is this practice followed in other dioceses or parishes? Is this something I should bring to the Bishop’s attention? May a priest decide to celebrate only once daily and omit the regular mass?

Another concern is that many people schedule massses for their departed loved ones’ anniversary, etc., pay a stipend, see it in the bulletin, and find that it was set aside for a funeral. Is this lawful?

This happens on occaision in my diocese also. I think that this canon may be part of the problem. Legally, a priest can only celebrate Mass once per day.

Can. 905 §1. A priest is not permitted to celebrate the Eucharist more than once a day except in cases where the law permits him to celebrate or concelebrate more than once on the same day.

§2. If there is a shortage of priests, the local ordinary can allow priests to celebrate twice a day for a just cause, or if pastoral necessity requires it, even three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

As you can see, there is also a provision that allows a second celebration, for just cause. I am not sure what that could be, but I would guess it is ultimately up to the pastor.

As far as the Mass offering for that day, I believe that it must be transferred to another day, but I am not exactly sure how that works.
I understand & appreciate that this is stressful & disappointing, especially when one plans their day around Mass.
IMHO, the only real option here is to pray for more vocations to the priesthood!!

That’s the way it is in our parish. If there’s a wedding Mass or a Funeral Mass there is no regular daily Mass. Really, there is no reason to have a second Mass in most parishes because a funeral or wedding Mass can accommodate the number of worshippers who would be attending the daily Mass.

This is nothing new. I got married in 1975 and even then a wedding or funeral pre-empted the regular Mass of the day, and we had a priest all of our own for our little rural parish.

Why does everyone have to run to the bishop. Go talk to the priest!

[quote=Phemie]Really, there is no reason to have a second Mass in most parishes because a funeral or wedding Mass can accommodate the number of worshippers who would be attending the daily Mass.


Yes, it “may” accomodate them, but it will still be a funeral liturgy. Yesterday was the feast of Sts. Philip and James, Apostles, a solemn celebration that would be missed in this instance. Additionally, the time factor of 10 or 11 a.m. in the day for this mass would hinder many who have busy schedules or are employed - - their day would begin well near noon. A funeral generally takes an hour rather than the customary half hour for daily mass.

[quote=Oneofthewomen]This happens on occaision in my diocese also. I think that this canon may be part of the problem. Legally, a priest can only celebrate Mass once per day.
As you can see, there is also a provision that allows a second celebration, for just cause.

Reading between the lines, it seems that some priests may prefer to follow the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law. This choice is permitted to them, perhaps. That was basis of my question … is the option to celebrate only one liturgy the preference of the priest or the directive of the local Ordinary? Is there a greater purpose for avoiding two masses when the just cause of a funeral arises? Many other priests in the same diocese have generously chosen to celebrate the two liturgies. I would not want to see dissension over this if it is an allowed option for the celebrant.

A funeral is one of the reasons that a second mass is celebrated as per the canon.
More vocations may not necessarily mean more masses.

As has been stated, this is a common custom, due to priestly shortages, and has ben in some areas for decades. What confuses me is why Mass would be cancelled. Where this is usually done, the funeral Mass simply is celebrated at the same time that the regular Mass would be. So the 10AM Mass is still the 10AM Mass, but it is a funeral Mass, rather than Sts. Philip and James.

I do not understand the other post that was offended because people did not hear the readings of the day (which are usually not for the saint, anyway, but for the feria), but instead hear the funeral readings. What difference does that make? If one attends daily Mass, one does so out of devotion for Our Lord. The fact that it is a funeral does not change the Holy Sacrifice. If one wishes to read the daily lectionary at home, one is certainly free to do so.

In the EF, the Mass for the Dead does have texts that are altered in a fair number of places, the vestments are black, the candles unbleached, and a few other differences. These differences are more striking as compared to the OF Masses for the Living and Dead. Still, how often does a funeral happen, even in a large parish? I can’t see getting upset over it.

Thank you for your input, Chatter. Actually, the 8:00 daily mass (or 8:30, depending on the Church) is really too early for a funeral mass because of the prayer service at the funeral home and readying the cars for procession to church.

The only persons who may be informed of a cancellation would be the regulars who happened to go to mass and find out that someone died. So if on Monday the priest announces that the funeral is Wednesday, outsiders who check the bulletin on line and expect to come to mass will be disappointed. Maybe that doesn’t matter to some, but those who set the alarm, arise early, get ready, and drive a good distance with gas at $4/gallon, I think will promptly put a stop to attending any further liturgies at this particular church. So sad.

Or perhaps the family who scheduled the mass only comes for that special liturgy and would not be there on Monday to hear the announcement of cancellation on Wednesday. Not only that, but they usually invite other family members who know about the mass for their loved one, and all of them get up extra early to attend.

I have been to funeral masses, and sometimes they last rather long due to the eulogy that a family member is invited to make after communion. Time restraints would be a burden for those who have other obligations.

Again … so sad.

We have a parish with only one priest. We have daily Mass at 8 AM. Any funerals are done later at the convenience of the family of the deceased and the pastor. The priest has the permission of the Bishop to do this.

To bury the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy. There should be no problem to attend a funeral Mass instead of daily Mass.

Sure there is. Morning Mass here is 07:00. Funeral Masses are at 10:00.

Work. I can make 07:00 Mass everyday. I cannot make 10:00 Mass on most days.


There are priests across this nation and the world for that matter that celebrate 2,3,4 or even more Masses each Sunday with the blessing of the bishops.

It sounds like it boils down to little more than a difference in work ethics.

08:00/08:30 Funeral Masses would be fine if it was OK with the family. The funeral director usually has ONE vehicle to prepare these days – the hearse.

Also, no funeral Mass should contain a “eulogy.”

Sunday is a little different because Mass attendance is “obligated”.
In my diocese, priests are allowed to celebrate 3 Masses of Sunday Obligation.
That would mean one on Saturday & two on Sunday or three on Sunday.

Weekday Mass is not an obligation, therefore one Mass per day.
The Bishop may allow the priest to say more than one Mass in case of a funeral, or he may not. I also believe that the Pastor of the parish has the final say.

Yes, it is frustrating when a regularly scheduled daily Mass is cancelled due to a funeral or some other issue, especially when one plans their day around it, but in the end it is what it is. Priests are not “sacramental machines” and to treat them as such is wrong.
As I said before the best thing we can do is pray for and encourage more vocations to the priesthood- then we will have enough priests in every parish that this will not be an issue.


Are you serious?

The *dispensation for a second Mass is exactly that, a dispensation.

There should be a single Mass for the Church, even on Sunday. this is ancient praxis, both East & West. Unfortunately, it is not always (or even often) possible to achieve in the modern world.

Criticising a priet for adhering to this, is, at best, uncharitable.

It is not letter over spirit, but rather spirit (particularly, unity) over letter (the dispensation).


It’s up to the priest, period. Of course he may elect to offer 7 am Mass in addition to the funeral later. That is one of those MANY exceptions the rule means.

Some priests are devoted, some less so.

For example, in my area there are 3 parishes, note the ages and practices.

Priest #1 is 50 years old. He offers weekday Mass Wed-Fri. All funerals must be scheduled on those days and he cancels AM Mass. On Mon and Tues, the church is locked and abandoned and he disappears to places unknown for his “days off.” Also, no Saturday AM Mass.

Priest #2 is 64 years old. He offers weekday Mass Tues-Fri, locking the church and disappearing only on Mondays. No Saturday Mass, except First Saturday, which was outright demanded by the older folks.

Priest #3 is 81 years old. He offers weekday Mass all days, Mon-Fri, and every Saturday morning. He offers regular morning Mass in addition to the funeral Mass. He also will add an extra Mass (AM and 5:30 PM) for non-holy obligation days such as Thanksgiving, All Souls, Parish Saint’s Feast Day, or St. Blaise Day, which are always well-attended. He does not take a day off.

I have been observing these three priests for some years and there’s a direct connection between their love of the Mass and making it available, and the number of converts, reverts and increased devotion of the parishioners.

So we see it’s not always rules and regulations, but the holiness of the priest.

Are you serious? First until there are enough priests, a single Mass/priest/Sunday is typically not going to be how things are – dispensation or not.

My parish has daily Masses at 7:00 and 12:15. People attend daily. Most work. They wouldn’t be able to attend a funeral Mass at 10:00. Is it wrong for a priest to celebrate more than one Mass/day to allow those people to attend? NO!

The Mass should be made as available as possible.

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