Obligation Mass on Friday

So I’ll be working in Bahrain over the next few months and I noticed that church there offers “Obligation Masses” beginning on Friday at 7AM. sacredheartchurchbahrain.org/mass_services

The reason why they would offer the Sunday liturgy on Friday is because the weekend in Saudi Arabia is Thursday and Friday, so the christians who commute to Bahrain to attend mass have no way to attend on Saturday or Sunday.

Canon 1248 is pretty clear in that the earliest you can fulfill your Sunday obligation is on the evening preceding.

Canon 1248

  1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.
  2. If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the liturgy of the word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.

Now church attendance is a matter of discipline so it is something that the Church has the authority to change. Is this something that the local Bishop has the authority to change? Is there any obligation fulfilled, as suggested by the term "obligation mass, by attending a Sunday liturgy on a Friday?

The bishop cannot “move” the obligation from Sunday to Friday. So the direct answer to your question is “no, the bishop cannot do it.” However…

What he can do is to dispense from the Sunday obligation, and replace it with something else. There’s no doubt he has the authority to do that.

That’s what bishops do in situations like this: if one attends Mass on Friday, that person is dispensed from Sunday.

I checked their website. They’re accommodating people from all over the world who speak several different languages.

I do not have personal knowledge about Bahrain, but I do know with certainty that the above is what happens in (certain) other Arab countries. When you arrive, do check with the local priest to be sure that what’s posted on their website actually means what it appears to mean.

While the term “obligation Mass” (in the English Language) is not the best way to phrase what they mean, we can certainly give them some latitude for their choice of words.

Since, apparently, the local bishop (whoever that might be) is dispensing you from the Sunday Mass obligation if you attend Mass on Friday, you can do this with a perfectly clear conscience. Don’t worry about it. While it would be better if Christians could freely practice our faith there, the local Church is doing their best under the circumstances.

What I find funny is the quote on that website:

“The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer. – Pope John Paul VI”

Thanks for answer, that is what I needed to know.

Since there is a webpage in English for the church, why don’t you send them an email and ask about the Friday obligation. AVONA, the vicariate website lists the obligation as being Sundays or Fridays or Saturday evening. I suspect that they offer the Friday Masses for the reason you describe - people have to work on Sunday in Saudi Arabia and so they would not be able to attend otherwise since they have to cross into Bahrain to be able to go to Mass.

Aside from the fact that Saturday and Sunday are workdays, Christian Churches are not allowed in Saudi Arabia. Thank God that there are neighboring countries with Catholic Churches.

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