Obligation to attend Saturday vigil based on Sunday's weather forecast?


We rarely attend the Saturday vigil unless Sunday’s activities make it our best option.

If the forecast is accurate (and the weatherman are agog with excitement and anticipation:D), it will be dangerous to go out Sunday morning. We already have plans for this evening, obviously planning to attend Mass at our usual Sunday morning time.

Even without taking into account our plans, what is our obligation to go to Mass this evening knowing that we probably won’t be able to go tomorrow?

Stay warm! I know we’re not the only ones with snow and cold predictions.



You have an obligation to get to Mass. If you have options of mass times then you work out which mass is best to attend based on whatever else is happening. Do you have a Sunday evening option? If not, I would say you proceed as if Saturday evening is the only available choice. Can you reschedule your other event?

Ps we are reasonably close to you (nova) and plan to attend the latest morning Mass. I don’t expect difficulty at that hour.


Knowing what you know in advance, my take would be that you are obligated to attend the Vigil Mass.

Think of if it was some other function, such as work or travel, that would prevent you from going on Sunday am. What do you consider your obligation to be.

It would be one thing if you woke up on Sunday morning unexpectedly encountered bad weather. But knowing it ahead of time is a different story.

We normally go to our parishes’ 9:30am Mass, but we are going to one of the Vigil Masses In fact, our pastor posted on the parish website and the FB page, he will say an extra Vigil Mass at 8:00pm tonite. That is in addition to our 4:00pm OF and 6:30pm EF Masses

Our area is expecting 8-12" on Sunday and Father wants to make sure everyone has a chance to get to Mass


I am not sure why you think you won’t be able to go to Mass tomorrow morning. The very cold weather will not occur until tomorrow night into Monday morning. We are going to be at about -20 tomorrow morning and will be attending Mass as usual. We are much further north than you.

To answer this question in a general way, I don’t think you have an obligation to attend Saturday evening if Sunday Mass has not already been canceled for some reason. If it is already canceled and you have a Saturday mass you can attend, you should do so.

Many times weather predictions are wrong. They say it’s going to snow a foot or whatever and no such storm materializes. They say it’s going to be -20 and it’s really 0.

Sometimes even if the forecast isn’t for anything all that big, things happen unexpectedly. The Sunday before Christmas we had snow forecast, but not so much that we felt it necessary to go to Mass Saturday night, thinking we would be able to attend Mass on Sunday as usual. Well, unfortunately the county did not plow the roads early as they normally do, and so at 9:30 we had a phone call with Fr (who has multiple parishes and lives 20 miles from our parish) and told him the roads weren’t plowed and he called Mass off. This is all country roads and large hills that 4x4 were having trouble getting through. So, it was a last minute call to cancel Mass.

If you are in doubt, ask your priest.



I don’t know about the OP, but we are expecting 8-12" of the fluffy white stuff starting Sat night.

That is why our pastor is adding an extra Mass Sat night. It’s not due to the cold temps, it’s that there is probably better of people stay off the roads while they are being cleared.


Attending mass on a sunday is a church law. Please work something out.


It would be “prudent” to go to Saturday Mass if you are aware that there is bad weather on Sunday. Obligation is a strong word in Catholic circles. It can mean “under penalty of sin.” This is an area where individuals exercise discernment and judgment.


Keep in mind that in Missouri and other “Southern” states, there are a lot of people who do not drive well in snow of any depth, hence, the OP’s hesitation about venturing out. Even if the OP is a good snow driver, others are not, and that’s scary.

OP, is it possible that the event you were planning to attend this evening might be cancelled or postponed, which would leave you free to attend the Vigil Mass?

Just stay safe. It’s so much fun to be snowed in, but the fun is gone when we hear about a horrific car crash.

And OP, in case you’re interested–the entire Synergy Synchronized Skating team organization (over 100 skaters)–from St. Louis and the surrounding area (including one very special coach from St. Charles, MO!), and their parents, are up in shivery Fond du Lac, Wisconsin this weekend for a big competition. At the moment, their Junior team is in 3rd place after the Short–the Top Two finishers go on to represent the U.S. in the Junior Worlds. This would be a first-time ever for the State of Missouri! But tomorrow, they all have to drive back to Missouri–:eek: So watch out for them and all the other teams, everyone!


True, and not only that, the more northern (and more mountainous) states are better equipped in clearing roads during and after snowstorms.

Just saying.


Our plans were easy to switch out and we went to 5 o’clock Mass - along with 90% of our parish!! It was packed - probably even more so than Christmas Eve.

This was as much of a theoretical question as it was a practical question with regards to our particular situation for this particular storm. At what point are we expected to trust weather predictions, cancel plans, rearrange schedules etc to make our Sunday obligation? Obviously, on a normal week, this obligation is central to our weekend planning but what happens when there’s a potential glitch that you aren’t in control of?

Thanks for your input.



Oh Cat - you made me smile calling the STL a “southern” state - I never think of us as anything but the midwest. It is our third snow of the season, so much of the horrible driving should be out of everyone’s systems - I hope!

I will pray for the skating team (and especially the coach from across the Missouri Ocean as we refer to the bridge that separates St Louis from St. Charles!:D) I hope they continue to do well and make it home safe tomorrow. It’s supposed to be bad.



Yep - that’s our forecast! Well, except for the fact that the winter storm warning has now been extended to 3 p.m. instead of noon. Plus the lowest temperatures in about 15 years. DH just got a call from his work telling him that Monday is optional so I know it’s supposed to be bad if they’re calling it this early! He drives a delivery truck so the cold and wind will be especially dangerous. Only once in the 20 years he’s worked have they called them off and it wasn’t 2 days in advance. I’m already counting on a snow day for me for Monday which is probably a bad idea.


I live in Wentzville and I accidentally took a nap and slept right through the vigil mass tonight! I’m going to check the weather for 7 a.m. mass tomorrow, but I just might be opening the confession door next weekend! I really do hope I (as well as you) can make it to mass–the Epiphany of Our Lord is such a beautiful feast.


Since the snow will come over night into tomorrow in my part of Michigan, I went to the Saturday evening vigil, and there was a pretty good turn out as Saturday evenings are not as packed as the Sunday morning Masses at my parish. I would say if you had nothing planned for the whole weekend, and Sunday was predicted to be bad, to go on Saturday evening to fulfill your obligation.

One church’s site/Facebook page in SE Michigan posted that Masses for Sunday were cancelled along with other activities planned due to the storms (as I believe that area is getting more impact):

ATTENTION: Tomorrow’s Winter Storm Watch is now a Winter Storm Warning.

The 5pm Mass has been CANCELLED, as has LifeTeen.

Note: IF (emphasis IF) the 5pm Mass is the only Mass you can attend tomorrow, AND you are a parishioner at OLGC in Plymouth, you are dispensed from the Sunday obligation per Fr Riccardo.

Please share this post, and call your friends who may not hear otherwise.



We went saturday evening because of Sunday’s weather forecast this week. It was as natural as going to the store to stock up. It just made sense.:shrug:


SW Chicago and NW Indiana are expected to get up to 10 more inches of snow and then subzero temperatures along with heavy winds tomorrow. Might not be able to do anything till Tuesday.

Holiness should be measured in how many shovelfuls of snow you manage to throw on your walk to church. If you can make it past your door. :slight_smile:



I think what’s scariest for me is ice. I do not want to fall, and I do not want to wreck my car (which is paid for finally!) because I hate all the time-consuming mess that happens while you’re appealing to your insurance company, getting estimates, waiting for the car to be repaired (or totalled), and shopping for a new car. Not to mention, of course, if you’re hurt or somebody else is hurt in the wreck, it’s awful.

Weird weather here. ProVobis, you know that we’re only 65 miles from Chicago, but the temp is fairly comfortable at 7:00 a.m., and I don’t think we had any additional snow last night. I walked out to get the paper in my jammies, and I didn’t think it seemed that cold.

So I don’t get it. Are we out of the line of snow and cold while Chicago gets hammered? I think our weather people are confused, because they keep talking about deep snow and bitter cold windchills, but we aren’t getting it. Last night, our icicles were dripping, and the 3 feral kittens that we’re feeding and sheltering throughout the bad weather were frolicking about the porch entertaining us!

My husband said something sassy the other night. He said that if the weather people can’t even correctly predict the weather for that evening, how on earth can they assess global warming? I tend to agree with him. :rolleyes:


Well, precipitation is more localized. Because of the wind, I can end up with much more snow than the house across the street, for example. But the question of whether I have more reason to skip Mass than he does is hard to answer.

That said, Rockford’s high on Monday is expected to be -14. And windy. So don’t gloat just yet. :smiley:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.