Private Mass?


A retired priest has a 4pm mass on Saturday at his home. I have been invited, but Is this an acceptable way to meet my sabbath obligation?


If the Priest is using the Mass for that particular Sunday, it would fulfill the obligation as an extraordinary thing, but not as an ongoing practice, without grave reason for doing so.


Ok, but I am trying to understand why this cannot be a regular practice. Can you elaborate?


Actually it can be regular practice as long as this is considered an anticipated Mass of Sunday. It doesn’t even have to be the Mass of Sunday.


Yes. Attending the Mass will fulfill your Sunday obligation.


It can be a regular practice, and that in itself is not an issue.

I was once in a situation where a retired priest had a little chapel setup in his home and he had regularly scheduled Masses. It was a very good thing. He had the bishop’s permission and he had my full cooperation and support (we kept him supplied with hosts and altar wine) and the situation was mutual. I digress…

But if this is a regular gathering, there are some potential issues (note that I say only potential), so the OP should talk to the local pastor.

Only by way of answering your question, and not by way of speculating on what might be happening there, the potential problems are that a priest in a situation like that might be setting-up a quasi-parish of his own making, or it might be done as a show of disregard for the ministry of the current pastor, or it might be a way for the retired priest to have his “own” Mass which does not adhere to the liturgical norms of the Church.

I am not in any way suggesting that any of the above might be happening, I simply did not want to leave your question of “why?” unanswered.



There’s no such thing as an “anticipated” Mass, not after the 1983 code was promulgated. It’s not the anticipated Mass of Sunday, it’s the Mass of the feast of Sunday (or so said John Paul II)

Your point is well-taken though. Regardless of the Mass texts used, if it’s a Mass on Saturday evening, it fulfills the obligation.


Yes, it will fulfill your Sunday obligation.


I am trying to read between the lines. It appears you are telling me that it depends upon the motive. The retired priest was saying mass for his elderly father and himself. I asked if I could attend. It appears you are saying I have an obligation to get permission from my pastor. Is that correct?



I am not saying that.

Don’t try to read between the lines.

-]I was only attempting to answer someone else’s question, who (apparently)/-] was unable to see how there could be any issue if this is some kind of regularly scheduled Mass.
Edit: yes, that someone “else” was you, but I did not notice it at the time, and treated it as a completely different question.

You do not need the pastor’s permission.

Again, NO, NO and NO.


Don’t read “between” the lines.

Instead, read “above” the line.

Read the part where I underlined
Only by way of answering your question, and not by way of speculating on what might be happening there,…


Thank you.



Totally unrelated except that it is about a private Mass, but touching nonetheless… Back in the late 90s, my father, who was a very holy man, very devout, Third Order Franciscan, would up in the hospital for 8 weeks, heart surgery, had to go back to surgery for internal bleeding that night, had a very bad stroke during that surgery, finally got out of ICU and in a regular room and they were pulling him up in bed and dislocated his shoulder, then he developed a massive bleeding ulcer and started vomiting blood so profusely he almost bled to death and took 8 units of blood, (I remember seeing a priest in the lobby and panicked started babbling at him and practically dragged him to the ICU, he was a wonderful priest for putting up with me, lol. ) Any way daddy was dealing with all of this plus having to face the fact that he had lost the use of his left side… And he was left handed. It was a very hard time for him. Then one day, about six weeks in, our parish priest, unannounced, drove the one hour trip to the hospital Daddy was in to visit him. And right there, in Daddys room, said Mass. I get choked up when i think about Father’s kindness, and what that Mass did spiritually for my Daddy. :*-)


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