Saturday Mass versus Sunday Mass


Is attending mass on Saturday considered the same as attending mass on Sunday? I prefer to go on Saturday as reconciliation is offered before mass. However, I have been told that a Saturday Mass does not act as a substitute for Sunday Mass.



Yes, as long as it is the vigil mass. The vigil mass can begin any time on or after 4:00 pm local time.


There are two kinds of Saturday Masses, normally speaking (not including weddings and funerals) - one is the Mass of the Day, which is not interchangeable with the Sunday Mass, and the Vigil Mass, which is.

In most places in North America, Masses said after 4:00 pm on Saturday are counted as Vigil Masses for Sunday. If this is the Mass that you are going to on Saturdays, then it “counts” for Sunday.

However, if you go earlier in the day (especially if you go before noon), then it will be a Mass of the Day, which is specific to Saturday only.

The best way to find out for sure is to ask the priest who is presiding.


was the person who told you this the bishop of the diocese, who is the person who decides when and if Saturday evening Mass may be celebrated in anticipation of Sunday and fulfill the Sunday obligation? NO? Then by what authority did this person speak to you? This topic is being discussed in at least 2 current threads on the liturgy and sacrament forums, and is discussed very frequently, and has also been answered on AAA. The Saturday evening anticipated Mass is not truly a vigil, unless it is the day before a feast day.


I love Saturday vigil mass.

When my husband and I were still Protestant, our high school daughters were members of an elite synchronized skating team. We commuted 65 miles (one way) to attend their practices, which were held on Saturday mornings 5:30 AM-1PM, and Sunday mornings 5:00 AM -noon. (also Tuesday evenings 8:00 PM-10:30 PM).

So obviously, we couldn’t go to Sunday morning church.

At that time (late 90s, early 00s), very few Protestant churches were holding Saturday evening services, and many had cut out Sunday evening services.

So we were essentially unable to attend church services. This really bothered us, because of the admonition in Hebrews to “not forsake assembling together.” We were still involved in ministries in the church (youth group for our older daughter, children’ ministries for me), but that wasn’t the same as a church service.

One Saturday afternoon, I announced to my husband that I was going to evening mass at the Catholic church down the street from us. I argued that even though they teach some things we don’t agree with, it’s still a Christian church, and it’s important to obey God and associate with other Christians.

So we went, and the rest is history!

We just wish that we had been Catholic while our kids were growing up. We attended so many skating competitions that didn’t allow us to attend church. Most of the time, skating competitions are over by 5 PM on Saturday (because of hockey), and we would have been able to attend mass together as a family. (The competitions start back up again at around 7:00 AM Sunday morning, although practices sometimes start as early as 4:00 AM. )

In fact, I often see whole familes in our 6:00 PM vigil mass that have obviously participated in soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. Last spring, there was a huge soccer competition in our city, and a family was visiting, wearing their soccer gear. I was sitting next to them and afterwards, the mom asked me where our Adoration Chapel was. She had read about it online.

So I took them over to the Adoration Chapel. The boys were about 10 and 13, and when they looked into the chapel, they both said in breathless voice, “Oh, WOW!”

I thought that was so neat, that their mother has taught them to be awed in the presence of Our Lord!


Hi Pluggedin,

There will always be some who are more Catholic than the pope. Yes Saturday Mass, as scheduled by your parish, “count” for Sunday. Starting a feast on the preceding day is common in the Roman liturgy, most notably with the Easter Vigil.



From the Code of Canon Law:

Canon 1247 On Sundays and other holydays of obligation, the faithful are obliged to assist at Mass. …
Canon 1248 §1 The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day.


Saturday evening mass counts, that’s been covered. Why though? Because in ancient Judaic tradition the start of the next day occured at sundown. That “sundown” for us occurs at (what I thought) 5:00 pm local time. I could be wrong since 4pm is the catch time hereabouts. Thus Saturday EVENING mass counts towards the Sunday obligation, whereas saturday morning mass does not. And now you know.


the “why” is that the bishops have spoken, and the anticipated Saturday evening Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation. It is not any more lazy or misguided to attend Mass on Saturday for conveniece or preference than it is to attend any Sunday Mass for that reason. If the golfers want to go to 7:30 Mass on Sunday does that make them less reverent or devoted than the Noon Mass crowd?


you missed it, the deeper reasoning behind the choice of the bishops was explained in my post above yours. One of the things that makes the catholic church great is that there is rarely, if ever, a case where the sole justification for something is “because I said so…” This is a VERY important distinguishing factor in the faith of Catholicism

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