Saturday Vigil instead of Sunday Mass?

Is it true that you can go to Saturday vigil Mass (5:30pm & 7:30pm) instead of Sunday Mass?

I heard it was made possible for the people whom are missing Sunday Mass to give them another option.

I think it is a matter of how Jews worshipped, counting the next day from sunset or some such thing. So, if you go to Saturday Vigil, you are really worshipping on Sunday according to that line of thinking. Anyway, your specific times are not laid in stone either. I think it is after 5:00 period. Could be 5:30 at your parish, but it can be after 5:00 from what I understand. Anytime after that.

I attended a parish where two Vigil Masses were held.

4:30pm in English
7:00pm in Spanish

I would think if the priest would call it a Vigil mass, it would count toward your Sunday obligation…

A Vigil Mass (Liturgy) can begin at 4 PM on Saturday evening. The Readings and Gospel will be the Sunday Liturgy of that week. And it does draw from our Jewish heritage … that the day begins at sunset. Notice the Easter Vigil begins after dark on Saturday evening … and represents the beginning of the Easter Season … Mike:shrug:

Can’t the four or five o’clock thing be determined by diocese? I think here in the Chicago archdiocese it is five, but I could be wrong. Anyway, glad to know I was right about the Jews and the reasoning behind this.

Yes, a Vigil Mass, whether it be on Sunday night or the evening before a Holy Day of Obligation, where the reading are for that Sunday or Holy Day or specifically designed for a Vigil Mass, does indeed meet the Mass attendance obligations.

I have seen here that these are properly called “anticipated masses.”

Vigil Mass refers to such as Eastern Vigil, Evening of Christmas Eve, and the like.

While it has only been about 4 years since my confirmation, I have never heard the term “anticipated Mass” before. Many parishes refer to the Saturday evening Mass as a “Vigil” in their schedule and the liturgy of the Hours does not even have Evening or Night Prayer for Saturday but instead calls it Sunday Evening I.

bpbasilphx is right about the terminology. I don’t know when, why, or how “vigil Mass” started getting used to refer to the anticipated Saturday evening Mass, but it’s not the right term. A vigil Mass is something very specific, and the “Sunday Mass on Saturday” is not a vigil.

Vigil Masses have their own entries on the liturgical calendar; anticipated Masses do not.

To the OP, CherishNY

Yes. If you attend any Catholic Mass at 5:30 PM or 7:30 PM on Saturday evening, you have fulfilled your Sunday obligation.

The reason why some people hesitate on this is because under the old 1917 code of canon law, one needed a reason to attend Saturday evening. A person could not simply choose to go on Saturday as an option to Sunday. That no longer applies. Any Saturday evening Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation, regardless of the person’s motivation for choosing Saturday instead of Sunday. But at the same time, the old idea still lingers. They mean well. Keep in mind that Catholics before 1983 were told that Saturday Masses didn’t count unless one had no option of going on Sunday (which was true at the time), so it was a very serious matter.

Actually, a Sunday Mass on Saturday evening (according to the secular calendar) is properly called “the festive Mass of Sunday”

Thank you for the history of this, Father. You are a wealth of information! :slight_smile:

Thanks to all for your answers!!

I suggest that those who are reading this thread should read Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (the Lord’s Day). It’s a very enlightening and wonderful letter which unfortunately doesn’t receive much publicity.

PS: Paragraph 49 gives a direct answer to the question posed by the OP here.

Thank you SO much for this, Fr. David!

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