Second Sunday of Advent vs. Immaculate Conception


If I were to attend Mass at 6 tonight, would that Mass count for just the Second Sunday of Advent of for both the Second Sunday of Advent and the Immaculate Conception? I’m confused because I thought Mass couldn’t count for two holy days.


If the evening Mass is a Vigil mass for the HDO, then you’re covered. If it is Mass for the second Sunday of Advent, then you’ll need to go Mass tomorrow for the HDO.

In case I’ve got all this wrong, someone will be helpful and give the right info. :slight_smile:


A Latin Catholic is obliged to assist at Mass twice: once for Sunday and once for the Immaculate Conception. So it could be twice on Sunday when one of the times is after noon.


This canon lawyer says you’re wrong. :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

the kind of Mass one attends makes no difference whatsoever in respect of satisfying one’s Mass attendance obligation. If, say, Wednesday is a holy day of obligation, and I attend a funeral or a wedding or an ordination Mass that day, with nary a mention of the holy day, I have satisfied the obligation to attend Mass that day.


i believe tomorrow is a holy day of obligation. i’ll be there at 4pm. (God willing):stuck_out_tongue:


The general consensus seems to be that you do indeed need to attend two masses (one for the Sunday obligation and one for the IC obligation), but as canon law allows one to fulfill mass obligations on the holy day OR on the evening before in ANY Catholic rite, going to mass this morning and then again tonight (Sunday night), even if you hear the same readings both times, would cover both obligations.


According to Canon Law, I believe you are correct. However, the FSSP priest who said the 5:30 pm Mass for the 2nd Sunday of Advent said the Mass does not count for IC. So even though I attended OF last night AND EF tonight, I have to attend another one tomorrow. That’s okay because I have a choice between 2 EF’s at noon and am looking forward to it.


Yes. :yup:

I know nothing that empowers a priest to to make such an unqualified proclamation. :nope:

The Not Canon Lawyer


He may have misspoken a bit. Perhaps he was directing his comment to those who had not already attended an earlier Mass. In that case, one Mass on Sunday evening would not fulfill both obligations. However, if someone went Saturday evening or Sunday morning (for the Sunday obligation) then the evening Mass on Sunday (or a Mass on Monday) would fulfill their holy day obligation.


Yes. What was surprising (to me, anyway) is that he in effect directed all present to attend an OF Mass if they had to, as he would say the EF at another parish.

While Canon Law may be clear (?) on a stand-alone festive occasion, it doesn’t seem to be clear on a consecutive-festive day occasions. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why HBO was dropped if it fell on a Monday or Saturday, except of course if it’s Christmas or the Immaculate Conception.

But that’s a debate I’m going to stay away from, if it’s okay. :slight_smile:


To be certain which Mass fulfills which obligation it is probably best/easiest to simply call the parish or diocese or look on the parish/diocesan webpage or bulletin for that information. :slight_smile:

At my parish Mass Sunday evening was the 2nd Sunday of Advent. Today’s Masses, Dec. 8, fulfill the IC obligation. We are going this evening after my dh gets home from work.


I could fulfill my Sunday obligation at an Eastern Catholic parish where Advent is not being celebrated…or on Monday Dec 8 at an Eastern parish where it is not in any way the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The specific rite has zero bearing on the obligation. Of course if one wishes to have a fruitful spiritual life, it is best to follow one particular liturgical calendar where possible!


Now that I think about it, perhaps the priest meant that just attending once during the “overlap” period (4 -11:59pm Dec 7) does not satisfy both obligations. One skilled with Venn diagrams I suppose can easily make the case that it does. After all we only go once when Dec 8th falls on a Sunday.

In any case, today’s Mass wasn’t an inconvenience for me so I’m glad at least I heard the Gloria in Latin. :slight_smile:


I feel compelled to respond to this, as I’d like to make a suggestion. We need to be very careful to not take an overly legalistic approach to anything. The “letter of the law,” is exactly as so many have outlined. One is to assist at Mass on the Solemnity. Which rite the liturgy is celebrated in, or even if it is the liturgy of the actual solemnity, matters not in whether one meets one’s obligation.

But, we don’t merely have an obligation to attend Mass. God calls us to an ever deeper, more vibrant, spiritual life. As Catholics, we think with the mind of the Church and follow the liturgy as the Church instructs us. So, while, yes, one could attend Mass both Sunday morning and Sunday evening, and meet the letter of the law, personally, I would argue that this individual is not meeting the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law is to celebrate the Immaculate Conception. Assisting twice at the Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent deprives the person of fully entering into the mystery that is the Immaculate Conception.

Are there good reasons for doing this, however? Certainly. Perhaps someone knows that he/she must travel all day today and it is either go to Mass for 2 Advent twice, or commit grave sin. By all means, take the option of not committing grave sin. However, this doesn’t change the fact that the ideal is to assist at both celebrations.

To draw a comparison, popular youth speaker Chris Stefanick has a popular YouTube video out, where he tells a story of a young man playing a video game during Mass, the entire time. Did that young man meet his obligation to attend Mass? I suppose technically he did. But, did he enter into the liturgy? Did he celebrate the liturgy as the Church intends and desires? Hardly.

If the readings really “don’t matter,” as we are quick to be reminded, why did the Church go to great length to give us the three year cycle of Scripture readings? Why were specific readings meticulously chosen for specific feasts? My fear is that this debate, which happens pretty much every time IC falls on a Saturday or Monday, far from leading the faithful to a deeper appreciation of the liturgy, leads them to treat it with a certain banality that all that really matters is “meeting my obligation,” punching my timecard so to speak. Remember, “the sabbath was not made for man, but man for the sabbath.” Celebrate both feasts. It’s what Holy Mother Church desires, even if it’s not the technical “letter” of the law.


OK…I just noticed an egregious error in my post. It should say, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”


When it falls on Monday, the Sunday of Advent takes precedent, and the feast is transferred to Monday, but not the obligation. So, it’s not really the same situation.


So, if one were to go to 6pm Mass on Sunday night, and if he or she didn’t go in the morning or the previous evening, would it count for the Second Sunday of Advent AND the Immaculate Conception or just the Second Sunday of Advent?



One has an obligation for each-- two obligations, two Masses.


Yes, but if you attended an Eastern Catholic parish on December 9, when the Maternity of Holy Anna was being celebrated, would that count?:wink:

So, a second Mass on Sunday evening, in which the feast is not celebrated, would count. A Divine Liturgy on Tuesday, in which the feast is being celebrated, would not count. The first fulfills the letter of the law, the second fulfills the spirit of the law.


I frequently note that I Am Not A Canon Lawyer*, but I am acquainted with a couple, more than one of whom has admitted *“Yeah, it’s possible to get a two-fer, but Liturgists don’t like to talk about it.” *(Perhaps they were being facetious, who knows? :shrug: )

Here’s a hypothetical: Suppose between 23:59 Friday 5-Dec and 00:01 Tuesday 9-Dec, I assist at exactly one Mass, at 18:30 on Sunday 7-Dec.

*]Which obligation have I failed to meet? How do I know?
*]Does it matter if I heard heard readings & prayers for II Sunday of Advent or for the Immaculate Conception?
*]What if I heard some other set of readings & prayers? What if the Mass I attended was at St Stanislaus and was conducted in Polish, which I do not understand, and so do not know what Mass was said?
*]What if I intended to keep one obligation to the exclusion of the other? Do the readings & prayers matter now?

Not A Canon Lawyer
(* see!?)

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