Sunday obligation


Do you have to get permission to go to mass on Saturday evening, or do you have a choice between Saturday evening and Sunday morning?


From what I understand in the United States is Mass on Saturday evening fulfills the requirements for Sunday, no special permission required.


Well, here in the United States you have a choice. You can either go on Saturday evening or on Sunday. It doesn't matter. :)


[quote="Roger12345, post:1, topic:305462"]
Do you have to get permission to go to mass on Saturday evening, or do you have a choice between Saturday evening and Sunday morning?


It has nothing to do with being in the United States.

The universal law of the Church permits Catholics to fulfill their obligation on Saturday evening or Sunday.


Are there masses on other days of the week, too? Besides the weekend?


Yes, there is daily Mass. But only Saturday evening or Sunday fulfill the Sunday obligation.


The daily masses during the week are the same as or similar in quality or content to the ones held on the weekend?
Or are the week ones “smaller” or “incomplete” or different, that they don’t count in the same way?


Daily Masses are not “incomplete.” They’re are differences, however. The daily Mass does not have the same number of readings, and a few of the prayers are reserved for obligation (Sunday) Masses. During the week, there is one Old Testament reading, the Psalm, followed by the Gospel. During the obligation Mass, there is also a New Testament reading. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is the same both during the week and on Sundays.

As others have said, anybody can meet the Sunday obligation by attending Mass on Saturday evenings. In the Middle East, the weekend is extended to include Fridays. The Obligation Mass has the scheduled Sunday readings.


So…those differences you describe above…are they the reason why the mass during weekdays cannot count as the “obligation” mass?

And…someone might go to mass five times during the week, but…that still would not be enough? They would have to go on the weekend as well, else they will be in grave sin?



It is not a matter of “enough” or “not enough”.

Yes (assuming they skipped the Mass intentionally and without a serious reason-- one is excused from the obligation if one is, for instance, too ill to attend). The obligation is to participate in the Mass on the Lord’s Day as part of our obedience to the 3rd Commandment. The Lord’s Day is the day of the Resurrection-- Sunday. It is reckoned from the evening before, in the tradition of both the Christian and Jewish counting of time.


Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It is set aside, holy, as a special day in commemoration of the Resurrection. It goes back to our Jewish roots in which our ancestors set aside the Sabbath as holy onto the Lord as contained within the Ten Commandments.

Although we are “obligated” to attend Mass on Sundays, we are also called to pray daily. Attending Mass during the week is an act of the heart. We attend because of our desire to spend more time with our Lord, with our God, and to be fed by word and by His very flesh. Of course, our reason for attending the weekend Mass should also be more than a matter of “obligation.” We attend because of our love of God.

Just as the Jews counted the Sabbath from sunrise the previous Friday, we count Sunday from the previous Saturday.

Another way of putting this then, would be to say that the Day, Sunday, was established first. The readings were then put in place to reflect its special place in the week.


People get hung up on the word ‘obligation’.

Jesus rose on Sunday. . .the Lord’s Day. . .and from Scripture on we are told that Christians met **that day. **Instead of worshipping on the Sabbath as the Jews did, Christians worship on Sunday.

BUT. . .since Christianity is a ‘fulfilled Judaism’ we also keep many parts of Jewish tradition around our meeting. Part of that is the fact that the Jewish culture counts days not from midnight to midnight, but from ‘dusk’ to ‘dusk’. That is the reason that the Jewish sabbath starts on FRIDAY NIGHT, and Jewish services are held on FRIDAY EVENING and on SATURDAY MORNING, BOTH OF WHICH fulfill the Sabbath obligation.

So: For a Christian, attending Mass on Saturday evening (usually considered to be after 4 p.m.) or on Sunday will fulfill the obligation.

We have ‘daily Mass’ in addition to and not 'as a substitute for’ the weekly Lord’s Day obligation.


If you're able to, you should go to Sunday Mass.


This implies one must have a “reason” to attend Saturday, and this simply is not true.


I am saying you should attend, unless if for some reason you are un-able to. i.e. job, illness, etc.


And she is saying that the Church imposes no such obligation. Even if the reason is one of simple convenience, Mass on Saturday evening is perfectly acceptable to meet you obligation. It isn’t right for you to suggest to others that going Sunday morning is somehow “superior”. If you feel that way it’s a personal matter and not something others should be made to feel guilty about.


Sunday is the Lord’s Day. We celebrate the Lord’s Day by going to Mass and refraining from unnecessary work.

This is completely separate from how many Masses one attends during the week - a Mass celebrated on a week day is not a celebration of the Lord’s Day, although it is certainly the perfect way to pray on any day, which is why it is available.


You have choice of when to attend the liturgy but the Sunday (or Holy Day) itself is still to be kept holy as usual, see canon law (Latin = CIC, eastern = CCEO):

CIC Can. 1247
On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

CIC Can. 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.

CCEO Can. 881

  1. The Christian faithful are bound by the obligation to participate on Sundays and feast days in the Divine Liturgy, or according to the prescriptions or legitimate customs of their own Church sui iuris, in the celebration of the divine praises.

  2. In order for the Christian faithful to fulfill this obligation more easily, the available time runs from the evening of the vigil until the end of the Sunday or feast day.

  3. The Christian faithful are strongly recommended to receive the Divine Eucharist on these days and indeed more frequently, even daily.

  4. The Christian faithful should abstain from those labors or business matters which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s day, or to the proper relaxation of mind and body.


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