Vigil mass on Saturday


From my understanding this is suppose to fall after sun set. At my Church it start at 4:00pm. If I got does this still fufill my obligation even if it dosnt fall after sunset? Also, would it be considered sin to work after sunset on Saturday because technically Sunday has begun?


To my knowledge, the “after sunset” rule only applies to the Easter Vigil. Every Saturday Mass I’m aware of begins at either 4 or 5, which for most of the year is well before sunset. I a unaware that the Church has ever taught that the “Sunday rest” requirements apply as of sunset on Saturday. That would be a Jewish interpretation of when their Sabbath begins.


The Church allows us to fulfill our obligation on the feast day or the preceding “evening”.

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

To understand the precise meaning of “evening” one can look to the canon in Latin.

Can. 1248 — § 1. Praecepto de Missa participanda satisfacit qui Missae assistit ubicumque celebratur ritu catholico vel ipso die festo vel **vespere **diei praecedentis.

Vespers begins at 4 p.m. It is referring to a specific liturgical timeframe. So, 4 p.m. is meant in this canon, not “after sunset”.

Sunday has not begun at 4 p.m. Saturday. It begins at midnight:

Can. 202 §1. In law, a day is understood as a period consisting of 24 continuous hours and begins at midnight unless other provision is expressly made


Correct, the Easter Vigil has a specific rubric. Missale Romanum, “Rubrics for the Easter Vigil” (EV), no.3

Tota celebratio Vigliae paschalis peragi debet noctu, ita ut vel non incipiatur ante initium noctis, vel finiatur ante diluculum diei dominicae.

The whole celebration of the Paschal Vigil ought to be completed at night, both so that it does not begin before the beginning of night, or and that it finishes before dawn of Sunday.

This is quite different because it isn’t talking about any specific liturgical time, like vespers, but instead literally after nightfall, after the sun has gone down. So, the time could vary greatly between Alaska and the Equator.

CDWS Paschale Solemnitatis:

  1. This rule is to be taken according to its strictest sense. Reprehensible are those abuses and practices which have crept in many places in violation of this ruling, whereby the Easter Vigil is celebrated at the time of day that it is customary to celebrate anticipated Masses.


And strictly speaking it is not a Vigil (in any sense of the word) but an anticipated Sunday Mass.


According to Fr David, and I believe he’s right, there is no “anticipated” about it. Vespere begins the “dies diminicus” or the Lord’s Day, not to be confused with the midnight-to-midnight Sunday. Nor is it to be, as you say, a Vigil. Nor an Eve, for that matter.


What does Fr. David call it then?



Or more specifically, the “festive Mass of Sunday.” See


Interesting, thanks. I know another priest who says it is “anticipated,” so now we need a bishop to weigh in and outrank them. :slight_smile: At least we all agree it isn’t a vigil…


It might have been “anticipated” before St. John Paul II called it (using the genitive form) “dies dominicus” or the Lord’s Day. As Fr. David noted, and he seems to know the Latin, the translator did a poor job of translating into English. Nothing new there.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “2185: On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.123 Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.”

Underlining mine. That should answer your question concerning the issue of sin. The issue of sunset was treated before this post. If you are not sure about work on Sunday, speak with your pastor or spiritual adviser, and please, for the sake of those behind you waiting for confession (assuming you decide to inquire there) keep it short.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit