Vigil question

I realize that Sunday Vigils are held for people that can’t make Sunday morning Mass. But does attending a Saturday night Sunday Vigil really fulfill one’s Sunday obligation even if the person could make a Sunday morning service, but just wanted his day to be free?


From the Code of Canon Law:

  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.

Anyone may attend the vigil or anticipated Mass on Saturday evening to fulfill their Sunday Obligation, provided the Mass begins at 4:00 pm or later. Their reason for fulfilling their Obligation in that fashion is irrelevant.

Are the Readings on a Saturday Night Vigil the same as for Sunday?


It is the same Mass on most occasions. Things like Midnight Mass and the Easter Vigil are different Masses, having their own propers, readings, etc.

From Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis :

“73. … Sunday thus appears as the primordial holy day, when all believers, wherever they are found, can become heralds and guardians of the true meaning of time. It gives rise to the Christian meaning of life and a new way of experiencing time, relationships, work, life and death. On the Lord’s Day, then, it is fitting that Church groups should organize, around Sunday Mass, the activities of the Christian community: social gatherings, programmes for the faith formation of children, young people and adults, pilgrimages, charitable works, and different moments of prayer. For the sake of these important values – while recognizing that Saturday evening, beginning with First Vespers, is already a part of Sunday and a time when the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled – we need to remember that it is Sunday itself that is meant to be kept holy, lest it end up as a day “empty of God.””

So, John, I am going to Mass tonight to fulfill my Sunday Obligation. It is the most convenient Mass offered this weekend for the schedule I wish to keep, although any Mass offered this weekend, including the two Sunday evening Masses available tomorrow night, will work fine with my schedule. What would you recommend I do tomorrow to keep the day from being “empty of God”?

I for one love the Easter vigil and love to attend the full triduum. In the past I was able to attend Sunday Mass as well but the three day triduum begins Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday and the Holy Saturday Mass has so much meaning. I only wish that I could attend Sunday as well. Maybe when my grandchildren are a little older. They enjoyed the three days but pushing them to a fourth is a little tough. But in a few years I will do Sunday again.

my pastor just corrected me when I referred to the Saturday evening Mass as a vigil, and stated it is an anticipated Sunday Mass.

And your Pastor is correct. However, the term “vigil” for the Saturday anticipated Mass has come into common usuage. Anyone care to speculate on how?

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