What is the latest you can arrive at Mass and still meet the Sunday obligation?

I’ve always wondered what’s the latest time we can arrive for any Mass (but particularly Sunday Mass) and still have validly attended.

Is it before the Liturgy of the Word, the Consecration, the Homily, etc.? I’ve heard multiple different responses.

Pax Tecum.

There is no definitive answer to this question specified by any Church document that applies today. There are lots of opinions, and I'm sure you'll hear them shortly.

If this is about you, just remember that God knows your heart and whether you have truly done your best to get to Mass - all of Mass.

Betsy

To consider to have participated in the whole Mass you must participate in the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. You must hear the readings.

Take a look about halfway through the article here: jimmyakin.org/2006/01/fulfilling_ones.html

As long as you get there by the beginning of the Offertory, you’re good. A local priest I asked said the same thing, as did my father.

In primary school in the mid 1960s, we were told that we had to be present for the Offertory, the Consecration, and the Priests Communion. At a couple of parish churches ive attended, the Sunday School children came in just before the Offertory.
Mass in a war zone can be very short; probably just the above.

Being late should be an absolute exception. Car breaks down, medical emergency etc. Anyone looking in advance to find out how late they can be in my view is not showing the reverence needed. Next they will be asking how long before the Mass ends can they leave!

That can’t be right. You can miss the whole sermon and still have fulfilled the obligation? You’re talking maybe 30 minutes late into the Mass.

That’s not fair. This could be a person who arrived late and now wants to find out whether or not they met the Sunday obligation, past tense. It could be someone who knows a friend who arrived late. Or maybe its the sort of person who just likes to wonder about these things.

[quote="thistle, post:6, topic:182377"]
Being late should be an absolute exception.

[/quote]

I'm not saying that they're sinning but I do see some who are repeatedly and conveniently coming in at the last minute just so they can get an aisle seat, then look disgusted when someone coming in even later gets the aisle seat from the usher. Sometimes I hear the "Excuse me, excuse me" more than any reading. :)

That’s what the priest told me, and I’m not about to second-guess him.

[quote="thistle, post:6, topic:182377"]
Being late should be an absolute exception. Car breaks down, medical emergency etc. Anyone looking in advance to find out how late they can be in my view is not showing the reverence needed. Next they will be asking how long before the Mass ends can they leave!

[/quote]

Agreed. We ought not try to find out how much we can "get away with"-- but that doesn't mean we should be uncharitable toward an honest question.

For me though I don’t have a problem showing-up to Mass late luckily :smiley: I was just curious for curiosity’s sake :thumbsup:

[quote="Tim_Kirchoff, post:4, topic:182377"]
Take a look about halfway through the article here: jimmyakin.org/2006/01/fulfilling_ones.html

As long as you get there by the beginning of the Offertory, you're good. A local priest I asked said the same thing, as did my father.

[/quote]

Wrong!

You missed the entire Liturgy of the Word in that case.

I don’t believe the OP is talking about the Mass of the 1960’s or a Mass in a war zone.

Whoever said being late should be an absolute exception has never had to go to church with my family - rotfl :slight_smile:

Anyhow - Homily is what I was always told. Though more recently, I have hear that as long as you are there by the time the Consecration begins, you have fulfilled your obligation. (who came up with the “obligation” anyhow? it makes it sound so painful, which it shouldn’t be.)

Oh, and p.s., if there’s a medical emergency - I’m not going to mass, sorry.

Love in Christ,
Sarah

You know what you are talking about. The 2 integral parts of the Mass are the Liturgy of the Word and the Litugy of the Eucharist. The latest one can arrive at Mass and still meet the Sunday obligation would be to not miss either.

I would thank you to cite a source rather than simply assert your point.

[quote="Cathryn, post:16, topic:182377"]
You know what you are talking about. The 2 integral parts of the Mass are the Liturgy of the Word and the Litugy of the Eucharist. The latest one can arrive at Mass and still meet the Sunday obligation would be to not miss either.

[/quote]

The more important of the two parts, however, is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We're not Protestant: the focus of the Mass is not the sermon, but Christ present in the Eucharist. As long as people arrive in time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, they have technically fulfilled their Sunday obligation (even though they are quite late).

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=13499

Prior to Vatican II, the common catechesis was that a person had to be present for the Offertory, Consecration, and Communion, or one had not fulfilled the Mass obligation and was required to go to another Mass. While a noble attempt to get people to church on time by giving them the time at which they were late, it had two unforeseen effects:
Those with freer consciences would arrive after the start of the Mass, knowing that as long as they got there on time for the Offertory all was well. Although I am a post-Vatican-II convert myself, I have been told by pre-Vatican-II Catholics that it was not unusual for people to walk in after the Mass began but before the Offertory started.
Those with tender consciences suffered deeply from scruples and would believe themselves in a state of mortal sin even though their tardiness to Mass was entirely out of their control (e.g., the car broke down; road hazards slowed down traffic; etc.).

Both of these conditions were unhealthy, and following Vatican II the cut-off point of the Offertory was dropped. Another reason that contributed to that was the elevation of the liturgy of the word and the homily to their modern importance in the Mass.

Basically, the Church wants us to be there for the full Mass:

If there is just cause for being late to a particular Mass, one has still met one’s Sunday obligation (and can receive Communion), but being late should not become a habit. If there is not just cause, one may still have met the Sunday obligation but the fact that one has not treated the Mass as a serious and holy event to which one should be prompt might be a matter to consider during an examination of conscience. If the matter is not mortally sinful because of lack of full knowledge or lack of free consent, one can still receive Communion. Because there is no longer a cut-off point after which you are late for Mass, the temptation to regularly budget one’s time around the Offertory and skid into the pew just as it begins is removed.

See also:
ewtn.com/library/Liturgy/zliturg9.htm

There are all sorts of reasons for arriving late. Some are voluntary (e.g. hungover and got a late start, had to stop at Starbucks first, couldn’t fit into desired clothes, etc) and some are involuntary (e.g. massive traffic jam, bad weather, sick family member or friend, etc). The voluntary ones don’t even deserve a justification: it’s pure laziness and to me that’s not a valid reason for being tardy. In such case, as I see it, the “obligation” is not met (and really would not have been met in pre-conciliar times either). Period.

But the involuntary ones are a different story. The person had the full intention of being on time for Mass but was impeded due to circumstances beyond his/her control. In such case, the law does (and did not, even in pre-conciliar times) not penalize, and I believe the “obligation” is met, even for a late arrival.

Merely my unsolicited :twocents:

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