When does Advent technically end?

I believe, if I am correct, that tomorrow is Monday of the fourth week of Advent, and then Advent ends with the Christmas Vigil in the evening. Is there any specific time that Advent technically ends, or is it just with the Christmas Vigil?

It ends with the first Mass of Christmas, commonly known in today’s parlance as the Vigil Mass of Christmas.

A parish in my town has a 4:00 Vigil Mass. So I guess it’d be 4:00 in my time zone. :wink:

It would end at first Vespers, which is generally celebrated no earlier than four o’clock.

Advent Ends @ 5:59 pm Christmas Eve

Earliest Vigil Christmas Mass can begin is at 6:00 pm. Christmas Eve.

Source? Many parishes here and elsewhere allow Vigil Masses to begin as early as 4PM. Commonplace.

Same here. A source document would be very helpful.

ditto for me. I’ll be going to Mass at 4:30 today with my family. My home Parish will have two Masses at the same time at 4:30 as well (Church and multi purpose room).

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Typically the name Vigil means Evening.
Given a 24hour day is divided into fours parts Night, Morning, Afternoon and Evening.

Local Bishops decide for themselves usually out of convience to parishiioners when to hold a Christmas or Easter Vigil Mass.

I must say though I’ve never seen an Easter Vigil Mass celebrated before 6:00pm with most traditionally held at dusk.

The earliest I’ve seen Christmas Vigil Mass is 5:00 pm.

My parish celebrates three Vigil Christmas Eve Masses at 6pm, 8pm and 10pm. due to the size of the parish members. All three Masses are always packed with 800 plus with standing room in the Atrium.

We have 3 vigil masses in our parish: 4:00, 7:00, and 12:00.

As I understand it, all Solemnities (Christmas included) begin at 4 PM. This comes from the original concept that each day begins at sunset. But this does not work since we now live north of the Arctic Circle (and sunset was a few weeks ago :confused: ) So the time was fixed at 4 PM.

Your opinion on how the day should properly be divided doesn’t really hold much weight in opposition to prevailing practice in many dioceses, unless you’ve got some documentation. I think almost any diocese in the US will have parishes celebrating 4pm Christmas vigil masses. Here are several:
St Joseph Bellevue, Iowa
St Anthony the Abbot Brooksville, Florida
Our Lady of Fatima Spokane, Washington
Immaculate Heart of Mary Concord, New Hampshire
St John Neumann Yuma, Arizona

[quote=centurionguard]I must say though I’ve never seen an Easter Vigil Mass celebrated before 6:00pm with most traditionally held at dusk.

Easter has its own rules that IIRC prohibit mass before sunset. I believe this is laid out in Paschale Solemnitatis, and is a stricter standard than that for normal vigil or anticipated masses. Not that such rules, for Easter or other vigils, are always followed…

[quote=centurionguard]My parish celebrates three …due to the size of the parish members.


BTW, I like the illustration, but is that a waterfall behind the Holy Family in Bethlehem?

I wasn’t holding any weight to an opinionated argument in opposition to the practice of how the Vigil of Christmas is celebrated in many parishes. Who knows perhaps some parishes choose to celebrate Midnight Mass at 11:30pm instead of midnight.:shrug:

I was trying to highlight significance to the word Vigil itself.

I doubt that there is any idea that the day would be divided in 4 equal parts. For ‘night’ to begin as the first part of the day (beginning at midnight) seems to even contradict the very term ‘midnight’. If we use a 24 hour day, there is no assurance that the hours were of equal length. Sundials were commonly used and the length of each hour varied greatly.

So if midnight is the middle of a 6 hour period, divisions would be

Night: 9 pm to 3am
Morning: 3am to 9am
… that does not work. for afternoon would not start at noon.

SO a 4 equal division day contradicts the words: Midnight and Afternoon.

I know the Hispanic culture often uses Buenas Tardes (Good afternoon) even into the evening.

Perhaps, but you do not seem to be very knowledgeable about the meaning of the word, or when Masses are permitted. And the practice of Midnight Mass is only a custom; there is no obligation to have Mass at or even around Midnight. The missal only says Missa ad Noctem, Mass at night. Even the Holy Father’s Mass, which I am watching live now, started at 10PM Roman time. Many parishes where I am choose to have the “Midnight” Mass at 9PM.

The liturgical norms define the day as midnight to midnight so Advent days begin from midnight of the first Sunday of Advent and end just before midnight of Christmas.

But, since the celebration is anticipated on the previous evening, when people say it begins and ends then it means the celebration begins and ends on the evening.

Nice Chart:

When I noticed you were from Canada, I wondered whether this might have something to do with the it. Sure enough, I found it was rare for parishes in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to have 4pm masses today. In fact, I only found one after checking about 10 different parishes.
St Joachim’s Saint John, New Brunswick

Previously, I checked about 10 American parishes, and probably 3/4 of them had 4pm masses. Part of the issue may be population - many of the Nova Scotia parishes looked rather tiny, and may have only one Christmas Eve mass. In that case, they’re more likely to do the single mass somewhere in the 6 to 7:30 range, rather than doing one “early” at 4 and another “late” at 10 or midnight. But in your example, there are 3 masses, but none before 6.

I’m not sure whether this pattern holds true for the other maritimes, or the rest of Canada.

Actually the word “vigil” means “watch” as in keeping watch. Vigils is the monastic Night Office and comes from keeping a prayer watch during the night. The Christmas Vigil Mass is keeping a watch, or a vigil, waiting for Christ.

It’s one of the few actual “vigil” Masses (Easter, Pentecost and the solemnity of St. John the Baptist the others as I recall, at least in the Ordinary Form), in that the readings are anticipatory in nature and it is NOT the same Mass as celebrated on the actual day of the feast.

What we most often call the “Vigil” Mass on Saturday evening is rather the anticipated Sunday Mass. It isn’t a vigil in the true sense, but instead is identical to the Sunday Mass.

From CDW: General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar

** I. The Liturgical Day in General**
3. Each day is made holy through the liturgical celebrations of the people of God, especially through the eucharistic sacrifice and the divine office. The liturgical day runs from midnight to midnight, but the observance of Sunday and solemnities begins with the evening of the preceding day.


Not quite sure where you get the implied word ‘watch’ as defining the meaning Vigil Latin “Vigilia”.


Eve of a Feast

(Or VIGIL; Latin Vigilia; Greek pannychis).

In the first ages, during the night before every feast, a vigil was kept. In the evening the faithful assembled in the place or church where the feast was to be celebrated and prepared themselves by prayers, readings from Holy Writ (now the Offices of Vespers and Matins), and sometimes also by hearing a sermon. On such occasions, as on fast days in general, Mass also was celebrated in the evening, before the Vespers of the following day. Towards morning the people dispersed to the streets and houses near the church, to wait for the solemn services of the forenoon. This vigil was a regular institution of Christian life and was defended and highly recommended by St. Augustine and St. Jerome (see Pleithner, “Aeltere Geschichte des Breviergebetes”, pp. 223 sq.). The morning intermission gave rise to grave abuses; the people caroused and danced in the streets and halls around the church (Durandus, “Rat. Div. off.”, VI, 7). St. Jerome speaks of these improprieties (Epist. ad Ripuarium).

As the feasts multiplied, the number of vigils was greatly reduced. But the abuses could be stopped only by abolishing the vigils. And where they could not be abrogated at once and entirely they were to begin in the afternoon. A synod held at Rouen in 1231 prohibited all vigils except those before the patronal feast of a church (Hefele, “Conciliengeschichte”, V, 1007). In place of nocturnal observances, the bishops introduced for the laity a fast on the day before the feast, which fast Durandus (loc. cit.) calls “jejunium dispensationis”. Honorius of Auxerre, in 1152 (Gemma Animae, III, 6), and others explain in this way the origin of this fast. It existed, however, long before the abolition of the nocturnal meetings. The fast on Christmas Eve is mentioned by Theophilus of Alexandria (d. 412), that before the Epiphany by St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), that before Pentecost by the Sacramentary of St. Leo I. Pope Nicholas I (d. 867), in his answer to the Bulgarians, speaks of the fast on the eves of Christmas and of the Assumption. The Synod of Erfurt (932) connects a fast with every vigil. The very fact that the people were not permitted to eat or drink before the services of the vigil (Vespers and Matins) were ended, after midnight, explains the excesses of which the councils and writers speak.

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