When is the latest that mass can be held on Sunday?


I’ve never felt sure about this. At my old parish, the Saturday Vigil Mass started at 4:30pm, and the “last chance” mass on Sunday was held at 5:30pm. It doesn’t seem right to me that the two masses can be held 25 hours apart and still count for the same day, but that’s how it went. I’ve heard some say that the last mass must be finished by 6pm, and some others say it must be finished by sunset, but I’m honestly not sure what to believe here.


Sunday is Sunday so technically a Mass could be held at 11pm and still be a Sunday Mass. Many colleges have a late Sunday Mass at 7 or 8pm. The sun has nothing to do with it.


There is a Sunday 8:00 PM mass at the university parish that I go to.


The Local Ordinary decides the earliest time a Sunday Mass can be celebrated on Saturday, and the latest time a Sunday Mass can be celebrated on Sunday.

In my neck of the woods, Sunday Mass can be celebrated from 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, until 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Masses can be earlier or later, with the permission of the Ordinary. My university has a 10:00 p.m. Mass, with permission from our bishop.


The college I attended had a Mass at 10PM, so I’m sure it doesn’t matter.


What’s the sun got to do, got to do with it?! :smiley:


Thanks for the earworm. :smiley:


It doesn’t seem right to me that one would put off until the last minute to do their weekly obligation. But it doesn’t matter what I think. The last Mass for Sunday is whatever time the pastor decides the last Mass on Sunday will be.


At the nearby Cathedral, the first Sunday Mass is Saturday afternoon at 2:30. It celebrates many Masses from then until 8 PM Sunday evening, their last Mass of the weekend. It is the Cathedral, not a college campus, location.


I’m sure many folks in the health care, law enforcement an emergency services professions would be a little put out to be told they are “putting off” their Sunday obligation until the last minute.


When I was in the Army on field deployments we had mass at 10 PM on Sundays.


Our parish has an 8:30pm Mass on Sunday. In fact, our bishop has asked that each Vicariate have one parish that offers a Sunday pm Mass.

About a third of the attendees at that Mass are employees of a nearby hospital. If you are regularly on the night shift, it is a LOT easier to go so such a late Mass than most others.

Or for those who work there, but will cover for their Protestant co-workers so they can go to services, knowing that, as a Catholic, Mass will still be available for you later that day.


There is no rule (or norm, or whatever other word) that defines how late the Mass on Sunday can occur, other than to say that the Mass must begin before Midnight Sunday Night (ok, technically, Midnight is Monday).

In the old (1917) Code, Sunday Masses had to begin before Noon, but that is no longer the case—that law is completely abrogated.

What happens is that the Church uses two different systems for determining the day. The biblical system (and indeed, it was this for most of the Christian era) is that the next day begins when the previous day ends, i.e. at sunset. That’s the system still used by Jews, Moslems, and Eastern Christians. In order to be generous and allow for the longest possible time to fulfill the Sunday (or other Holy Day) obligation, the Church actually combines both the biblical and modern understandings. The end result is that on Sundays, the obligation can be fulfilled anytime from evening on Saturday to Midnight (should we say 11:59 PM?) on Sunday night.

A local diocese might (or might not) have particular law defining how late the parish Masses can be scheduled. For example, the local bishop can require that scheduled parish Masses occur no later than 6 PM. But that’s a scheduling issue, that has no bearing on the actual time for fulfilling the obligation.

A good reference for this is the Apostolic Letter Dies Domini of St. John Paul the Great.
See especially paragraphs 48 and 49.


It doesn’t seem right to me that someone would comment on what time I would go to Mass. :slight_smile: My husband is a morning person, and would prefer Mass at 8 AM; that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. There are legitimate reasons to have a late evening Mass. (It wasn’t the ‘last breakfast’, as I heard on a national Catholic speaker say, one time.) Should I say that people who go Saturday evening, or Sunday morning, just can’t wait to get it over with?? :slight_smile:

If we go at 8 PM Sunday evening, it wasn’t because we put it off. In fact, I look forward to it!


It just doesn’t right, does it? :rolleyes:


Our late, Sunday Mass if filled with college students.

It is wonderful to see the church filled with so many young people. :thumbsup:


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