Earlier today, I attended a confirmation mass (had younger siblings getting confirmed). Technically, the mass was considered a Saturday daily mass because the Saturday readings were used, there was no second reading and no creed. However, at the end of mass, the bishop (who was a retired bishop), said that since the mass started at 1:30 and was approaching the 4:00 hour, it would fulfill the Sunday obligation. I’m not sure what to think about this since mass ended roughly an hour before 4:00, along with Sunday using different readings. Just looking for some input here to decide whether or not I should go to mass on Sunday (or tonight’s vigil) anyway.
In general 4:00 pm on Saturday is considered the earliest to fulfill a Sunday obligation, though I have seen it argued that anything after 12 pm counts as well. Immaculate Conception parish in Jacksonville lists a 12:10 pm Saturday Mass which they state fulfills the Sunday obligation. Perhaps the local bishop has some say in how the canon law is interpreted in this regard? A parish in my own diocese has a 3:45 pm Sunday Vigil, though the consecration would obviously take place after 4 pm (unless the Mass were somehow ridiculously rushed and lots of prayers were skipped) so this is probably not a great example. I wish I could give you a more concrete answer.
Originally, before anticipated masses, there was a three hour communion fast before Mass, and so a daily Mass was not to begin before 4 p.m. (after the office of the Ninth hour). Later, anticipated Mass was added to allow more flexibility with work schedules. That was all under the 1917 canon law. When the canon law was revised in 1983, there was a concession to give a broader meaning than before so people would not be worried about the exact time, yet today they are worried about the exact time, because exactness was not used. Now we have Mass that fulfills the Sunday obligation even earlier than 4 pm. Now, with the 1983 canon law one is bound by law to attend Mass during that longer period. There are five canon law commentaries and some state that this time begins after noon.
Two examples are Cathedrals @2:30 pm:
Guardian Angels Cathedral in Las Vegas, NV
Saturday: Vigil 2:30pm, 4:00pm, 5:30pm
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, MO
SATURDAY [Both Masses fulfill the Sunday Obligation]
2:30 p.m. Music led by Cantor and Organ. The Schola Cantorum leads the music for two weekends each month. [Sept-May]
4:30 p.m. Music led by Cantor and Organ.
The start time for an anticipatory Mass is as directed by the Archbishop of each Diocese. I would say the use of the Saturday readings should be a clue that that Mass is not a Sunday anticipatory Mass.
I would say that if the bishop himself (even a retired bishop) told those present that it counts for Sunday, they would be absolutely safe in following what they were told.
I agree, any fault would then rest with the Bishop not the congregation. What makes this particular situation more questionable is that for all but a few diocese tomorrow is not just any Sunday, it’s Ascension Thursday-Sunday. I can understand the Bishop not wanting to impose on the congregation by requiring they attend Mass, gulp, two days in a row!
You should hear the Sunday readings.
The readings have no bearing on whether the Mass counts for your Sunday obligation.
The Bishop told everyone there that they did not have to attend another Mass. If you can’t trust the Bishop who has just celebrated the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation, whom can you trust?
In order for a Mass to be counted for Sunday, it HAS to be the Sunday readings and you should ask a reliable priest about the time situation. I would go again to a Sunday Mass. God Bless, Memaw
The readings are irrelevant. If you had an Ordination Mass on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. do you think it doesn’t count for Sunday?
Memaw, did you read Phemie post: “The readings have no bearing on whether the Mass counts for your Sunday obligation.”
That is true. The reason for allowing earlier celebration is for flexibility in the modern life. It actually means that there are less excuses (because of more opportunities) for Mass at least once a week.
I suggest he ask a priest because I was told by a very reliable priest that the reading have to be Sunday readings. I never heard of changing the rules to fit our “modern life”!! God Bless, Memaw
Surely a bishop is reliable enough?
Even if the bishop were incorrect about the letter of the law, I don’t think God would fault someone who took the bishop at his word.
Sad to say, not always. God Bless, Memaw
That is really a loaded thought, wouldn’t touch though.
So we should just ask around until we find a priest that we deem to be reliable? How do we determine reliability? Does it mean one who agrees with me? Or with you?
I tend to think that the Confirmation Mass would not count for Sunday. Not because of the readings, which, as other have said have no bearing on the situation, but because of the time of day. But if a bishop tells me otherwise, in that particular situation, I would accept that and I’m pretty sure God would, too. I would probably to to church again on Sunday as well, but just because I want to.
Yeah, and who needs all that extra Grace anyway. I’m sorry to sound sarcastic but this is the stuff that causes me serious concern.
Canon 1248 says nothing regarding readings, as others have said. Attending any Eucharistic liturgy in a Catholic rite on the evening beforehand satisfies the obligation. I would imagine that what counts as “evening” is determined by the local ordinary from diocese to diocese. Unsure of the rules in MN19’s diocese, but since the bishop celebrant is a retired bishop, he is probably not the local ordinary and doesn’t technically have the authority to make that judgment. That being said, I don’t think most in attendance would be at fault for assuming the bishop was correct (and he could very well be, since we don’t know the rules for that diocese).
With all due respect: Baloney!
Similar question discussed at length here including comments from 2 priests:
In short, the readings make no difference on whether or not the Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation. According to FrDavid in the thread, the Mass must start after 4 PM according to Canon Law to be valid however in this case we have the good Bishop who said your obligation for Sunday is fulfilled so there’s that.
Bottom line: You will never knew for sure from this wise and venerable forum if your obligation was fulfilled or not so let your conscience be your guide. If in your heart you think you should go to Mass go. If you stay home, based on the Bishop’s instructions, I don’t see the sin.