Saturday Vigils and Sunday Obligation : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread

I understand that the Churh recognizes Sunday as a holy day of obligation for attending mass but can you explain to me why some Catholics go to mass on Saturday night instead of Sunday morning? Is this acceptable to the Catholic Church and if it is then on what justification does the Church give?

-- Anonymous, June 09, 1998


Response to Church Attendance

I agree completely with Rich's answer below, Pete. It is correct that it is permissible to go to the Saturday vigil if it is not possible for you to fulfil your Sunday obligation on Sunday based primarily on the view that the Jews reckon the day as starting at sundown and ending on the following sundown (which has its basis in the Creation account in Genesis) and also on the increased emphasis following Vatican II on every Sunday being a feast of Our Lord and therefore it being legitimate to celebrate a Vigil Mass for the Sunday Feast on the evening before the Feast. (Just like the Easter Vigil before the Resurrection on Easter Sunday and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve)

But, so many these days seem to forget about that "if it is not possible" bit when it comes to the Saturday vigil! In most parishes in my city, the Saturday vigil has become the Mass for the grandparents, the Sunday morning mass is the mass for the young families and the Sunday evening mass is the mass for Youth. I always rib my parents-in-law about going to Saturday night Mass just because it leaves Sunday free.

It used to be that you had to fast from Dinnertime on the night before mass until after you'd received Communion. So the usual Sunday schedule was for everyone to go to a very early morning Low Mass (one priest, no singing) to receive Communion, go home and have breakfast and then many would go back for High Mass (a priest, a deacon and a sub-deacon, with the entire mass chanted in gregorian chant) at around 11am where few of the congregation would go to communion. There was rarely a mass after midday because the priests couldn't eat until they had said their final mass for the day! And then you'd have a large congregation in the late Sunday afternoon for Benediction and Vespers.

God bless, Paul McLachlan

-- Anonymous, June 10, 1998

Response to Church Attendance

Hello Pete,

Mass was authorized in the evening in 1953. (Christus Dominus) then Saturday vigil was available for those who were not able to attend on Sunday because of work or other obligations. It was not intended to replace Sunday Mass if you could attend on Sunday. There are rules also that must be followed. For instance a mass said at 3pm on saturday would not be a Sunday vigil Mass but a Saturday Mass in other words the Mass must take place after a certain time. Like in the Jewish practice that the day went from sundown to sundown. The Sabbath was from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday

-- Anonymous, June 09, 1998

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