Expert Answer Forum
Saturday vs Sunday Mass QUESTION from Shirley O'Connor December 26, 2000 I am a convert to the Catholic Faith, therefore did not have Catechism or other teachings in my youth, however I am a firm believer that the Saturday evening Mass was not meant to replace that of Sunday.
My understanding is that the Saturday evening Mass was brought about years ago for those people who were not able to go to Mass on Sunday because of work or some other duty which could not be avoided. I do not think that it was meant to replace the Sunday Mass. I feel that this is an abuse that has been allowed to continue.
I do, however, feel that one should attend daily Mass if possible anyway.
Please excuse my ignorance but if you could advise me and, if I am right in my thinking, point me to the document(s) pertaining to this subject. I would very much appreciate it.
Thanks again and may God richly bless you.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on January 22, 2001 Dear Miss O'Conner:
Yes, the Sunday Vigil Mass (on Saturday Evening) is to accommodate the problem that people may have of missing Sunday Mass due to work. If one attends the Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday evening, then their Sunday obligation IS fulfilled -- they do not have to attend Mass on that following Sunday.
The Saturday evening vigil Mass, by the way, relates to the old Jewish custom of the day beginning at dusk the previous evening. Thus under that old Jewish custom, Sunday begins Saturday Evening.
However, while it is technically permissible to attend the Vigil Mass on Saturday and not the Sunday morning Masses to fulfil one's Sunday obligation, I would agree that the intent and spirit of allowing a vigil mass is being abused. Sunday Vigil Masses on Saturday evening should only be attended, in my view, when Sunday Mass is not possible. But today many people go to the Vigil Mass so they can have Sunday to themselves. This is not proper.
Sunday is officially called, THE LORD'S DAY. It is not my personal day, my personal mental health day, etc. It is a day to give to God FIRST in worship, second in other prayer, devotion, study, and good works, THEN in rest and recreation and time with family. All servile work should cease on this day (regardless of whether one goes to vigil Mass or Sunday morning Mass). Sunday is not the time to repair the roof, mow the lawn, or other work that takes one away from worship, prayer, devotion, good works, and time with family.
It would behoove people to follow the Church's full teaching on this. Mass obligation is the BEGINNING of our obligation for Sunday, not the end.
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