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Sunday obligation
Question from Juliano on 10/14/2005:

Hello,

I´ve just read the question made about fullfilling Sunday obligation, and your answer did surprise me a bit for one reason. You say that one fullfills the obligation do Sunday Mass even if it is not celebrated the Sunday Liturgy. I have never thought of that. I always was taught that we only fullfill Sunday of Holy Days obligation when we participe in the Mass not only in that right day but in the right liturgy. Could you please clarify this to me? For example: I go to a Saturday evening Mass, what fullfills the Sunday obligation, but instead of the priest say the Mass os Sunday he prays the Mass of Saturday. In this case, is, in Church´s view, the obligation fulllfilled? Thanks Juliano

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 10/27/2005:

The Sunday obligation derives from canon 1247 which states: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass," and is clarified by canon 1248, 1, which reads, "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."

There is nothing in either canon about it being the liturgy of the day, but about it being the Sunday or Holy Day or the vigil of the day. So, once the vigil has begun, that is, when First Vespers could be celebrated, the Mass obligation can be satisfied by any Mass in any Catholic Rite. The beginning of a vigil is associated with the beginning of twilight (as in Judaism) of the rpeceeding day and the saying of First Vespers of the Feast. However, to avoid the vageries of the seasons, in the US that is generally considered to be about 4 pm or later.

So, in answer to your Saturday question, yes, you fulfilled the Sunday obligation.



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