EWTN Catholic Q&A
Number of Masses per day
Question from Mary on 09-07-2013:

Our parish is clustered with another neighboring parish. Our Saturday evening Mass is at 4 PM and the other parish has a 5 PM Mass. Our pastor discussed changing the Mass times so he could say both Masses and not have to get a visiting priest. Now he wants to eliminate our Saturday evening Mass. He said a priest may only offer two Masses per day, and if he did Mass at both parishes on Saturday evening he would not be able to do a wedding or funeral on a Saturday. I always thought a wedding or funeral were extraordinary Masses and did not limit the Masses a priest could say. Am I wrong?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 09-07-2013:


Canon law states:

Apart from those cases in which the law allows him to celebrate or concelebrate the Eucharist a number of times on the same day, a priest may not celebrate more than once a day. If there is a scarcity of priests, the local ordinary may for a good reason allow priests to celebrate twice in one day or even, if pastoral need requires it, three times on Sundays or holy days of obligation (canon 905 1-2).

It appears that your priest is correct. Your area evidently has a scarce number of priests (as indicated by your remark that the two parishes in your area are "clustered"). Apparently the bishop is already allowing your priest to celebrate two Masses on Saturday. It may be that in "clustered" parishes, the parishioners must accept the inconvenience of going to a neighboring parish for the Saturday vigil Mass.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers