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This year Christmas is on a Monday.

My wife read in a neighboring parish's bulletin that we had to go to Mass on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (i.e. sometime Saturday night or Sunday Morning) and this greatly distressed my daughter who unfortunately wants maximum presents and minimum Mass for Christmas.

Catholicism.chat told me that:

Paragraph 2180 of the Catechism states that the precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass celebrated on the evening of the preceding day. Therefore, if you attend Mass on Christmas Eve, you fulfill your obligation for both the fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas.


So, if a person were to attend a vigil Mass on Saturday, I can see that not satisfying the obligation to go to Mass on Christmas. But, if a person went to Mass at 4:00 PM or later on Sunday, would that satisfy the obligation for both Christmas and the Fourth Sunday in Advent?

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    2 obligations = 2 Masses. No double-counting
    – eques
    Dec 3, 2023 at 21:39
  • Are you asking for yourself or your daughter? Depending on her age, her obligations may vary. I would not force a child to a religious activity (and this is AFAIK well justified from several soft points and quotations from Jesus) and if she is not a child anymore, but initiated, she should decide for herself.
    – user63910
    Dec 4, 2023 at 5:07
  • @eques go figure, AI will never fully grasp the liturgical calendar.
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 4, 2023 at 14:41
  • You can also change the tradition. Most of eastern EU give presents the Christmas Eve day. Dec. 24th. children receive presents in the evening after dinner. This way, no problem for your kids attending masses in the morning... lol.
    – Grasper
    Dec 4, 2023 at 20:39

3 Answers 3

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What is the Mass obligation for Catholics when Christmas is on a Monday?

The short answer: 2 obligations = 2 Masses. No two for one with this scenario!

Catholics are obligated to go to mass twice: once for the Sunday obligation and again on the Feast of the Nativity to fulfill the Christmas Day obligation.

For example, prior to the Covid-19 era, when Christmas fell on a Saturday, the Archdiocese of Vancouver suppressed the Sunday Vigil Masses to make a point that Catholics must go to mass twice! In 2021, the Archbishop kept the vigil mass for Sunday but insisted the faithful must go to mass twice.

This means going to Mass two days in a row, or even twice on Saturday, on both weekends to fulfill the holy day of obligation and Sunday Mass obligation. - Holy Days of Obligation DECEMBER 23, 2021

Thus logic makes sense that when Christmas falls on a Monday, the faithful must go to mass twice: once for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and once in honour of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

To a degree, the Mass texts used do not matter for the obligation if the Feast of the Nativity actually falls on a Sunday! Then the Christmas Day mass fulfills your Sunday obligation. This is more evident when the Feast of the Assumption falls on a Sunday. The Sunday readings and so on are suppressed in favour of the Mass of the Assumption!

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This year, the last Sunday of Advent is a Sunday. All Sundays are holy days of obligation. Monday, December 25, 2023, is another holy day of obligation where a different Mass is said (that of Christmas). You cannot simultaneously fulfill two different holy days by going to Mass once.

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    2 Masses are required but which Mass texts are used doesn't matter for the obligation
    – eques
    Dec 3, 2023 at 21:39
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    @eques, No: a Christmas mass is not a mass of a Sunday in Advent, so the texts do matter. You can't go to an Advent Mass on Saturday evening and another on Sunday morning and say that you have satisfied the Christmas obligation. Dec 4, 2023 at 8:15
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    @AndrewLeach No that is incorrect per the canonist Dr. Ed Peters and if you stop to think about the details you would understand why. To say the texts matter would in fact put a burden on the lay people attending the Mass for something which is in the hands of the priest (Especially in cases like this -- suppose you go to a Mass late on Sunday usually and this particular one ends up being Christmas Eve instead of the Mass of Sunday)
    – eques
    Dec 4, 2023 at 16:42
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    adoremus.org/2023/09/…
    – eques
    Dec 4, 2023 at 16:44
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    @AndrewLeach That would only be the case if your claim is true, but my point is that the law doesn't actually say that nor is interpreted so and to interpret the law as you suggest leads to problematic situations (e.g. the case of obligation when outside domicile). As an aside, I merely provided additional information. You dispute it without providing anything to back up your claim. Hence, you are merely gainsaying. You have neither provided canonical authorities nor actually engaged with my analysis -- you have merely restated trivial moral principles.
    – eques
    Dec 4, 2023 at 21:20
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If you want to attend the Xmas Vigil Mass which is said on Sunday evening and find it inconvenient to attend the Sunday Mass in the morning, you can attend the Anticipatory Mass said on Saturday evening. Thus there is a break of a day between the two obligatory Masses. And your conscience is clear in that you do not circumvent the obligation.

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