Attending mass on Christmas Eve

Is attending mass on Christmas Eve, after 4pm, considered acceptable as to fullfulling our Christmas Day obligation? I am asking as we will be unable to attend Christmas day this year, but do plan on attending the 4:30PM mass on Christmas Eve at our parish.


In all probability, the 4pm Mass is an anticipated (sometimes and IMO erroneously called "vigil) Mass for the feast, in which case the answer is yes. You probably should phone the parish just to be sure.

Any Mass celebrated the evening before a Holy Day of Obligation fulfills your obligation. It doesn’t have to be an anticipated Mass.

4PM Christmas Eve mass will fulfill your obligation for Christmas mass.
Prayers & blessings
Deacon Ed B

Why would churches offer Masses at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm if they didn’t fulfill the Christmas obligation?

Ah … yes I think it does. Take Immaculate Conception this year. It’s a good example because it was on Monday. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the “evening” Mass at 4 pm was designated as the anticipated Mass for the Holy Day. In that case, yes, the Holy Day obligation would be fulfilled, (but not the Sunday obligation). If, OTOH, it were, (for some strange reason), considered a late-in-the day Sunday liturgy, it would fulfill the Sunday obligation but not the Holy Day obligation.

True, but to be on the safe side, unless the announcement clearly says “anticipated Mass for Christmas” (or – and I consider it to be misused, but the intent is the same – “vigil Mass” for Christmas) I would pick up the phone and ask.

Christmas is one of those feasts that actually has a vigil mass. There are even separate readings for the vigil. I know of no church that would have a mass on Christmas eve that would not count for Christmas…No need to call the rectory

You don’t get a two/one deal, but if you attended Mass on Sunday Morning and then again on Sunday evening, your Sunday evening Mass would fulfill your obligation for the Immaculate Conception, whether or not the Mass celebrated was the Sunday Mass or the anticipated Immaculate Conception Mass. OTOH, if the only Mass you had attended on Sunday was the evening one it would only count for Sunday, not for Immaculate Conception.

Must be the OF. In the EF, there is a Midnight Mass (Dixit Dominus) a Mass at Dawn (I don’t remember the Introit), and Mass during the Day (Puer Natus Est). Not a vigil in the bunch.

I’m not so sure I agree, but at the same time I’m not all that well versed in OF rules (what few there seem to be) so I won’t argue. This is one of those areas where the EF is so much clearer. No “anticipated” anything. :wink:

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

“A Mass”, not “an anticipated Mass”, simply “a Mass”.

Just wanted to say thanks for the replies all, and Merry Christmas! :slight_smile:

the bulletin will list Masses for Christmas eve and day, and those Masses fill your obligation

I’ve never even been to a Christmas day mass, we Polaks do everything on Christmas Eve (open presents, big family dinner, go to mass). I think that this is the tradition in many other cultures too.

In general, I’ve always understood that the more traditional way of Christmas celebration was midnight mass.

Same for the Italians and the French and the Portuguese and the Spanish and the Germans and … well, you get the idea. In Europe, though, the business of “Christmas presents” is a relatively new thing. Gifts were/are exchanged on other days (generally Epiphany but some places had/have different local customs.) No idea of what the traditional custom about that is in Poland.

Yes. In the EF there are 3 Masses for Christmas. The Midnight Mass (Dominus Dixit) is the most famous and was/is the main one, but the third Mass (Puer Natus Est which I think is called “in dia” or “during the day,”) is perhaps the grandest. In any case, in former times, many folks went to 2 if not all three of them.

I attended mass on Christmas eve at 7:30 p.m and was told by the parish priest that we were obligated to attend on Christmas morning also. That was the first time I received such information as I thought the an individual may attend one or both masses and still fulfill the obligation.
Was my parish priest accurate?

No he wasn’t. There’s only the obligation to attend one of the 4 Christmas Masses: the Vigil Mass, the Mass in the Night (Midnight Mass), the Mass at Dawn, or the Mass in the Day.

The Vigil Mass exists in the EF as well. I have a 1934 Paroissien Romain (local adaptation of the Liber Usualis) and it clearly has a Christmas Vigil Mass (Hodie scietis is the introit).

I realize this is an old thread but just wanted to make sure folks have accurate information.