Easter Vigil vs. Easter Sunday Mass?

I know this topic is being addressed alot right now, but there are a couple questions I have specifically about it. I am a new Catholic (baptized last year), so it is still mostly unfamiliar to me.

Ok, for one: does the Saturday night Easter Vigil satisfy the obligation to attend Easter Sunday Mass?

For two: What is the difference? Are they the same mass about the same topics, or do they have different focuses? Are they both still essentially Easter masses, or different?

Those are my two main questions. Thanks everyone for the help and God bless. :slight_smile:

Yes, the Easter Vigil Mass does satisfy the obligation for Easter Sunday. Actually Easter Vigil is the Highest Mass of the entire year.

i think its not, obviouslym, Easter Vigil is Vigil the gospel isnt the same as read here in our parish during Easter Vigil

It is during the Easter Vigil Mass that the catechumens and candidates are baptized, confirmed, and welcomed into the Church. That is such a wonderful time for the Church!

I belive it does satisfy the obligation, and it’s our tradition to attend the Vigil, 'cause that’s when we got waterboarded in 07. :smiley:

The Vigil is Loooooonger—and it’s still interesting for me to try and understand it.

This question *is *being addressed a lot.

Can someone (not necessarily the OP) explain to me *why *this question keeps being raised? I just do not understand *why *it seems people doubt this? Very confused. :confused:

It almost seems like asking the question: Does 3 + 1 = 4?
Well, why would it not?


Easter Vigil Mass satisfies the Sunday obligation for Mass, in the same way that all Sunday Vigil Masses, or Vigils on Holy Days of Obligation also satisfy the obligation for those respective Masses.

It is a different Mass, both with different readings and different form. For example, the Easter Sunday morning Mass will have the Easter Sequence sung and a Renewal of Baptismal Vows, but will otherwise resemble a regular Sunday Mass. The music will start with the Procession and expresses the joy of Easter from the start.

Easter Vigil starts in darkness with no instruments and then, with the singing of the Gloria, opens up into the spirit of Easter joy. It is a journey.

there is a Lent and Easter sticky that answers all these FAQs btw

yes like every Mass on the evening of a Sunday or Holy Day the Easter Vigil fills the obligation. do you have some reason for thinking otherwise? has someone been upsetting you with false info?

why not attend both? The Easter Vigil is the principal celebration. all 3 sacraments of initiation in their proper setting. It will blow you away. There are more OT readings telling the entire story of salvation history, with a psalm between each one, then the epistle and gospel. There are choices of gospels for Masses at dawn and during the day on Sunday but most pastors use the same gospel for all Masses and prepare one homily. Here we will be given a message from the bishop to be read in all churches. we have 14 baptisms, 3 adults, 4 teens, 1 baby and 6 middle school age children. It will take about 2.5 hours

“The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day.” (Code of Canon Law, can. 1248 §1)

That means that the Easter Vigil Mass fulfills your Sunday obligation, even though “the readings are different” (which is a popular – but incorrect – criteria).

The Easter Vigil Mass has four parts: a Service of Light (blessing a fire and the new Paschal Candle), the Liturgy of the Word (up to 9 readings!), the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism and Confirmation), and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

I guess my answer would be that the Easter Vigil fulfills the Easter ‘obligation’, but, “So, what?!?” Go to both!! Instead of an ‘obligation’, think of it as a privilege!

Until I came into the Church 3 years ago - I celebrate my ‘anniversary’ along with those coming into the Church each year - I placed no great meaning on Holy Saturday, though I always observed Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Now, I wouldn’t miss the Vigil Mass. It is powerful. Easter Sunday - well, it’s EASTER!!! After Good Friday, how could you miss that - His Resurrection!! Unthinkable!!! My advice - go to both**-]!!/-]** You won’t know what you are missing until you do.

A blessed Holy Week, and Happy Easter!

Yes, the Easter Vigil Mass fulfills your obligation for Easter Sunday. However, I perfer to go to both, because the Easter Vigil is a great night for the church. Our Lord triumphantly rises from the grave, new members are welcomed into the church and become Catholic. The beginning of the Easter Vigil is solemn and dark. We begin with the lighting of the Easter Candle, and then the Exsultet (Easter Proclamation). Then, we hear the fundamental for the whole Easter Vigil - the Word of God. As stated in my missal, the main fundamental for the Easter Vigil is the Word of God. After all seven Old Testament readings (shortened for grave pastoral reasons in some parishes), the Gloria is then sung and the church lights are put on. Then, we have the reading of the Epistle, and then - the biggest musical score of the Easter Vigil - the return of the Alleluia. We haven’t sung this since the last Sunday in Ordinary Time. Then, the Gospel is read, and we watch the members of the RCIA be brought into the church. It’s truly magnificent!

Easter Sunday starts with great joy from the start all the way until the end.

In my opinion, it’s best to attend both because they are both different and unique in their own ways. The Easter Vigil starts solemnly, while Easter Sunday starts joyfully.

The Vigil satisfies your obligation.

Best thing about the Vigil? When you go to it, there is an extra seat for the creasters on Easter Sunday morning :smiley:

I came to this site specifically to find an answer to this question For those who may be wondering why … it is because I had never given this a thought until this year when I was at a meeting of those participating in the Easter Vigil and learned that it did NOT fulfill the Sunday obligation according to our pastor.

I do not like the idea of ‘obligation’ but once I heard this it put me in a position of “once I know something, I become responsible for my future actions”. Needless to say I attended both the Vigil (rather sparsely attended) and the ‘packed to the rafers’ morning Mass.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to kindly bring this to the attention of our pastor? God willing, we’ll both be here for 2011 and I want to be at peace about this.

Thanks to all for your comments and insights.

Did your pastor, or someone else at the meeting, say that the Easter Vigil did not meet the ‘obligation’? If someone else, was your pastor aware of the comment? Let’s start there. I choose to go to both. I, too, do not care for the term ‘obligation.’

I think people get confused and wonder because the 2 services are so very different; with the vigil being so focused around the new converts. I found myself wondering if it simply satisfies the obligation because the vigil occurs on ‘Saturday evening’? If it were any other day, it surely wouldn’t.

But then again, I’m still having a hard time with Sat. fulfilling our obligation. Sunday is church day! :smiley:

What’s wrong with the term?

We are OBLIGATED to attend Mass. The Vigil Mass fulfills the obligation, even Easter and Christmas.

I find it to be least confrontational to be socratic about things like this (whether with your pastor or with someone who has (mis)represented him). Ask along the lines of:

How do you know this?
Where did you learn this?
This does not match my understanding, can you explain this?

And if it helps, have “your understanding” handy:

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass…

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.

(Apologies, it uses the word obligation)


I have no problem with attending Mass every week. I choose go to daily Mass as often as possible, and usually attend Mass Saturday and Sunday. The word ‘obligation’, to me anyway, has that implication that “I go because I have to, not because I want to”. I keep looking for a word that means, “even though I am required to go, I go because I want to”. I like to go to Mass!

Hope that makes sense?:slight_smile:

Was the Easter Vigil understood to satisfy the Easter/Sunday obligation prior to the changes instituted by Pope Pius XII?


As I stated in my first post, it was ‘according to our pastor’ so, yes, it was our pastor who made the point of the Vigil NOT fulfilling the Sunday obligation.

Your post regarding the term ‘obligation’ is exactly what I was referring to … the term implies that we ‘have to attend Mass’.

I also appreciate the suggestions about bringing up the question to our pastor.

Thanks again.