No ‘two-for-one” Mass to satisfy Christmas Day obligation

U.S. bishops: In the case of two consecutive days of obligation, as at Christmas this year, each obligation must be fulfilled with a separate Mass

Christmas Nativity scene (Richard Nebesky/Getty Images)

In a newsletter issued earlier this year, the U.S. Catholic bishops addressed questions regarding whether Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligations can be fulfilled with a “two-for-one” Mass attendance at Christmas this year.

In a “relatively rare” situation which last occurred in 2006, Christmas Day this year falls on a Monday.

Because Catholics are obliged to attend Mass for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, some have asked whether a Sunday evening Mass on Christmas Eve would fulfill both the obligation for a Sunday Mass and the obligation for a Christmas Day Mass.

The U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Divine Worship has said the faithful should attend two Masses to fulfill their Sunday and Christmas Mass obligations.

Since the mid-twentieth century, the Church has allowed for Catholics to attend vigil, or anticipated, Masses for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation as “a convenience for many of the faithful.”

“Most canon lawyers defer to Venerable Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus (January 6, 1953), which gave 4:00 p.m. as the earliest time when anticipated Masses may be scheduled,” the bishops said in their 2017 letter.

This means that the Sunday obligation for Dec. 24 can be fulfilled on Sunday, or anytime after 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, and the Christmas Mass obligation can be fulfilled on Monday, anytime after 4 p.m. on Dec. 24.  

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

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  1. News to me about Pope Pius XIIth’s 4pm declaration! What is the original source of the information?

    Sadly, those who want to combine religious services so they only are obliged to come to one, are only thinking of themselves and not of pleasing God. With all the many gifts God blesses us with throughout the year, is it so terrible that we are obliged to see and worship Our Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost two very special days in a row? If we can’t enjoy this special and extra time with the Blessed Trinity, what does that say about us? Here God gave us His own Son to die for our sins, and some complain about going to see Him two days in a row! Now if it was two pro-sports events in a row, that wouldn’t be a problem would it!

  2. Saturday, 4PM, first confession of the week:
    Penitent: Bless me Father for I have sinned. I recently divorced my wife, married my boy friend and continue to receive communion.
    Confessor: Well son, you know the Church accepts all and acknowledges the gifts and qualities you offer the Catholic community Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet you where you are spiritually. Please offer one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. Go in peace, and thank you.
    Saturday, 4:05, second and last confession of the week:
    Penitent: Bless me Father for I have sinned. I went to Mass on Sunday but missed Christmas Mass on Monday.
    Penitent: Wow! You do realize that you have committed a mortal sin which could result in you spending…

  3. … an eternity in the Fires of Hell!
    Penitent: Yes Father, but I received a call from my sister whose husband left her for another man, so I went to console her and missed Mass.
    Confessor: You’re not making excuses are you!
    Penitent: No Father, I am truly sorry.
    Confessor: Well… OK. So, say ten Rosaries, do 100 hours of Church service and apologize to your brother-in-law. Now go!

    • Recently a priest who has been very firm in his criticism of gays came out. His reactions were somewhat from morality but also personal resentment…if I am gay and I can behave, why can’t you?
      I am aware of someone who, because they have been in an unhappy marriage for many decades, came unglued at thought of people getting divorced and remarried and not being punished for it caused a lot of anger for them.
      People resent others who do what they want to do and don’t permit themselves to do (rightly.)

  4. A much, much bigger problem than the two-for-oners are those who only attend Mass at Christmas and Easter. Also, a much, much bigger problem are those who support secular leftist aims and think that they are in full communion with the Church while supporting gay marriage, abortion, divorce and such.

  5. Clinton R. says:

    It is so very sad that “Catholics” cannot be bothered to assist at Holy Mass 2 days in a row. These are the same people that bellyache to have to attend a Holy Day of Obligation during the week. Did not Our Lord Jesus suffer for our sakes, that we may not burn in hell forever? Is it too much to ask to worship Him on a Sunday and a Monday this year? All the Lord asks of us is 1 hour. He feeds us His Precious Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity that we may be with Him forever in the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us pray and contemplate on what our priorities should be. If Mass was obligatory every day of the week, it would not be asking us too much to give thanks to Our Lord and Savior. +JMJ+

  6. Linda Maria says:

    It is a tremendous privilege, to attend Holy Mass, worship God, and also, to receive the Holy Eucharist! Especially at Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Our Lord! Sadly, there are countries where Christians are persecuted, so we should be especially thankful, to celebrate Christmas, and go to Mass!

  7. Two Masses, two collections; follow the money??

  8. Why go to mass when everyone is guaranteed to go to heaven except for those who are Pharisees that are obsessed with dogmas and divine commandments?

    • Catholics don’t believe that everyone goes to heaven. Missing Mass is a mortal sin.

      • I respectfully accept your correction. Upon further consideration, I began to realize that some people do not go to heaven. Some of them are: Rush Limbaugh listeners, Fox News viewers, southerners, homophobes, racists, people who are opposed to immigration, and people who obstinately reject papal teaching that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. The old teachings about abortion no longer apply. The church has declared from the pulpit at Ted Kennedy’s funeral that he is in heaven despite Ted Kennedy actively assisting abortion. The old dogmas do not matter anymore and you would do well not to be obsessed with them. Listen to pope Francis!

  9. Linda Maria says:

    To Mike M. and Anonymous — Christmas is the very best day of the whole year! All Catholics– and all Christians– must go to church! Worship God, and thank Him for the great gift of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! We all are preparing, all Advent, for Him to be born, in our hearts! And to prepare to rreceive Our Lord, in Holy Communion, at Christmas — what greater gift than that, could we possibly receive??

    • Anonymous says:

      Pope Francis has already spoken out against those who are obsessed with dogmas and small minded rules. The belief that one has to go to church is based upon some rules and dogmas. You are being disobedient to Pope Francis. All catholics are required to fully submit their intellect and will to the pope.

      • Anonymous 2 says:


        You might want to re-read exactly what Canon 752 says about submission of intellect and will—not to the Pope as a kind of Zeus, apparently, but it is submission to Catholic doctrine—presumably defined doctrine.

        • Anonymous says:

          Perhaps you need to re-read canon 752. It says that you must submit you intellect and will to the pope even if he does not intend to proclaim a doctrine by a definitive act. You dissenters just can not get around the obligation to be obedient to the pope. If he changes the teaching on the death penalty or whether the divorced and remarried can receive communion, you must listen. The Living Magisterium changes to fit the circumstances of the current time. Dead popes do not. Listen to the Living Magisterium!!!!

          • Anonymous 2 says:

            That is not what C.752 says: It says, “. ..A religious submission of intellect and will must be given to a DOCTRINE which the Supreme Pontiff or the College of Bishops declares concerning faith or morals (etc.)…” in accord with the authentic magisterium.

            You are falsely quoting this as submission to the pontiff. If so, you are in conflict with Dei Verbum of V2, which declares the “Magisterium serves Scripture and Tradition” (#10), not the reverse.

            Interesting about your false accusation against ‘dissenters ‘, too.

      • Anonymous says:

        Obviously you are twisting something the Pope said to mean what you want it to mean.

        • Anonymous 2 says:

          And, it doesn’t sound as though you’re very respectful to “dead popes” (your own quite revealing words):

          So, when popes pass away, their teachings can be abolished? John Paul II, Paul VI, John XXIII, St Peter? All “dead popes.” All able to be cancelled by the “Living Magisterium”? So, the same with PF, when he passes?

          Sounds like a new religion to me.

          • Previous popes do not matter because they are previous popes i.e. not the current pope. Only living popes govern the church.

        • I am not the anonymous who made the dead popes comment. My comment was to the anonymous poster who is either twisting the Popes words or making something up so that he does not have to go to Mass.

  10. I was attempting to reflect the appearances that are created by the acts and omissions of the church’s leaders going all the way to the top.

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