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Do I have to go to Mass twice this weekend for Christmas and Sunday?



Philip Kosloski - published on 12/21/21

Yes, Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on Christmas and on Sunday, but can't "double-dip" on Saturday evening.

Christmas, being the second biggest feast of the Church’s year (after Easter), comes with it an obligation to attend Mass. The Church invites us to give praise and thanks to God for the glory of the incarnation and to share that jubilation with each other in our local parish community.

Christmas Mass is a beautiful experience, and many don’t find it an “obligation” at all, freely choosing to attend Mass with family and friends.

At the same time, this year (2021), Christmas falls on a Saturday, meaning that we have back-to-back holy days of obligation.

As a quick note, January 1 is also a Holy Day of Obligation, but because it is a “lesser” feast, many bishops have dispensed of the obligation to attend Mass on that day this year, which also falls on a Saturday.

Catholics are obligated to not only attend Mass on Christmas, but also on Sunday, the Lord’s Day.

How to Fulfill Both Obligations

The Church invites us to join together on Christmas, as well as the Feast of the Holy Family, which occurs this year on Sunday, December 26. In order to do that, we must first choose a time to attend Christmas Mass. This could be any of the following:

  • Christmas Eve Mass on December 24
  • Midnight Mass on December 24/25
  • Any Mass on December 25

This year most parishes are cancelling the Saturday Evening Vigil Mass in order to reduce any confusion. Please check your local parish listings.

In order to fulfill the Sunday obligation, you can attend any of the following:

  • Saturday Evening Mass (any Mass after 4:00 pm on December 25)
  • Sunday Mass (any Mass on December 26)

Many people will choose to attend the Christmas Eve Mass on December 24, and then again on Sunday, December 26, leaving Christmas Day open for family celebrations.

However you choose to attend Mass this weekend, decide to view it as an “invitation,” instead of an “obligation,” where we can join together as a parish family and rejoice in the Lord’s birth.

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