QUAERITUR: Is it sinful to go to Saturday evening Mass if you can go on Sunday?

From a reader:

Is it wrong or even sinful to attend a Saturday evening vigil Mass IF you could otherwise attend a Sunday Mass?

I ask this because at my parish there is one particular priest who has solid homilies and celebrates the Mass reverently. The other priests, while good men, can sometimes give questionable sermons and are not as mindful of the rubrics. So, if I wanted to attend the first priest’s Mass on a particular weekend, and he was assigned a vigil Mass… is that OK?

I guess I always thought the vigil Mass was more for people who had to work on Sunday or for some reason could not attend on Sunday. Maybe this is not the case?

It is not sinful to attend Saturday evening Mass, the vigil of a Sunday.  The Church permits Masses “of precept”, which fulfill your obligation, on Saturday evening.  You are free to go.  It is not a sin to go to Mass.

That said, let us not forget that Sunday is really the Lord’s Day.

While the liturgical day can be reckoned to begin on Saturday evening, and while the Church permits Masses of precept on Saturdays, I think a lot of people make use of Saturday Masses because they don’t want to have to go to church on Sunday, thus leaving Sunday open for entirely worldly pursuits.

The character of Sunday as “the Lord’s Day” should be fostered at all times.  I think that the Saturday evening Masses can at times erode this important dimension of Sunday.

As John Paul II unfolded in his 1998 Letter Dies Domini (The Day of the Lord), there should be a well-considered balance between the Sunday as Dies Domini and Dies Hominis (Man’s Day), a balance between what we owe to God and resting in God, and what we owe to ourselves and our neighbor and resting for our well-being.

Finally, it is too bad that people sometimes feel driven to go to the Mass of a particular priest and avoid Masses by other priests.  Were priests to cultivate a sounder ars celebrandi (“art of celebrating”) and try to get themselves out of the ways – not to mention always say the black and do the red, this favoritism applied to priests might be diminished.  There will always be the factor of the priests skills in preaching or perhaps singing, but were priests to avoid pulling attention to themselves, that would help a lot.  Also, it is more than likely the case that the Novus Ordo tends to place more of a burden on the priest’s personality and skills than the older form of Mass.  Therefore, learning to celebrate the older form could be of help in the priest’s celebration of the Ordindary Form.

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33 Responses to QUAERITUR: Is it sinful to go to Saturday evening Mass if you can go on Sunday?

  1. SQ says:

    I think this kind of scrupulosity is a result of RadTrad. I am grateful to Fr. Z. for taking on these kinds of questions but there are so many more of these things out there and it is a shame. I just had to break it to my friend that the Eucharist is valid even if the priest doesn’t genuflect. (And I told her of what is needed for the Eucharist to be valid.) Her SSPX brother told her this misrepresentation of validity.

    The bottom line – when the Church is your authority these problems are minimal. When you, some Bishop (Lefevbre), or some organization (SSPX et. al) is your authority the problems begin.

    God Bless.
    SQ

  2. “the Novus Ordo tends to place more of a burden on the priest’s personality and skills than the older form of Mass.”

    An understatement? Worship at a traditional Latin Mass may leave in mind or memory no lasting association with the personality or particular identity of the celebrant (his sermon excepted).

    Whereas it is common to observe a Novus Ordo Mass that is so fully saturated with the persona of the celebrant as possibly to risk overshadowing the role and action of Our Lord Himself. At least, in the perception of those Catholics whose prayerful participation in the liturgical action is inadequate to override the individual eccentricities many priests bring to the altar. For such Catholics–likely the majority?–the new Mass celebrated by two different priests can (and often does) present two entirely different worship experiences.

  3. “If somebody does it wrong, he can do it really wrong” isn’t a valid argument. It’s like saying that Easter Mass in the 1200′s shouldn’t have been celebrated in France ever, because if clergy could sing “Victimae Paschali” while round-dancing and passing a ball, it proved that Mass itself was discredited. On this kind of grounds, we could never have Mass or any other nice things, because humans are fallen and can do bad scandalous stuff.

    Priests could certainly say Mass in the old days in a way that drew attention to themselves, on purpose or not. For example, mystics like Neri and Padre Pio often got in trouble for their “distracting” ars celebrandi, like pausing in the middle, levitating, getting lost in prayer, etc. Neri also got in trouble for doing things like pretending he didn’t know how to pronounce Latin correctly (out of humility, but folks at Mass didn’t know that). And if the saints were doing crazy stuff, I guarantee the sinners found a way.

    Moving right along… yeah, it’s good not to make too much of your own preferences. But then again, Catholic adults are responsible for our own religious formation and continuing education. Don’t be too hard on yourself or too easy on yourself; and whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss Mass altogether.

  4. StabatMater says:

    “Were priests to cultivate a sounder ars celebrandi (“art of celebrating”) and try to get themselves out of the ways – not to mention always say the black and do the red, this favoritism applied to priests might be diminished. There will always be the factor of the priests skills in preaching or perhaps singing, but were priests to avoid pulling attention to themselves, that would help a lot.”

    I completely agree. When we started attending Mass 25 minutes away for a more traditional Novus Ordo and conservative priest, many people scoffed at us, saying “You go to church for Mass, not the priest!” Unfortunately, there were slim-pickin’s in both areas! And the priest we “liked” was a Lutheran convert who studied in Rome and had continued to offer the Latin Mass. I think it firmily believe that made a huge difference in his service.

    My family is new to the EF at a different parish than the first one I mentioned. We have had many priests offering their first Solemn High Mass, some who are just visiting, and some who are just passing through. We have often said that with the EF the priest really doesn’t matter, as it seemed to with OF. We are never “thrown off”, even when his singing may not be fabulous and his homily a little dry. We still feel very fulfilled upon leaving!

  5. priests wife says:

    I think that Saturday Vigil Mass in place of Sunday Mass could become an occasion of sin if it led one to not keeping the full Lord’s Day. [Yes... perhaps. But I wouldn't want to overstate this. The Church does permit the Saturday Mass.] This would be remedied by myself (We are there Saturday and Sunday, but let’s say the kids were sick) by saying a rosary and other private devotionals, listening to sacred/classical music, watching a good Catholic movie, making a good, simple meal, etc. [Or a good elaborate meal! But with others, if possible.]

  6. wolfeken says:

    It is also worth noting that the whole Saturday-night-counts-for-Sunday issue was invented in 1967.

    While it is true Sunday First Vespers have always been anticipated Saturday evening as part of the Divine Office’s clock, it has only been the last 44 years that Mass on Saturday fufilled the Sunday obligation after Paul VI came up with the idea that Sunday has 30 hours in its day.

    Not much of Catholic value has been invented in the last 44 years — I would put this Paul VI novelty in that category. Thankfully there are only about two or three TLMs in the U.S. that do this, and that may even be a violation of the motu proprio’s clarification document a la altar girls and communion in the hand.

  7. SCCatholic says:

    Great post, Father.
    …it is too bad that people sometimes feel driven to go to the Mass of a particular priest and avoid Masses by other priests
    Makes me think of St Paul correcting those in Corinth who said they were followers of Peter, or Apollos, or Paul.

    …it is more than likely the case that the Novus Ordo tends to place more of a burden on the priest’s personality and skills than the older form of Mass
    I don’t understand this point. Why is this the case if the priest is following the rubrics and the GIRM for the NO?

  8. maynardus says:

    I’ve long wondered about this – not the Saturday “vigil” Mass per se, but the habit of attending it exclusively. The most extreme example I can think of is a couple who are longtime members of the parish at which I usually attend the E.F. They once told me that they hadn’t “missed Mass” in over twenty years, but neither had they gone to Mass on Sunday more than a handful of times in that period. They were “4:00 Mass folks” and proud of it. I was a bit nonplussed, because it was obvious that there was nothing impeding them from attending Mass on Sunday other than their desire to keep the day free for relaxing. I would say that the “erosion” you alluded to above had become quite advanced in their case!

    At the same time, I find it odd that there are hardly any Saturday evening TLMs. Mater Ecclesiae has one – or at least they used to – but I don’t know of any other TLM-only churches or chapels that do. It would be a real convenience for lots of folks who try to attend the E.F. more-or-less exclusively, not to mention offering an opportunity for other Catholics to experience the E.F…

  9. SCCatholic: I don’t understand this point.

    Okay… I am sure others can come up with other examples, but a priest could – for example – say the exact words of consecration in a way that is simply ridiculous, all the while gaping at the congregation like a 1980′s game show host. That’s one example.

    Even celebrating ad orientem versus could eliminate a lot of problems with the ars celebrandi.

  10. Banjo pickin girl says:

    SCCatholic, “I don’t understand this point. Why is this the case if the priest is following the rubrics and the GIRM for the NO?”

    It is not the case. At my parish, when we have had 2 or 3 priests who each celebrated Mass according to the rubrics it really didn’t matter when you went to Mass, the only real variability was in the homily. Following the rubrics makes all the difference.

  11. MichaelJ says:

    I would not consider this to be a case of scrupulosity , SQ. Instead it seems a simple acknowledgement that it is possible and quite easy to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. I would think that any Catholic, “RadTrad” or otherwise, would recognize this.

    It does not appear to be the case in this particular instance, but if one attended a Saturday vigil Mass in order to turn Sunday into a Dies Hominis, there would be no sin for violating a precept of the Church, but it would still be sinful, or at least wrong.

  12. The Cobbler says:

    SCCatholic: My understanding is that the Novus Ordo’s greater amount of interaction between priest and congregation is a greater occassion of misfocus on personality; although the point has been made that both have room to celebrate Mass well or poorly, the question is whether the rubrics do more or less to help it be well and avoid being poor.

    Suburbanbanshee: I don’t think you can quite count St. Phillip Neri or St. Padre Pio getting lost in prayer or experiencing miracles as, well, the sort of thing under discussion here, simply because if they were anything like St. Joseph of Cupertino they probably tried with all their might _not_ to levitate during Mass or anything and God just had other ideas, y’know? Granted, I’ll take the point that sometimes God does want to do something unusual at Mass — or, hey, that every Mass _is_ something extraordinary! — and we shouldn’t blame the priest for God being so very unroutine about His sacrifice. But I think that’s quite the opposite of when a priest projects his own personality in saying Mass.

  13. Dave N. says:

    “I think a lot of people make use of Saturday Masses because they don’t want to have to go to church on Sunday, thus leaving Sunday open for entirely worldly pursuits.”

    Of the people I know who regularly attend Saturday vigil Mass, this fairly summarizes their mindset. I would never say there is something “wrong” or “sinful” about attending such a Mass, but I think one could fairly argue that the practice has contributed in a small way to the general cultural erosion of understanding Sunday as the Lord’s Day.

  14. MichaelJ says:

    Father,
    One of the things that impresses me about the ExtraordinaryForm is how tightly choreagraphed it is, down to the most seemingly trivial gestures. The when, where and how of just about everything is identified.

    I know that in practice this is not always the case, but am wondering if such tight controls exist with the Ordinary Form. I was under the impression that the rubrics were a bit more flexible and left more up to the discretion of the Celebrant. Am I mistaken?

  15. Centristian says:

    I can relate to this insofar as I attend Saturday evening Mass, routinely, because I’m the sacristan on duty on Saturday. Knowing that I have actually fulfilled my obligation on Saturday does make it difficult, I confess, to muster the piety to return to what I regard as “work” on my one day off. I know it isn’t necessary, but it always seems like I’m not doing Sunday “right” if I don’t “go to church” in some fashion.

    It’s too bad that churches, by and large, offer nothing but Mass. It would be an incentive for me to return to church on Sunday if, say, Vespers was chanted in the evening. I’d make an effort for that. I’m always happy to attend sacred music performances at local churches on Sunday evenings. Tours of historic churches, too, give one a sense of “going to church”.

  16. maynardus says:

    It was asserted above that: “It is also worth noting that the whole Saturday-night-counts-for-Sunday issue was invented in 1967. “
    and further opined that:
    “Thankfully there are only about two or three TLMs in the U.S. that do this, and that may even be a violation of the motu proprio’s clarification document a la altar girls and communion in the hand.”

    Leaving aside the question of the provenance of this innovation, I must say that I am really puzzled by this sort of approach. Don’t we want the T.L.M. to be MORE accessible to MORE people? My wife and I have five children and an elderly relative living with us. The nearest E.F. Masses are all 45 minutes or more from our house. We’ve been attending the T.L.M. almost exclusively for over ten years, but several times a year we seem to encounter challenges which require us to go to extraordinary lengths (pun intended) to do so. I can tell you that recourse to a Saturday vigil Mass would be a Godsend in those instances (as opposed to Saturday evening being seen as simply a completely interchangeable “alternative” or “choice”). I really think there is very little danger of a “traddie” Catholic sliding into the “Saturday night only” mindset, but given the demographics and circumstances of those who do frequent the T.L.M. (large families, elderly persons, long drives to Mass) I’m surprised there has not been some demand for this. Would not the provision of such Masses fully comport with Paul VI’s stated intention of enabling the Faithful to “celebrate more easily the day of the Resurrection of the Lord”?

    (For the record, I find Communion-in-the-hand and girl altar boys abhorrent and unnatural, but I don’t believe for a moment that celebrating or attending an occasional Saturday “vigil” T.L.M. can in any way be compared to those practices – both of which began in disobedience…)

  17. SSCatholic: “Why is this the case if the priest is following the rubrics and the GIRM for the NO?”

    Aside from the “face factor” which Father Z mentions above . . . . Very simply, because the NO norms and rubrics are not sufficiently detailed to circumscribe the demeanor and actions of the priest enough to subjugate his personality to the action of the liturgy itself. For instance, as I recall the TLM rubrics even prohibit eye contact of the priest with the congregation on those occasions when he turns to face them, as in Dominus vobiscum dialogues.

    Plus . . . The instances within the NO liturgy when the priest may address the congregation extemporaneously in his own words. Aside from the sermon, this never ever never ever happens in a TLM.

    Plus . . . All the options that permit the NO celebrant to tailor a liturgy individual to himself. Such a which penitential rite to use, which Eucharistic prayer to use, which acclamation after the consecration, which introduction of the Lord’s prayer, which form of dismissal, just to indicate some of them. All of these are fixed without option in the TLM.

    Plus . . . Well, it’s hard to count the ways. It’s said that in the TLM the priest is the servant of the liturgy, whereas in the NO the liturgy is the whim of the priest.

    So, as I said in my previous comment,

    Whereas it is common to observe a Novus Ordo Mass that is so fully saturated with the persona of the celebrant as possibly to risk overshadowing the role and action of Our Lord Himself.

  18. Banjo picking girl: “At my parish, when we have had 2 or 3 priests who each celebrated Mass according to the rubrics it really didn’t matter when you went to Mass, the only real variability was in the homily. Following the rubrics makes all the difference.”

    So (continuing the preceding post) it’s not merely “following the rubrics”. I know a parish where both priests follow the rubrics, but follow them so differently that their Masses are as different as night and day; some people will only attend Mass with one of them, other people only with the other one.

    In your parish–and I might possibly guess what it is–you have have the unusual situation of multiple priests who not only celebrate Mass according to the rubrics, but with the same ethos and ars celebranda.

  19. tsunamimommy says:

    I dare say that, as usual, I have entirely missed the point amdst all the Alphabet espoused here. I have been to Mass from Waikiki to Nantucket and point in between from Washington to Colorado to Kansas to Mississippi to Tenessee, Albama the Carolinas and well, Paris, Lyon, Rome and other points in between them. My point is, it was always Mass in my opinion that I was going to, not a play or a movie where the ‘Lead Actor’ was played by the person on the ‘stage’. Rather, I was attending Mass, where Jesus is present through and with the priest, offering Himself once again to God the Father for forgiveness of our sins. Must we sin while we are in His presence? Can we not remember that He is present in this Sacrifice and give our heart and souls to Him?
    “Forgive us our trespasses as we Forgive those who trespass against us”. For the Gospel also says if we do not forgive these transgrissions then God will ot forgive ours.
    I pray for all our Priests that they may continue to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass daily and that God allows me to be present at at least one Mass daily until I can not longer be there.

  20. My point was that there are a thousand zillion ways for a priest to impose his personality on Mass and his congregation, and if you read history you will find a lot of examples of Catholics complaining about these things or bishops and movements having to remedy them. In all the older forms of Mass, in all the Rites, these things happen: either because the priests in an area are taught badly, because a bad practice or theology catches on, or because the priests have giant egos. Sometimes they tortured the rubrics; sometimes they added extraneous bits; sometimes they paraded around in stupid outfits; often they just ignored the rubrics and Mass parts entirely to do their own thing, or simply refused to bestir themselves to offer Mass at all. Very often these things happened in wide areas at a time, whenever the times were turbulent. And whenever anything new (good or bad) came into the Church, there have always been the rats and the crazies ready to exploit it. Are you really suggesting that Jansenism and all the other heresies didn’t affect ars celebrandi of the EF and other older Masses? Do you think the bored, hunting fishing wenching priests who got through seminary and were given parishes because their dads were noblemen, were necessarily wonderful priests indistinguishable from the totally devout kind?

    The EF has primarily been spared these things in recent memory, because the EF was spared the work of the hippie crowd, and because faithful EF people don’t count the sedevacantists out in Kansas’ EF practices as valid. (Rightly so, of course.) Had the Church been spared turmoil, and had the folks in Kansas still gone nuts (as certainly people did go nuts even before Vatican II), the current selection of antipopes might have been some poor parishes’ pastors. Instead EF parishes get priests with a devotion to saying the EF Mass, not bored priests thinking about what’s on television tonight.

    I’m not trying to denigrate people’s love for the EF here. But if you blow yourself a pretty pink bubble about how the EF Mass’s celebration is never going to be affected by life’s banalities and human concupiscence, you’re not going to be ready for the bubble’s humanly-inevitable pop. (And heck, you might encourage the Devil to attack your priests more, since obviously you’d be such a fragile and inviting target on such points.) Like I was just reading, if location and situation made it impossible to sin, the Devil would never have fallen from Heaven, and Adam and Eve would never have fallen in Eden. Love the Mass, yes, appreciate the virtues of the Forms and Uses, but know that they’re not magically protected from humanity’s free will to choose good or evil, much less the power to mess up.

  21. Saturday evening I’ll attend, if I can’t manage Sunday, and not feel too scrupulous. But Saturday afternoon makes me queasy. My old parish just canceled its 7:30 PM Saturday Mass as too poorly attended and now only has the very popular 4 PM Mass.
    cricket

  22. Elizzabeth says:

    So how early can the Saturday “evening” Mass start? There’s one Church in Staffordshire (UK) that has its vigil Mass starting at 12.05 – so I suppose people can pop in for Mass just after their morning coffee break, then carry on with their city centre shopping once Mass is ended!

  23. kat says:

    But WHY was it changed after almost 2000 years, to be permitted to assist at Mass on Saturday evening? What was so different in 1967 (or whatever year it was changed) that Catholics no longer could get to Mass on Sundays anymore?

    And as Father Z pointed out, how many people who go to Mass on Saturday night, then “keep holy the Sabbath” the next day? Seems more like people “get their Mass over with” Saturday at 4 pm, after doing their Saturday chores, and then do whatever they do on Sunday without God interfering. Yes, that’s a generalization, and more than likely the people reading and participating in this blog do not do that…but the majority?

    And this isn’t about the workers who could not assist on Sunday due to work. They have ALWAYS been excused from the obligation if they had no chance to go to Mass due to having to work.

    When this change came about, I always liked my dad’s answer (RIP) to his friends when they said they were going to Mass on Saturday: “Do you eat your Sunday dinner on Saturday too?”

    There are a lot of things permitted these days, in both civil and Ecclesiastical law; permission doesn’t always make it good.

  24. James Joseph says:

    @kat

    I think it has something to do with Sunday being the 1st day and the 8th day. I have heard that the Lord’s Day vigil is not supposed to be done before the completion of sunset. I’ve also heard 6pm proposed as the time.

    Regardless, this reminds me of my parents who said, that when they were children, that Easter began at 12pm on Holy Saturday. It was at that time they would break into the anise cookies and lambchops.

    Having been a long-hours worker for a miserable portion of my youth, I am very much thankful for the Saturday vigil for the Lord’s Day and I even more so for the Sunday evening Mass on the Lord’s Day. I’ll admit it can be detrimental to the unity of the parish by sort-of creating little mini-parishes. I have long thought of a remedy for this. I do think that perhaps it would be beneficial if there were unique vigil version in the Missale for each Sunday replete with a vesper so that it is in substance the same Mass but not exactly the same. I also say this because I think it would benefit the priests and foot-soldiers alike, allowing us all to see the same day stereoscopically. That and, I would be tempted to attend Mass on Saturday and then again on Sunday.

    Alas who am I? I am not a saint, and unlike my Italian uncles I am not a Free-Mason, so consecration and desecration of holy things is not my lot.
    +

  25. RichardT says:

    I seem to remember reading about an instruction of some sort from the Vatican, that whilst occasional Saturday Masses are fine, you should not go on Saturday all the time unless you have a very good reason.

    I think the context was a group (can’t remember what; they sounded a bit like Opus Dei in that they were committed, relatively traddy lay people, but it wasn’t Opus Dei) who would regularly attend Saturday evening Mass as a group, and were told that this was inappropriate.

    But although that group was the catalyst, I think the instruction was aimed at everyone, not just them.

    Sorry, I can’t remember any more. I think I read it in one of the English Catholic newspapers (probably the Catholic Herald) about 5 years ago.

  26. RichardT says:

    Elizzabeth said (2:42 pm):
    “So how early can the Saturday “evening” Mass start? There’s one Church in Staffordshire (UK) that has its vigil Mass starting at 12.05″

    From what I gather (and I’m not a Canonist), it runs like this:
    a) ‘evening’ isn’t defined in Canon Law;
    b) it’s a permissive rule, so has to be interpreted broadly, not narrowly;
    c) the only thing you can say for certain about ‘evening’ is that it doesn’t happen in the morning;
    d) so anything after 12 noon must be valid.

    Sunday Mass whilst you’re shopping for Saturday lunch may seem a bit odd. But it can be handy when a Saturday wedding fulfils your Sunday obligation!

  27. lwestin says:

    About 10 years ago I began keeping my eyes closed for most of the Mass. I offer up what I’m not seeing and follow the Mass in my mind and heart , with less distraction. Distraction and ‘drifting’ are things probably most of us struggle with, and it’s helpful to find little ways to draw yourself back into the centre – Christ. Of course, sometimes these can be a distraction in themselves..

  28. Jayna says:

    I know a fair few people who attend the Saturday Mass all the time. Some of them are choir members who spend most of Sunday singing and want to go to Mass where they can focus and really participate. But for others, it’s their Mass time of choice, just as someone might always go to a 10:30 or Noon Mass (or whatever) on Sunday. I’m not sure that they do it out of a desire to be lazy on Sunday, but more that it’s just become habit. And to tell you the truth, the Vigil Masses at both of the parishes I’ve belonged to in Atlanta are the more traditional of the weekend Masses, so I really don’t blame them for wanting to go.

  29. AnnAsher says:

    Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary. Is for the Worship of God, the expiation of Sins; it is Serious Business. We owe God, for this one hour a week, the absolute best we can offer. If I know the more Reverent Priest, the one who recognizes the Awesome Privelage of His Ministry; Our Lord come down from Heaven and wrap Himself up to be Given to Us as Food… I’m going to worship with that Priest– Saturday or Sunday- and I consider it my Holy Duty.

  30. Jerry says:

    @kat – “What was so different in 1967 (or whatever year it was changed) that Catholics no longer could get to Mass on Sundays anymore?”

    When the anticipated Sunday Masses were first permitted they were supposed to be only for those who had to work on Sunday and could not attend Mass (police, firefighters, etc.).

  31. Banjo pickin girl says:

    I go to the vigil Mass usually. I go to the first Mass of the weekend that I can make it to with my health problems so if I am good to go Saturday that’s when I go. Also, there are few children there so I can hear better and am not as distracted. Our parish is a zoo Sunday morning especially when CCD is in session, we appear to have thousands of children. And the vigil Mass is the one with more chant, sometimes having just the cantor and organ. Often they use the introit in Latin too. Very nice. Quiets me down after the hectic week.

  32. fabricdragon says:

    i often have to work on the weekends in order to support my family. In fact i am oftenj out of town, in a strange city (where i am afraid of getting lost) on saturday and sunday morning. all too often i find it very difficult to attend Mass, and have been VERY lucky to find SUNDAY night masses associated with the local Colleges.
    sadly with working on weekends, saturday afternoon isnt any better schedule than sunday morning.

    as more and more people have to accept jobs that require weekend work, i think it is important to encourage people to go to Mass, period. whenever that might need to be.

  33. Katherine says:

    While the liturgical day can be reckoned to begin on Saturday evening, and while the Church permits Masses of precept on Saturdays, I think a lot of people make use of Saturday Masses because they don’t want to have to go to church on Sunday, thus leaving Sunday open for entirely worldly pursuits.

    CAN? How about “the liturgical day IS reckoned to begin on the evening of the worldly Saturday.”

    Why do I never hear snarky comments suggesting those who go to an early morning Sunday Mass, do so that they have the Sunday open for worldly pursuits?

    There is nothing wrong with deciding as one’s approaches the great Day of the Lord, worship of Him at Mass is the thing one does at the first opportunity, while honoring Him the rest of the day with family and rest.