QUAERITUR: Ascension Thursday/Sunday obligation when travelling. Complicated!

From a reader:

Does one’s obligation to assist at Mass on a Solemnity follow the prescriptions of the diocese where you’re currently located, or do you follow the prescriptions of your home diocese? I will be in Philadelphia on business on Ascension Thursday (where the holyday has NOT been transferred to the following Sunday); however I will be home in ___ by the following Sunday (where the solemnity regrettably has been transferred).

Is it possible in my case that I will be obliged to attend two Ascension Masses? Of course, this question is merely intellectual in that I will not pass up the opportunity to celebrate Ascension on the traditional day.

We need to dig into our General Norms, the first section of the Code of Canon Law that lays out how laws are to be read and understood.

(While we reach for the book, we should say a little prayer that our bishops to come to their senses and restore the calendar to its proper state and give us back Ascension Thursday.)

Canon 12 says that everyone is bound by universal law, but if that universal law is exempted in a particular territory, then everyone “actually present”
in that territory is exempted.

Canon 13 (paragraph 2) shows us that travelers are not bound by the particular law of their territory while they are absent from it (unless the law is a personal one, or the transgression of that law causes harm in their territory – e.g., a bishop decrees that all of his priests offer one Mass for a cleric when he dies. Fr. Smith is out of the country when he hears of the death of Deacon Jones. Even though he is outside of the diocese, Fr. Smith is still obliged to offer Holy Mass for Deacon Jones, because to do otherwise would cause harm to Deacon Jones by depriving him of the grace that is expected).

Travelers are also exempt from the law of the territory in which they are present, except for those laws which pertain to public order, determine the formality of an act, or which regard immovable goods located in the territory.

Lastly, our good friend, canon 18,

“Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to a strict interpretation.”

This the current incarnation of the ancient axiom about the interpretation of the Church’s laws as “odia restringi, et favores convenit ampliari” that is when a law imposes an obligation of some kind, we interpret the law as strictly as possible so that people have the most freedom, and when a law gives something favorable we interpret the law as loosely as possible to make sure that people are able to benefit to the greatest extent (Regula Iuris 15).

So, since the feast of the Ascension has been moved in some places, and not in others, and because it is celebrated by some who use the 1962 Missale Romanum in those places where the feast has been legitimately transferred, we are left to figure out what our obligations are.

If a traveler named “Sempronius”, from a diocese where Ascension Thursday is celebrated on Sunday, is actually present in a place where Ascension Thursday is (shockingly) on Thursday, Sempronius is under no obligation to attend Mass (canon 13, 2.2).

If a traveler named “Exuperantius”, from a diocese where the Ascension has not been moved is actually present on Thursday in a diocese where Our Lord’s earthly sojourn has been liturgically delayed to Sunday, he too is under no obligation to attend Mass (canon 13, 2.1).

If, however, Sempronius goes to Mass on Ascension Thursday whilst traveling, and returns home before Sunday, his obligation to attend Mass on Sunday still applies, even though it will be a repeat of the prayers and readings he’s already prayerfully participated in with full, conscience and active participation. In other words, Sempronius is fortunate enough to celebrate Our Lord’s Ascension twice.

On the other hand poor Exuperantius is deprived of the celebration of Our Lord’s Ascension this year, since he would celebrate the Sixth Thursday of Easter, and then the Seventh Sunday.

By the way, if a parish is celebrating the Ascension on Thursday using the 1962 Missale Romanum, even in a place where the lawful authority has transferred the Feast, those parishioners have no obligation whatsoever to attend a Tridentine Mass on Thursday, nor do they have an obligation to attend a Novus Ordo Mass on Sunday, even though it means they will miss out on the celebration of the Ascension.

That’s the way it goes.

 

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to QUAERITUR: Ascension Thursday/Sunday obligation when travelling. Complicated!

  1. Thanks for this, as it’s interesting. I have a simpler question. Let’s say someone is going into the deep woods for a hiking or fishing trip for the weekend, and it’d be really difficult to get to Mass — coming out, driving an hour each way, etc. If you’re so remote, are you excused from one’s Sunday obligation, or does the Church say (in essence), ‘Deal with it and don’t plan optional trips that’ll have you far from Mass on Sundays’…? I think I intuit the answer already…

  2. francisp says:

    This situation actually happened to me.

    In the 1990’s, I was in Seattle on business during Ascension Thursday. I drove around for almost an hour trying to find a parish to attend Mass until I figured out that Ascension had been moved and so there was no Ascension Mass. I think came back to my home before Sunday, which had NOT (yet) transferred the feast, and so missed the Ascension completely that year.

    So for years I was bugged by the fact that I missed Ascension one year (not in a scrupulous way, but in a Detective Monk OCD way). So a few years ago I went to an Eastern Catholic parish on Ascension Thursday (which of course was celebrating the Ascension that day), then I went to my regular parish the next Sunday (which of course was celebrating Ascension Thursday that day). So I was able to restore balance to the Force and have my full supply of Ascension celebrations!

  3. Tim Ferguson says:

    St. Irenaeus: One could argue that you should avoid hiking on the weekends so as to ensure you make it to Mass, but the Church also has other options in her arsenal of grace. Canon 1245 permits your friendly pastor to grant you either a dispensation (good) or commutation (even better!) when your missing of Mass is foreseen. If you plan a trip that absolutely *has* to exclude you from participating in Holy Mass, just call up the good Father, explain your situation, and ask “Could you commute my obligation to some other pious work?”
    Perhaps going to Mass twice during the next week, or reciting the Divine Office with your fellow hikers, or praying all 15 (20?) decades of the Holy Rosary, or praying the stations of the Cross, or reading the Gospel passage for that Sunday and explaining it to your non-Catholic or nominally Catholic fellow hikers!

  4. A perhaps more interesting question:

    Consider an EF community for which the EF Mass is offered only on Sundays, one whose membership is so widely dispersed geographically that a majority likely could not attend an EF Mass on a working weekday solemnity, even if it were offered. Is it best in this community for its priest to celebrate the 1st class Mass of the Ascension as an external solemnity on the following Sunday (rather the 2nd class Mass of the Sunday after the Ascension)?

    Note that this question has nothing whatsoever to do with any obligation to attend Mass on the Ascension, and nothing to do with the dubious concept of transferring the feast of the Ascension to the following Sunday. According to 1962 rubric #356, an external solemnity of a feast means the celebration of the Mass of that feast, for the good of the faithful, either on the day on which the feast is impeded, or on a Sunday when the feast occurs during the week, or on some other established day.

    So, to celebrate the Mass of the Ascension on the following Sunday, is simply to celebrate the Mass of the Ascension on that Sunday (in lieu of celebrating the Mass of that Sunday). The actual feast of the Ascension having been the preceding Ascension Thursday–when, for instance, those saying the Divine Office would have already said the office of the Ascension. (And when the priest may have celebrated privately the Mass of the Ascension on Ascension Thursday, possibly with some present who could attend.)

    In my view, the preferred answer to the question above is YES, the Mass of the Ascension should be celebrated as an external solemnity on the following Sunday–independently of whether the local diocese has “transferred” the solemnity from Thursday to Sunday–lest the EF faithful miss the Mass of the Ascension altogether.

  5. Imrahil says:

    in a diocese where Our Lord’s earthly sojourn has been liturgically delayed to Sunday.

    Dear @Fr Z, can you give the Gold Star to yourself please?

  6. Gregg the Obscure says:

    This circumstance really does fit in well with the question: “Viri Galilaei, quid admiramini, aspicientes in Caelum?”

  7. disco says:

    I don’t see the need for an external solemnity for Ascension Thursday. The Ascension is a day of obligation in the US but it may be transferred to the Sunday, unlike the Epiphany and Corpus Christi which are not obligatory but nonetheless are transferred.

  8. ddoyle1220 says:

    I’ve been the unlucky recipient of not having Ascension before. I go to school in DC (CUA) and so I was down here doing things Thursday, and then was home for the weekend (NY) and went to Mass at my home parish Sunday where it was the 7th Sunday…

  9. RichardT says:

    Fr Z said: “If a traveler named “Sempronius”, from a diocese where Ascension Thursday is celebrated on Sunday, is actually present in a place where Ascension Thursday is (shockingly) on Thursday, Sempronius is under no obligation to attend Mass (canon 13, 2.2).”

    But even though Sempronius, whilst travelling, is exempt (for most purposes) from the local laws of his own diocese and the diocese he is visiting, surely he is still subject to the laws of the universal Church.

    If I’ve understood it correctly, under the laws of the universal Church Ascension Thursday is a Holy Day of obligation and is celebrated on Thursday – unless local law moves it.

    So once we leave our diocese, aren’t we subject to that universal law, with no local derogations? (with, of course, the usual caveat that an obligation does not bind us if it is not reasonably possible for us to fulfil it)

  10. jesusthroughmary says:

    “I don’t see the need for an external solemnity for Ascension Thursday. The Ascension is a day of obligation in the US but it may be transferred to the Sunday, unlike the Epiphany and Corpus Christi which are not obligatory but nonetheless are transferred.”

    If it is transferred to the Sunday, it therefore ceases, ipso facto, to be a Holy Day of Obligation in that province.

  11. Papabile says:

    @ddoyle1220

    The Shrine used to actually celebrate the Ascension twice (both Thursday and Sunday) when I was at CUA…. no more? I forget why, but I believe it had something to do with the fact it was a Basilica after 1991.

  12. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Last year I completely missed out on the Ascension Mass. On the old Ascension Thursday, I went to daily Mass which here is some other observance or something. Then on Sunday I went to the nearby Tridentine Mass, where of course the old calendar is observed. At that point I realized I hadn’t had the privilege of hearing the Mass of the Ascension at all. I was sad.

    What the…??? I was scratching my head on that one.

    Can we puh-leeeze have the Holy Days back in their proper spot? Oh. I guess the next step is to obliterate the Sunday obligation? [as Fr Z says: “its too haaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd” to get to Mass at all for the laity and the clergy]

    How long Oh LORD!

  13. bwfackler says:

    If one is roman rite and in ukraine where the greek rite predominates and the julian calendar is used, can one follow the rules for fast/abstinence and mass obligation of the local greek rite eparchy instead of the home or local roman rite diocese?

  14. Tim Ferguson says:

    bwfackler, even though the Ukrainian Church sui iuris predominates in the Ukraine, there is a sizeable Latin Church there, with an archdiocese and six suffragan dioceses. Therefore, when you are there, you would be subject to the particularities of the local Latin diocese, not the Ukrainian eparchy.

    Since the Ukrainian Church has much stricter rules for fasting and abstinence, you would be certainly free to follow those rules, but you would be under absolutely no obligation to do so.

  15. Geoffrey says:

    I really wish the Holy Father would issue a ‘motu proprio’ ordering that the feasts of Epiphany and Ascension cannot be moved. Let the bishops remove the obligation, as they have done for other days. But moving these two feasts just throws everything off!

  16. I don’t see the need for an external solemnity for Ascension Thursday. The Ascension is a day of obligation in the US but it may be transferred to the Sunday

    Again, the question I posed has nothing–nada, zip, zilch–to do with whether Ascension Thursday is a day of obligation, or whether or not the obligation or the feast itself is transferred to the following Sunday.

    In the real world–out here in flyover country where Catholics, expecially traditional ones, are so sparsely distributed that they may have to drive a hundred miles to attend EF Sunday Mass, and where it is quite impractical for most members of an EF community to travel to attend an EF Mass on a working Thursday–an EF priest likely will offer the Mass of the Ascension on Ascension Thursday with most of his members absent.

    But then–having celebrated the actual Feast of the Ascension on Ascension Thursday–for the benefit of the faithful he offers the Mass of the Ascension again (this time, as an external solemnity) on the following Sunday, so that the majority who could not attend it on Ascension Thursday are not deprived of assisting in the annual liturgical highpoint of the Mass of the Ascension (rather than on that day the lesser 2nd class Mass of the Sunday after the Ascension).

    The same thing may happen later with the external solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Sunday following the actual celebration of Corpus Christi (Thursday), and then with the external solemnity of the Sacred Heart on the Sunday following the celebration of Sacred Heart (Friday). Again, this has nothing whatsoever to do with transfer of feasts nor with holy days of obligation.

    Is this common practice in the real world, and its great benefit for the faithful, really so hard to understand? Surely not everyone thinks only in terms of Masses they are obliged to attend, rather than of annual liturgical high points they are anxious not to miss.

  17. And, Geoffrey, even if the Holy Father prohibited the transfer of the feasts of the Epiphany and Ascension to the following Sundays, the reason I detailed would still argue for some EF communities repeating as external solemnities their Masses on the following Sundays.

    I take it that everyone understands that celebration of of the Mass of a feast on another day as an external solemnity has nothing to do with transfer of the feast itself to that day. The feast itself, with both its Mass and Office, is celebrated on its proper day, but then its Mass (but not its Office) is celebrated externally on the other day.

  18. Proving once again the liberal tinkerers should have just left well enough alone.

  19. I take this into consideration if I am travelling between Ascension Thursday and the following week just to keep things simple and to maximize my spiritual benefit. One year I left on Ascension Thursday after attending Mass here in New York and made sure that I was in Nebraska by Sunday morning (which wasn’t too much trouble, even though I drove the whole way). Another year I think I made sure I was home by Ascension Thursday. It would be silly for me to miss Ascension Thursday altogether or to get it twice. Besides, I don’t want to encourage those that transferred the solemnity, so I vote with my feet by not being present in their dioceses on either Ascension Thursday or the following Sunday. This year I will probably leave for vacation after Pentecost, so no problem.

  20. I’ll just be at Mass…obligation or not :)

  21. Michelle F says:

    What I’m wondering is how the rules for receiving Communion apply if one attends the Ascension Thursday Mass on Thursday, and then again on Sunday.

    I know I cannot receive Communion twice at the same Mass. For example, I cannot go to the 8:00 AM Mass at my home parish and receive Communion, and then go to the 10:00 AM Mass on the other side of town and receive Communion again. It is the same liturgical day and the same calendar day.

    So if I go to the Ascension Thursday Mass on Thursday and receive Communion, should I abstain from Communion if I also attend the Ascension Thursday Mass on Sunday? It is the same liturgical day even though it is not the same calendar day.

    I suppose this question would also apply to people attending the Tridentine Mass as well as travelers. If anyone can tell me the answer, I would really appreciate it.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    I am going to Mass on Thursday a.m. but it is not the official Feast of the Ascension where I am.

  23. Panterina says:

    I live in the U.S., where most Bishops push the feast to the next Sunday. One year on Ascension Thursday I was in Amsterdam for work. That day is a national holiday there, so no one was at the office, except for myself and another American colleague. I decided to work based on the belief that I was bound by the customs of my diocese back home. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but to have a nagging feeling about working on a day when everyone else around me was not.

  24. pfreddys says:

    I work in a different state from where I live. I dont know nor do I pay attention to whether or not either diocese has transferred the feast. I just go on the actual Thursday. Thats my suggestion to anyone regardless of their circumstances: JUST GO ON THE THURSDAY.
    BTW, dont forget to start your novena to the Holy Spirit the next day in preparation for the feast of Pentacost…….that feast is still on a Sunday, right?

  25. Pax--tecum says:

    In the Tridentine Mass the Paschal Candle is extinguished after the Gospel has been read. What should be done when Ascension is transferred to the next Sunday as an external solemnity? Should the Paschal Candle be lighted at the beginning of Mass or should it be at the baptisterium? Because the Paschal tide ends after the Gospel of Ascension. The sunday after Ascension we are allready in Ascension tide (according to the breviary).

  26. Actually, Michelle, you can indeed receive Holy Communion at two different Masses (but no more) on the same day. I understand this is not a matter of form or rubrics, but of canon law.

    Pax Tecum, in the EF the Feast of the Ascension is not transferred. It remains on Thursday, the fortieth day after Easter. Even if for the good of the faithful its Mass is celebrated again on the following Sunday as an external solemnity. (In theory, as I understand it, the bishop could determine that for the benefit of the faithful the Mass of the Ascension as an external solemnity on some particular occasion in mid-summer, but no transfer of the Feast of the Ascension would be involved. For the umpteenth time, external solemnities have nothing to do with the dubious (in my view) concept of “transfer” of a feast.) I believe opinions differ on the Pascal candle. In mine, its extinguishing marks the end of the Easter season, not the end of the Gospel in the Mass of the Ascension.

  27. Centristian says:

    If a Christian is absolutely intent upon celebrating the feast of the Ascension on Thursday, what is to prevent him from doing so? It seems to me that as a layman, I am free to celebrate Ascension Thursday on Ascension Thursday, irrespective of what my diocese happens to be doing that day.

    What is to prevent me, after all, from praying the office of Ascension Thursday on Thursday? What is to prevent me from following the Mass of Ascension Thursday in my Missal on Thursday, regardless of which texts are being read from the altar and the ambo? I’m under no obligation to follow along with the texts of the Mass of the day, in any event (especially on a plain old Thursday which doesn’t oblige me at all). We can read whatever Mass we want to read, can’t we?

    Any time I attend the Tridentine Mass, for example, I read the Mass of the day in the Ordinary Form using my OF Missal (in fact, last week I read Eucharistic Prayer IV as the priest read the Roman Canon). I do this because I am not in attendance at the EF in order to rebel against the current texts or calendar, but only to enjoy a more solemn external presentation of the Church’s public worship. I nevertheless prefer the texts of the Ordinary Form and I also prefer to follow the modern calendar.

    I can do the same thing with respect to transferred feast days, then, can’t I? Sure I can. I can do that and more. What is to prevent me, after all, from reading about or meditating upon the Ascension of Jesus Christ on Thursday, or from otherwise keeping the event and the day which commemorates the event in my mind, heart, and spirit? Nothing whatsoever.

    It seems to me that to transfer the feast day to Sunday is a pastoral move to enable more Christians to be able to participate in the liturgical celebration of the feast, not a restrictive move prohibiting Christians who want to observe the day on the actual day from doing so. Why some lament, therefore, the fact that the Church transfers this or that celebration of a major feast to the following Sunday for the sake of the modern workforce in the secular world is beyond me. If you want to celebrate the feast on the day of the feast, then go ahead celebrate it.

  28. Centristian: Any time I attend the Tridentine Mass, for example, I read the Mass of the day in the Ordinary Form using my OF Missal (in fact, last week I read Eucharistic Prayer IV as the priest read the Roman Canon).

    Hmm . . . Just rhetorically, I wonder whether you thereby violated the Vatican II dictate of actuosa participatio, meaning (I assume) prayerful participation in the prayers of the actual Mass that you’re attending (rather than pursuing your own individual private prayers).

    But I’m fine with To Each His Own. I myself follow the new calendar daily with my Liturgia Horarum and new CTS missal, and also follow fully the old calendar with my 1962 missal. And admittedly, when I attend an OF Mass, I insert privately some of the prayers from the EF missal.

  29. lucy says:

    I am just thankful that we will have Ascension Thursday on Ascension Thursday and a High Mass to boot.

    All of you above and brought up some really interesting questions. I hope Fr. Z. further posts on these questions.

  30. peresieh says:

    I am a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the US and need to travel 70 miles each way to attend liturgy. I cannot do this on a weekday so I attend the OF mass in the local Roman Catholic parish on Ascension Thursday. This fulfills my obligation since I only need to attend mass on the Holy Day or the evening before. It does not have to be the mass of the Ascension. I forget which Canon this is. On the following Sunday I attend liturgy at the Byzantine Catholic Church 70 miles from my home. I therefore miss the readings and propers for the Ascension.

  31. jesusthroughmary says:

    “So if I go to the Ascension Thursday Mass on Thursday and receive Communion, should I abstain from Communion if I also attend the Ascension Thursday Mass on Sunday? It is the same liturgical day even though it is not the same calendar day.”

    First of all, as has been stated above, canon law no longer restricts a person to receive Communion a maximum of once per day. Currently, a Catholic may receive twice on the same day if the second reception occurs during the attendance of Mass, meaning if that person attends enough of that Mass that he would have fulfilled an obligation to attend Mass if one existed. This has nothing to do with which form of Mass one attends.

    Secondly, the canon refers to a calendar day. So, one may not receive three times on Saturday, even if one attends a Saturday morning votive Mass, a Saturday afternoon Nuptial Mass, and a Saturday evening Mass that anticipates Sunday. However, one may receive at three Masses for the same feast if one of them is anticipated on the evening prior to the feast.

  32. Centristian says:

    @HenryEdwards:

    “Hmm . . . Just rhetorically, I wonder whether you thereby violated the Vatican II dictate of actuosa participatio, meaning (I assume) prayerful participation in the prayers of the actual Mass that you’re attending (rather than pursuing your own individual private prayers).”

    Possibly, in which case my participation was in harmony with pre-Conciliar expectations and therefore wholly appropriate in any event. ;^)

  33. Centristian: “in which case my participation was in harmony with pre-Conciliar expectations and therefore wholly appropriate in any event.”

    Goodness, your participation (such as it is) in the sacred liturgy is not oriented to the past rather than the future, is it? (Just kidding.) Presumably, most of us attend the EF in order to participate in the liturgy we can find that best satisfies the expectations of Vatican II.

  34. Marty says:

    Father Z, may I please further complicate your original scenario which includes intra-day travel. This is also an intellectual question as I attend Mass daily, but in real life, I live within 1/2 mile of a state border. The Archdiocese, where I live, celebrates Ascension Thursday traditionally. However, I work in the border state, whose diocese is a suffragan of an Archdiocese which has transferred Ascension Thursday to the following Sunday. The times of Mass (locally, in my Archdiocese) preclude me from attending Mass without being late for work, or having the need to leave work early. However, I can attend Mass close to work, but this church would only celebrate the Thursday Mass for the Sixth Week of Easter. Must I attend a Mass within my “home” Archdiocese to satisfy the Holy Day obligation, or can I simply attend any Mass?

    Yes, let’s pray that the bishops will stop the confusion.

  35. Geoffrey says:

    In my diocese, the Ascension is celebrated on Sunday. However, last year on Ascension Thursday, the priest told everyone before Mass that they would be using the texts of the Ascension, and told them the proper pages in the Magnificat missalette, etc.

    This was an older priest and my regular confessor up until he passed away last summer. But my question is: can a priest, on his own initiative, observe the Ascension when celebrating daily Mass on Ascension Thursday, and then just do it again on Sunday?

  36. John Nolan says:

    The English bishops transferred the Ascension to Sunday five years ago (along with the Epiphany and Corpus Christi). Following a query from the Latin Mass Society Cardinal Castrillon ruled that an EF Mass celebrated on the Sunday had to be that of the transferred feast. The following year there was some confusion as to whether an EF Mass celebrated on the Thursday of Corpus Christi could legitimately be that of the feast, or would it have to be replaced by a votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament. A further ruling from Rome allowed the Mass of the (transferred) feast to be on its correct day in the EF, but without the obligation.

    In 2007 I missed both Ascension and Corpus Christi since on both Sundays I happened to be near Farnborough Abbey and attended Mass there; since they follow the Benedictine ordo the feasts had not been transferred. Earlier that year the winter meeting of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge was on the weekend of 6/7 January. We celebrated the Epiphany on the Saturday and the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday; Mary Berry justified it by saying “We follow Solesmes!”

  37. Michelle F says:

    Henry Edwards and jesusthroughmary,

    Thank you for your replies, however I think I might be confusing things by talking about liturgical days.

    What I’m trying to figure out is whether Ascension Thursday Mass celebrated on Thursday is the same Mass as Ascension Thursday Mass celebrated on Sunday as far as receiving Communion is concerned.

    I know I can receive Communion twice on the same calendar day, but I cannot receive Communion twice at the same Mass, the “Mass of the Day.” That’s why I used the 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM Masses in my example above. Each of those is the “Mass of the Day.”

    If I’m in a diocese on Thursday and the Mass of the Day is the Ascension Thursday Mass, and then I go back to my home diocese and the Mass of the Day for Sunday is the Ascension Thursday Mass, does it qualify as the “same” Mass as far as receiving Communion is concerned?

    And why, oh why, can’t our bishops just put our Holydays back where they belong??? :(

  38. Yes, Michelle, without doubt you can receive Holy Communion at a Mass of the Ascension on both Thursday and the following Sunday. They are different Masses sacramentally, even if celebrated with the same propers and readings. Just as it is ok to receive Holy Communion at two different Sunday Masses celebrated with the same readings and propers for the same Sunday on the calendar.

  39. Alice says:

    Michelle F,
    I think the problem is that what you know isn’t so. You can receive Holy Communion twice in the same day. The only caveat is that the second time must be at a Mass you have attended. If you cantor at the 8 AM and lector at the 10, you can receive Holy Communion at both Masses, despite the fact that the readings, sermon, Eucharistic prayer and everything are the same. What you cannot do is attend the 8:30 AM School Mass and then slip in just in time for Communion at the 5 PM Sacred Heart Mass or go to the 7 PM First Friday Club Communion Service and receive because you would not have attended Mass in either case.

    Now, my own personal rule is that I will not receive Holy Communion twice in the same day. Sometimes I’ll make an exception to my own rule for Saturday evening Mass if I have been to Mass in the morning since the Masses are different, but this is Alice’s personal rule binding only on Alice, not the rule of the Universal Church.

  40. Michelle F says:

    Henry Edwards and Alice,

    Thank you for clarifying everything for me! The phrase “they are different Masses sacramentally” made everything fall into place!

    I also understand the difference between attending an entire Mass, and just running in the door half-way through.

    One of the many things I love about the Church is all of Her rules are perfectly logical. The only difficulty is getting them explained in terms that make sense to the listener – in this case, myself.

    Thanks again! :)

  41. rhhenry says:

    How about simply transferring all Holy Days of Obligation (Sundays, Christmas, Ascension, Assumption, etc.) to the Feast of the Transfiguration (my birthday). That way I can fulfil an entire year’s worth of obligations with one Mass (and on my birthday, which I like to do anyway)? It’s so harrrrd to make it to 60-ish Masses a year. Puh-leeeeze? [End sarcasm, for those who haven’t caught on yet.]