ASK FATHER: Revival of early morning Masses

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Back before Vatican II, and even in the years following Vatican II, daily Mass at most parishes, if not all, (it seems, according family members, and reading the lives of the saints) was early in the morning (ie: around 5:00-6:30 am; I have heard of places with TWO early morning Masses each day). Now it seems daily Mass is held at times when most people are either at work or school and can’t get to daily Mass. […]

I have brought this up to our priest who agrees that it would be a good idea, but when he brings it up to those who attend daily Mass, he is met with opposition from the home-schooling families (we are a Latin Mass community) who insist that it would be “too early” to get their kids out of bed to attend Mass. Personally, I think this is laziness and a lack of discipline, and should not be an excuse to have daily Mass later in the day. When I talk to people from our community who can’t attend daily Mass due to work and school, they say they would attend Mass daily if it was early enough in the morning that they could still get to work on time.

As a priest yourself, what would you suggest is trying to go about reviving early morning daily Masses?

I think that if people were to express an interest in early morning Masses, priests would schedule early morning Masses.  But there would have to be some interest.

Ask the parish priest!

If Father already has a Mass or two, he isn’t likely to jump at the chance to say a second or a third (reversing the chronology) at, say, 5:30 a.m.

So, here is a little poll.  Something like this might be done in a parish.

Pick your best answer.  Yes, I know there could be other answers but these are the answers you get.  The combox is open.

Early morning Masses

View Results

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80 Responses to ASK FATHER: Revival of early morning Masses

  1. JamesM says:

    Here in my parish the weekday Masses are at 10am. This is similar to most other parishes I know.

    The reason for this is in the UK pensioners get free bus passes to travel for free on public transport. They can’t use these until 9:30am and as such a 10am Mass is the earliest they can get to Mass.

    It would be a brave priest who would move a Mass to an earlier time. The only real option is an additional Mass and most of our priests are already overworked.

  2. Phil_NL says:

    Frankly, I think people forget that in those olden days, most rectories (and even if it wasn’t a strict majority, a whole lot more than is the case right now) had at least 2 priests.

    Now it’s down to one (or zero). If we force father to have all parish activities around people’s work schedules, that is both before and after work – father will have to attend meetings with volunteers and the lot, provide adult cathechisation, chair parish council meetings, etc. etc., all of which would be normally scheduled in the evenings.

    Now last time I checked, parish priests were mortal men. And mortal men don’t thrive on workdays that start at 5 AM (so that there can be a 5:30 morning Mass) and end at 10 PM or later.

  3. Elizabeth R says:

    One possibility is for neighboring parishes to arrange to have different times for daily Mass, and publish the combined schedule. There were several years in which I went to my local parish on Saturday and Sunday, but to a different parish during the week, on my way to work. I was glad to move later to a parish that had an early Mass, but the two-parish arrangement worked, and I had the advantage of knowing priests from both parishes.

  4. philothea.distracted says:

    Why not two morning Masses? One very early for workers and one later for retired and homeschool families?

  5. john_6_fan says:

    Wow! Laziness and a lack of discipline? Homeschooling is the definition of discipline. Perhaps your reader is willing to volunteer to go to those homeschoolers’ homes at 4:00am and help those (likely large) families get their children out of bed, fed breakfast, cleaned up, dressed, and into the car in time to get to Holy Mass at 5:00am. Then perhaps they can volunteer to come over at 5:00pm to help manage these overtired kids at dinnertime, which is perhaps the most difficult time of day for a parent of younger children.

    These are probably the families that are going to provide the bulk of the next round of vocations. So perhaps instead of calling them lazy and undisciplined, your reader could pray for them.

    Just a thought.

  6. Southern Baron says:

    The regular parishes near me have quite early masses, certainly around 7 or 730. Interestingly, the TLM parish does not have theirs until nine, and that is less well attended than the other parishes.

  7. Imrahil says:

    As someone on this blog (I believe our reverend host, but I’m not sure) once said, the Catholic principle is “sit down and wait for the pastor to do something about it”.

    So… while the way of expressing interest, etc., would be the way to go (and won’t happen on a large scale), I think that in principle, there should be morning masses introduced by the priest.

    (I say that as one very loth to get up earlier than necessary, personally. But though I’m not a strict daily-mass-attendant, I guess that would at least somewhat be different if I had not the opportunity of evening Masses. Mass and Communion are great treats for combatting the interior pig-dog.)

    Masses are not only for the group of Catholics who actually. Another aim is to provide opportunity to attend for the rest of the parish (and neighboring parishes). While it is not downright necessary that a Catholic can attend a daily Mass, it is at least an undesirable state of affairs if, when he does think of doing it, seriously cannot find one out of his work-schedule.

    Anyway, the (frequent) time of eight o’clock means that those on work have no time and those on vacation will think twice about doing more than their Sunday duty. It should not be the only Mass time over a group of neighboring parishes, imho.

  8. Magpie says:

    Best time to suit the people would be 7.30pm or 8.00pm.

  9. Mike says:

    My parish has a 6:30 (daily except Sat. and Sunday) and a daily 9:00.

    Not too complicated.

  10. ChesterFrank says:

    During my weekday, and along my traveling route, I have attended early Mass(7:00-8:00) at one parish, mid-morning Mass (9:00-10:00) at another group of parishes, and afternoon (high-noon) at yet another. The hour that I am lacking is mid-afternoon (3:00-4:00). To me it is less important what hours a particular parish has Mass, the importance is that all the parishes on my route have a Mass I can attend on a particular day at a particular hour. I rely on a coordinated Mass schedule across a diocese, not a parish.

  11. lana says:

    Near my work there is a 6:45 AM Mass which is attended by @ 100+ . Everywhere else in two states, the daily Mass is mostly at 8 or 9 and attended by @ 10-15 people.

    How about 12:15 PM Masses?

  12. Volanges says:

    Maybe the person who asked the question should remember that the reason for the very early Mass was the fasting regulations.

    My personal work schedule is all over the map so there is no ‘best time’ for me. Certainly those very early times are not good for the handful of elderly retirees who regularly attend daily Mass in my parish. It used to be at 6:30 p.m. but they requested 9:30 a.m. as the regular time and that works fine for them. During Lent that was moved to 7 p.m. to allow those who work to attend Mass more often if they wished. That might have brought in 2 more people to augment the 3 or 4 who are usually there.

  13. Sixupman says:

    Recently in Malta, my hotel was close to the village [read minor basilica] church. They had Masses at 06:30 and 07:00 every weekday. Both well attended. Interestingly, at “the Peace” there was none of the nonsense encountered in the UK – the congregation merely acknowledged one-another with a bow of the head. I can cope with vernacular Mass in French, German or Italian, but Maltese proved difficult – Latin, the mortar between the bricks of Faith sorely missed.

    In England, The Holy Name, Manchester, had bot an 07:00 and 17:00 Mass both well attended – alas no longer, the Jesuits reclaimed the church!

  14. momoften says:

    Did ya ever think that back in the day people were up earlier especially if they were farmers, and
    they went to Mass earlier because of the Eucharistic Fast was from Midnight before I believe. I
    know in listening to my Dad everyone went early to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days because of
    the longer Eucharist Fast. AND speaking from experience, we attend a Parish that is offers the EF
    Mass often during the week and on weekends. Our parish is full of homeschoolers who are far from lazy and do LOTS and LOTS to help our Pastor between serving and singing and cantoring, and whatever else needs to be done. I resent people who say we can be flexible and do more. How about getting some Catholic school students to get up that early for Mass? They won’t. Work with your Pastor, maybe he can offer and early evening Mass once a week–

  15. frival says:

    When our new Pastor was assigned he moved the early morning Mass from 6:30AM (set so as to have the parking lot clear before parish school children started to arrive, as well as for people who could then head to work on time) to 9:00AM. His two primary reasons were 1) now there was a regularly scheduled Mass time during the school day when the school children could assist at Mass during the week and 2) the incredible difficulty in finding a priest willing to take over a 6:30AM Mass if he was to be away or sick. Apparently the later in the morning it gets the more priests are willing to help. I don’t know if that’s a common occurrence, but it’s what we were told.

    Fortunately there are two parishes in the city that have early Masses – one at 7:00 and one at 7:15 or most people who work during the day would be unable to attend weekday Mass at all. Would that more priests were willing to get up an hour or two earlier to make this possible! (Said, of course, as the consummate anti-morning person…)

  16. bbmoe says:

    In Austin, there are a few early Masses that cater to people who are commuting to work, and other masses are scheduled for the lunch hour or, in the case of my parish, for folks who are dropping their kids off at the church school (8:45.) This seems to be an “organic” approach that suits the needs of the community the parish serves, but also give a great deal of flexibility for folks to go at a time that suits their needs within a geographic area. By contrast, my husband (Mr. Daily Mass Times- he developed an app that he uses for travel) says that Mass times in the Orange county area are very limited, which is odd from a pastoral standpoint (imo) especially since the time (8 a.m.) is neither fish nor fowl from a commuting standpoint- it’s during rush hour, so is inconvenient for parishioners who don’t work *and* for people who need to get to their jobs.

  17. q7swallows says:

    I homeschool and I’ve been wishing and agitating for early morning Masses for a decade but usually to no avail. Lazy California–go figure. We are so grateful to have the current daily EF that we do have when Father is well enough to offer it that we architect our lives and our schedules around it, but it is not easy. An early morning regular EF would help my/our sense of discipline immensely and I have seen wonderful results in the children of other homeschooling families who have taken advantage of those early morning Masses (some with daily confessions available prior!) in other parts of the country–usually in monastically-blessed settings. My fondest memories of college days here and abroad are of beginning my day with an early morning Mass. It all went downhill from there.

  18. David Zampino says:

    As a parent of eight who homeschooled for 8 years, I strongly resist the suggestion that “laziness and lack of discipline” is a reason for not getting up for a very early Mass. I would respectfully (but strongly) suggest that the writer spend some time with a large, homeschooling family and see what it is they do; how they live; and what they contribute to the life of the Church.

    I don’t think that there is a “one size fits all” answer. When we lived in a rural area, the daily Mass (and the first of the Sunday Masses) was significantly earlier than our parish now, which is in a major metropolitan area. Our parish serves well over 1200 families; offers 11 Masses each week; offers the Sacrament of Confession 6 days each week, and the Adoration Chapel is open 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    We are served by ONE priest and have no deacon. Retired priests help out with three of the weekday Masses — other than that, it is all up to Father.

    Perhaps a prayer for a dramatic increase in vocations is in order.

  19. kat says:

    We are blessed to have a 7:15 am Mass during school days, and some families come early to assist before school. We also have an 11:15 am Mass, and classes take turns during the week going to that, during which confessions are heard for the children. One day a week the whole school attends together. On Saturday Mass is at 8 AM. It is also at 8 am on holidays and in summer. The morning Mass is well attended by a variety of people: school families, home schoolers, retirees, homemakers, etc. a couple people assist at the school Mass as well. More come for big feast days. On special feasts there will be an evening Mass at 7 pm to encourage workers to attend.

    These work well, but then, we have three resident priests!

  20. MichaelTMS says:

    I love the 2 parishes in the county who offer noon Mass. All too often the people who have to work evenings and nights are forgot about. For instance since I have to be at work by 315 pm every Saturday it is difficult to have a regular confessor, so often I go to confession before noon Mass. People who forced to work shifts other than days have spiritual needs too and are always out of step with ‘polite’ society and important events and activities. So don’t forget about us !

  21. mamajen says:

    Yeah, that laziness comment was really, really out of touch. Most parents are lucky to get to bed themselves at a decent hour, and getting a whole bunch of kids up and at ‘em early in the morning is much easier said than done. Not to mention the priests, who in some places manage more than one parish due to mergers. Goodness, this isn’t the Army! If in some places early morning will work, knock yourself out! But to jump to conclusions about people is foolish.

    Many churches in my area have 12:05 masses daily to accommodate working people — they can pop in on their lunch hour. My husband works right near a cathedral and has had the good fortune of being able to attend mass during lunch. He said it took about 20 minutes, so he still had time to eat (he brown bags it).

  22. Priam1184 says:

    I work in the afternoon and evening and don’t generally get to sleep before midnight. 530am would be impossible for me; I’ll be honest 745 or 800 is difficult some days. In days of yore when the schedule of daily life was organized by the sun then I could see where a 500am Mass would be a natural thing, especially when the local church was walking distance from one’s dwelling. But these aren’t those days. The best solution (in my humble opinion and as already offered by others in the combox) is for a group of neighboring parishes to get to together and provide a variety of times for morning Mass so that a Mass will be available for anyone who has the desire to go no matter what their schedule.

  23. memoryman says:

    JamesM is quite wrong .Here in the UK a free pensioner bus pass may be used at any time of the day.Take this from one who knows.

  24. OrthodoxChick says:

    I voted for the first option, but it didn’t quite fit my present circumstance. I do want to go to daily Mass, but there aren’t any that fit my schedule. I don’t work presently, (though I’m available and looking, and will hopefully find something soon). However, I have 4 school-aged children. One takes the bus and the other 3 are car-driven to a Catholic school 2 towns away. The Mass schedule in the area parishes are smack dab in the middle of bus/car times. So, even though I no longer homeschool and don’t work (yet), our family would still need an earlier Mass in order to be able to make daily Mass a part of our lives. But I wouldn’t need to wake with the rooster either! We only have to get 4 kids up and Adam in the morning. If I had to get 6 or 8+ kids up in the a.m., I think my sanity would be at risk in short order. I would never assume that homeschooling families who can’t get to a crack-of-dawn Mass are lazy or undisciplined.

    Since most of the Masses at my area parishes are in the 8am – to 8:30 am range, even just bumping up to 7am or 7:30 might work better for parents of school kids, as well as homeschoolers and commuters.

  25. Priam1184 says:

    @David Zampino: WOW! Kudos to your priest!

  26. MarkG says:

    If it’s a Church or Chapel in a business district with lots of people in walking distance, I think a daily Low Mass at 12:10 (without homily) works best.
    Otherwise, I think it would be best to spread the daily Masses out. Like a morning one day, noon one day, afternoon one day. That way people with different schedules have one or two chances a week to attend and priests aren’t spread so thin. Since everyone has a Internet and/or smart phone these days, it’s not that hard for people to check a schedule that varies before they come.
    Wednesday night at 7pm is a great time to have a Mass, as I’ve noticed that Wednesday night Masses seem to be some of the highest attendance.

  27. djc says:

    Our daily mass is at 8:00 AM Monday thru Saturday and our attendance runs around 50 or so (often times even more). Even this Winter when we had tons of days below zero we still had around 30-35 people there. We occasionally get families with children (homeschoolers) and teens. I think if mass was any earlier we’d lose a lot of the people we get now. If mass was any later too many peoples days have already started and attendance would drop so I think 8:00 is just perfect.

    djc

  28. JonPatrick says:

    I voted the 5 – 7 AM option, although at my parish there is a 7 AM Mass Monday – Friday which is over by 7:35 or so and would work for a lot of working people. Most of the attendees are retirees but I see a few working people there, including a couple Postal Service employees, the main Post Office being only 2 blocks from the Church. During Lent we also had a 12:30 Mass.

  29. pelerin says:

    memoryman is quite wrong! I have had a bus pass for ten years now and in my town in southern England we have to wait until 9am to use them during the week. If it is one minute to nine we are not allowed on and have to wait for the next bus. Elsewhere in the country pensioners have to wait until 9.30 am during the week. I don’t know why my town should be privileged in this way but with high bus fares the concessions are very welcome.

    Regarding Mass times I remember in my first parish there once was a daily Mass at 12.15 which was ideal for attending during a lunch hour. I could leave work at midday, arrive in time for the 12.1Mass and return by 1 o’clock. As someone writes above there seems to be no time which would suit everyone and as most churches here only have one priest he has to make the decision presumably to suit the majority. 10 am seems to be a popular time though it is of course peopled by those retired, on holiday or out of work.

  30. david s says:

    My parish has a great weekday schedule with hard working priests. M-F at 7 am which I attend before work. Also M-F 7:30 pm, which I believe are well attended. Saturday morning Mass is at 8. A neighboring parish covers the noon hour. There are some older/ailing folks who have a hard time getting to the early Mass, especially in winter, who really appreciate the noon Mass.

    By the way, I tend to think of homeschool families as the opposite of lazy and undisciplined!

  31. Joseph-Mary says:

    Our daily Masses are at 6:30am which I attend and at 12:10pm. Confessions after the early Mass and before the noon one.

  32. mimicaterina says:

    Reading this I see how blessed we are where I live (a large metro area). My parishes, and most in the suburbs, have 6:30 a.m. Masses for the commuters. Then there’s 9:00 for retirees and the parish school kids. Then there’s a 12:15 for the lunch break for those who work nearby. Confession is offered every day after all Masses. Downtown parishes have early morning Masses and Mass during the lunch hour.

  33. M. K. says:

    I voted for “No. I would like daily Mass, but I won’t go early.” As others have noted, it does seem rather tone-deaf to assume that “laziness and lack of discipline” are the reason that people can’t get to Mass at 5 or 6 am. As noted, it is difficult for families with children, for people who work late, and for people (like me) who simply are not morning people (and no, this isn’t necessarily something that can be changed through “discipline” or will power – we all have different biorhythms).

    It also bears mentioning that options for daily Mass tend to be more limited the further one goes from large metro areas. At points in my life when I’ve lived in large cities I’ve appreciated having multiple options for daily Mass at noontime and the late afternoon or early evening, which enabled me to get to Mass on my lunch break or after work. However, I’ve also lived in areas where it was impossible to find a daily Mass offered later than 8 am. Faced with this, I wished for the solution suggested by some earlier on the thread, i.e. that parishes in the same locality would coordinate their schedules to offer a broader range of times instead of all having Mass at the same time; if they tried it, they might well see an increase in attendance at daily Mass, as people who liked the earlier times would still have options while people who can’t get to Mass early but would go if it were offered at noon or the evening would also have the ability to do so.

  34. Mike says:

    My work has blessedly carried me recently into the Diocese of Arlington, in which at least one TLM is available (sometimes based on the celebrant’s availability) most weekdays. Old St. Mary’s in Chinatown DC offers a TLM on Friday morning as well.

    While I voted for 5-7 am, I’m grateful to be offered the Mass of the Ages at any hour. I am also grateful to the priests who spend long hours in the confessional on weeknights, particularly one who shall remain unnamed here but who for some reason puts me in mind of St. John Vianney and whom I have accordingly (privately) dubbed the Curé of Del Ray.

  35. Let me offer some thoughts on this…

    1. When you have a daily Mass at any particular time, it’s very hard to justify alienating the people who come, in hopes of attracting those who don’t come. The people who come to an 8 am Mass are not generally going to like moving it earlier, and vice-versa.

    2. A true story. In my first parish as a pastor, I had requests for Mass in Latin. I said, I will gladly offer a daily Mass (OF) in Latin, if there are enough people who say they want it. When I had seven or eight folks tell me they wanted it, I prepared booklets, I put it in the bulletin, explained it all vis-a-vis Vatican II (dealing with misconceptions). I began having OF Mass — in Latin — once a month.

    Most of those who said they wanted rarely or never came.

    I stuck with it. I’m pretty sure my successor put an end to it.

    And for those who say, you should have done EF, this was before Pope Benedict’s sweeping permission, and I figured this would be a good stepping stone.

    3. I’d bet that if you had a group of people who went to the priest and said, we’ll show up at 6 am. To prove it, we’d like to start having time just to pray in church. If you give us a key, we’ll let ourselves in. Show us how to turn on the lights, etc. If we can get X number on a regular basis, will you consider having Mass for us? (Then pray that hour each day for the priest and the knots he has to untie!)

    A gracious request that demonstrates good faith will go a long way.

  36. Will D. says:

    I just checked daily mass times for Colorado Springs at masstimes.org. The earliest mass is at 0630, at one parish. Three parishes at 0700, one at 0730, seven at 0800 (including one TLM three days a week.). Five parishes between 0800 and 1000, three just after noon. One at 1730, and two at 1800 (one is a TLM, twice a week).
    Now a rural area won’t be so lucky, but here, there’s plenty of options to accommodate various schedules. Me, I’m not a morning person, so I favor the nearest noon mass unless my schedule dictates otherwise.
    And as for the lazy, undisciplined remark: remember, some people are just getting off work when you’re getting out of bed early in the morning. I used be one of them.

  37. capchoirgirl says:

    My parish offers a 7 AM every day of the week and 1145 M-F. It’s a downtown parish so that means quite a few people can go on their lunch hour, or go to the cathedral, which has a 1215 Mass during the week.
    I do see many other parishes in my diocese, however, that only offer 800/830 Mass or “prayer time”, if the priest can’t offer a daily Mass every day of the week. I think 700 is much better than this? If you can’t get to Mass at lunch, a 700 usually allows one to get to Mass before reporting at the office?(Unless you’re a teacher).

  38. vetusta ecclesia says:

    Those NO woolly”rubrics” often have the get-out clause that the priest can re-arrange e.g. the Easter Vigil “for pastoral reasons”. This usually means “for the convenience and comfort of the pastor”.

  39. slainewe says:

    It seems to me that those who CAN attend daily Mass, no matter how “inconvenient” it is for them (“Lord, forgive us our outrageous ingratitude!”) should have compassion on those who CANNOT attend because of work and school.

    In these culture wars, Catholics in the workplace and in the classroom are on the front lines. Who needs the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Confession, and the Blessed Sacrament more than they do?

    I cannot think of a better way to exclude the mass majority of these foot soldiers of Christ than to schedule an 8:00 AM Mass.

  40. abasham says:

    Its hard to judge whether this person has a valid point because I don’t know what sort of environment he lives in. Where I live, in a suburban environment, I actually run into the opposite problem…we have two daily masses, one at 6:30 and one at 9:00, which I think is good for the early and late risers. Sometimes I can make the 6:30 mass if I go into work late, but due to my commute I’m usually on the road by 5:45. One thing I miss about living in a city is that its easier to find a Mass during the lunch break around 12 or 1.

    Personally, I would prefer to go to Mass in the evening, as a close to my day. When I lived in London I could walk home from work in time for evening Mass at St James Spanish Place. That was the ideal set up for me.

    For that reason I selected “would like daily mass, but won’t go early.”

  41. JohnE says:

    We used to have two daily masses — one at 6:30am and one at 8:30am, but the 6:30am would often be a communion service. Now we just have the 8:30am mass, but we have a noon mass during Advent and Lent. I prefer Mass for a short duration rather than ongoing sometimes-Mass/sometimes-CS.

  42. The one important point that no one made just yet is that canon law (905) restricts a priest to one Mass per day, though a bishop can grant faculties to offer additional Masses. Offering multiple Masses is definitely not supposed to be the norm, though in many specific situations it has, in fact, become routine on account of a lack of priests. We do have to cut some slack to priests who serve alone or even cover multiple parishes.

    In my area, what bothers me is that daily Mass seems to be geared toward retirees and school children (when the parish still has a school), which means lots of 9 AM Masses. In my travels, I noticed that in the Midwest, Mass tends to be earlier, which makes it easier to go before work (but harder for a traveller who might want to sleep a bit late on his vacation). I definitely don’t think that daily Mass is something only for the retired, those in the adjacent school, and those with nothing else to do. My personal preference is between 7:45 AM and 8:30 AM, which allows me to go even if it means I have to travel to my work destination (which varies) before Mass. But after that is hard, and even lunch time or late afternoon is tough as I can’t always stop what I’m doing at a given time.

    The other reality here is that most pastors won’t touch the daily Mass schedule if it means annoying those who are already there as these are most likely people who are influential in the parish, spiritually and financially.

    If I have to take one of the four offered choices, I guess #2 describes me. Hopefully, some day we will all have personal transporters that will beam us to a Mass at a convenient time somewhere in the world, and in the narthex will be transporters that will put us back where we belong afterward.

  43. Traductora says:

    I think it should depend on the parish and its demands. We have plenty of priests, and we should have a noon mass for visitors or people who work nearby (I live in a tourist town). We used to have an 8:00 am, which was attended by National Guard people, homeschoolers and even families who go to the parish school which is only a couple of blocks away. The mass was usually served by kids from the school.

    Then we got a pastor who essentially hated the morning mass and moved it to 7:00 am because he thought nobody would attend. He was partially right; about half of the earlier attendees couldn’t make it, and most of the attendees now are elderly people who neither work nor have to worry about school or children. And the children from the school no longer serve mass.

    That’s obviously different in other parishes, which is why I say it should depend on the situation of the particular parish. Also, why, since we have 4 priests, can we not have more than one weekday mass?

  44. Imrahil says:

    I’ll just throw in, as an annotation, that if we do speak of retirees, they are mostly elderly people and elderly people tend to get up early anyway…

    and I’ll step right back out of the discussion.

  45. Moro says:

    8:30 or 9AM are the absolute worst times but also seem to be the most common for daily mass. Noon masses are tough for working people, but still a better option than 9AM. Why not more daily masses in the evening? In reality, I think that parishes in a given geographic area should work together to ensure mass is available early, perhaps at noon, and then in the evening. Parishes with schools could have one at a time consistent with the school day. But please Father just like confession, the people in the world fighting the daily battle in the secular world are just as important if not more so as your homeschoolers, stay at home moms, and retirees. Remember us when you plan your liturgical schedules

  46. Moro says:

    slainewe – bingo! my thoughts exactly

  47. APX says:

    I agree with slainewe. It’s the workers and students who really need the graces from daily Mass and receiving communion each day to make it through the day as virtuously as possible. I’m not buying the “it’s too hard” excuse with children. My dad used to serve Mass when he was 8 at 6:00 am, which meant he had to be there by 5:30 am. He tells me it was 5 miles on a gravel road out of town to village where the church was which he either biked when there was no snow or walked if it was winter, even if it was one of those blistery cold winter days on the prairies.

    Large families and daily Mass was the norm up until recent. The difference was Mass was seen as a priority and not just some nice pious thing to do if there’s time in the day. How many families are more than willing to wake up at 5:00 am for 6:00 am hockey practice/figure skating lessons? We can’t wake up our children early for Mass because it’s too hard, but if it’s getting up early to drive to the mountains to go skiing, it’s not an issue?!

    Vocation directors tell people are who discerning to go to daily Mass to help in their discernment, yet daily Mass is offered at a time when they’re either at work or at school. How is that helping to replenish vocations?

    We should all love the Mass so much that we should thirst for it. Our ancestors risked persecution, even death, to be able to take part in Mass. It should be the highlight of our day, and as we prepare to go to bed each night, we should be eager to get up and go to Mass the next morning. Parents need to teach their children to love the Mass and see it as their means to becomes saints. Priests need to preach on the benefits of daily Mass and our need to become saints in this life. Such a wonderful gift that was given to us, yet we squander it.

    If there is more than one priest, then I don’t see why there can’t be an early morning Mass. If priests aren’t morning persons, then why not rotate each day or week? If priests should be saying Mass every day anyways, and if they’re not, this would be a good way to start getting them too. We have one daily Mass each day, yet we have two priests, one of whom says Mass privately early in the morning. Why not make it public and pass on the graces?

  48. novus ordo seminarian_76 says:

    Most parish daily masses I have attended take about 30 minutes or so for the priest to reverently celebrate with a brief homily-40 minutes or so in some seminaries due to obvious factors. In my diocese there is only one parish (that I am aware of) that celebrates the Traditional Latin mass daily. I for one would love an opportunity to attend the 1962 mass during weekdays on a more regular basis. Most Low masses I have attended celebrated by parish priests take a full hour. To have even a low mass on a weekday and still allow time for many catholics to get to work in time, the low mass would necessarily need to be offered earlier than most 2002 roman missal masses. Whereever we hear of parishes being established that are fully or in part dedicated to the 1962 missal, I think catholics will simultaneously see mass times scheduled earlier.

  49. acardnal says:

    When I lived in the diocese of Arlington (VA), I was able to attend a 6:15 AM or a 6:30 AM Mass before work. Of course, Arlington is blessed with an abundance of priests and most parishes have two. So the second priest would celebrate an 8 AM and if there was a third he would celebrate a noon Mass. I think it would be nice for priests to consider offering an evening Mass, too. I realize many dioceses are not so blessed with a plenitude of priests so one Mass per day is the norm there
    . . . like the diocese I live in now in the mid-west. We must pray for vocations daily!

  50. Ed the Roman says:

    No choices fit me well. We have a 6:30 and an 8:30. When my son leaves the parish school (and therefore takes a bus) the 630 will become an option for me, but not now. 8:30 is too late, full stop, and I am not going to awaken my son early enough for me to go to 6:30.

  51. LeeF says:

    Many parishes also vary the times during the week, like with an earlyish morning Mass a couple days and then a noon or evening Mass other days. And noon Masses in downtown areas which draw business folk and home schoolers as well as the elderly, also seem popular. Another unfortunate common occurrence is no early/noon Mass on Saturdays, with only a late afternoon/evening vigil.

    The problem with the otherwise good suggestion to have neighboring pastors coordinate (same could be said for confession times), is that in rural areas or the far suburbs, the nearest parish might not actually be that close. Even closer in given the priest shortages experienced by most dioceses, many parishes are part of a cluster, which makes the nearest parish with a different parish all the further away.

    We are in a chicken/egg situation. Children attending daily Mass with parents surely has to help vocations. But without vocations there aren’t enough priests to offer more daily Masses. The devil has to love that.

  52. Imrahil says:

    Another thing, slightly OT:

    in the morning, Fathers, no homily please.

    And: St. Alphonsus once treated among the rules for priests about saying Mass that “it should take about half an hour”. Now I don’t mind it to be longer for the Sunday, for obvious reasons, or on other circumstances, but otherwise… half an hour. For the TLM, without calculating the second reading of Epistle and Gospel.

    (I know of a Church where the TLM sometimes takes, or took, slightly more than 20 minutes on weekdays; but they were, as you might guess, not exemplary w.r.t. celebratory style.)

  53. Imrahil says:

    Dear Random Friar,

    that’s not early but late.

  54. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Early Mass: If you schedule it, they won’t come (no matter what they say beforehand).

    Among those working folks who would consider daily Mass, the biggest obstacle is knowing that most priests treat most daily Masses as if they are Sunday Masses during the week: entrance hymns, longish homilies, lots of intercessions, Communion under both species, exit hymns, and sometimes even announcements. Good grief.

    Keep it notably shorter, no matter what the time, and they will come.

  55. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    One other thing. In many communities, you might have 5 parishes within five miles of each other. And they all scheudle morning Mass for 8 AM. That’s goofy. Would it be so hard for them to sit down, and decide: daily Mass at Parish A (6: 30 AM); Parishes B and C (7 AM); Parish D (7:30 AM) and Parish E (8 AM)?

  56. anachy says:

    Random Friar, you beat me to the punch. I was going to mention that middle-of-the-night Mass that Pittsburgh used to have. A priest friend of mine told me that he sometimes attended it when he was young, and that many factory workers getting off their shifts would attend. I always thought that was a splendid idea. Fr. D’Amico’s revival of that 2:30 a.m. Mass couldn’t have lasted long as he transferred from Church of the Epiphany, a gorgeous old church, in Pittsburgh to a parish in a different county a few years ago. There is no 2:30 a.m. Mass at Epiphany now, so it probably ended when Fr. D’Amico left. I rather doubt that other priests were eager to take it over at that hour.

  57. Of Dr. Peters’ two comments, the second is spot-on. The two nearest parishes to my office both have 9 AM Masses (though one also has a 7 AM Mass). If one of them had an 8 or an 8:30 AM Mass, I could put that on my schedule, but instead, both are used only rarely. I really see no good excuse for the woeful lack of coordination among neighboring parishes.

    I have not found that daily Mass in my area is particularly long; 25-35 minutes is typical. What can be frustrating, though, is inconsistency. If someone has to get to work, getting hit with a school Mass running an hour when it usually runs half an hour is a problem. Having the “fast priest” who finishes in twenty minutes one day and the “slow priest” who takes 40 minutes can also be a problem. If a funeral mass is offered in place of the regular daily Mass, that is also a troublesome surprise. I do have daily responsibilities (which are not evil) other than getting to Mass, so these things do matter.

    By the way, when I was incapacitated by my bad knee and unable to attend daily Mass on account of being more or less unable to walk (much less genuflect or kneel), I located two daily Masses that are available for download on Internet at any time. One is offered by the Archdiocese of Hartford, and the other is offered by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The former is offered in a studio setting, which I found not particularly edifying, and the latter is recorded at the beautiful cathedral in New Orleans; I did sort of prefer that. Those who are unable to get to daily Mass for whatever reason might consider making some time to view one of these or any others that no doubt are available.

  58. Traductora says:

    anachy, in NYC, where I grew up, we had something called the “printers’ mass.” It was around 4:00 am in certain areas where newspapers were printed, and it was for the printers getting off their shifts at that time.

    We need to go back to having the mass at the right time for people in a particular place. And we have to go back to having priests say mass every day and having more than one mass a day in a church. There’s no reason a church with 4 priests shouldn’t have 4 masses (who cares how many people come?).

  59. kimberley jean says:

    I don’t understand what the homeschoolers have to do with anything. Are they the only people with power in this parish? Is there some kind of rule that small children have to be present at every Mass offered in this parish? Is this the city, suburbs or country? What are the demographics?

  60. APX says:

    I would go to Mass at 0230 hrs. Does that mean one is relieved from reciting Matins, or does only apply to Easter Vigil?

  61. Random Friar says:

    I will sometimes say Mass for a cloistered community. Once in a while, I get a layperson complain that the daily Mass takes too long (it’s always 30-35 minutes). I did have to tell her that the Mass was for the nuns first, and they had a more monastic rhythm — they specifically asked for a little longer homily, a slower pace, etc.

  62. jhayes says:

    When I was an altar server for weekday Masses in the pre-Vatican II days, the Mass could be over in 15 minutes. With the Latin memorized, we could get through a lot of words very quickly – and there were no weekday homilies in those days.

  63. dominic1955 says:

    5 to 6 am is crazy early and those who think a homeschooling family is “lazy” because they cannot make that happen is simply unrealistic.

    I always looked to the monastics for a sane way to handle the sanctification of the hours, since they are the ones who do the Divine Office in choir daily. If you look at Clear Creek’s Horarium, you’ve got Low Masses at 6:50-a much more reasonable time precisely because YOU SHOULD DO MATINS AND LAUDS FIRST!

    This is what a number of people do not understand because they have no sense of the other major liturgy of the Church besides Mass, i.e. the Divine Office. Just when is the priest supposed to do Matins/Lauds? You can say Matins the day before, but its really not ideal time wise.

    No, I think a 7am daily Mass is plenty early. That is our daily Mass time, along with a late afternoon, a noon and an eleven o’clock, each once a week. I think this is a reasonable schedule.

    Plus, I don’t think the spigots of salvation are turned off to those who cannot all crowd around a TLM parish. I know people who went to early TLM practically every day who have fallen away and those who went to Sunday and maybe a daily Mass once or twice a year who are fervent Catholics. You make due with what you have and are able to do.

  64. jflare says:

    Ah, well, I guess I can say this much: Given my current job, it’s not all that uncommon for me to be up until 3 or 4 AM from the night before. In this situation, I’d be willing to consider attending 5 AM Mass before I go to bed for the night; 8:00 simply makes me either stay awake entirely too long or else get entirely too little sleep.

    If anything, I’d be much happier if either my parish or the FSSP parish could offer Mass either in English or in the traditional rite at around 1 PM on Sunday. That would allow me to get home from work, get a decent night’s sleep, get to Mass, then go back to work again on Sunday night. Then again, I obviously have rather an oddball schedule.

    I don’t think there’s any ideal hour for everyone, but I would agree with a comment I saw regarding 0500 being too early for homeschoolers. I can’t see being up at 3 or 4 AM for a family as a practical approach. Too much of our societal culture doesn’t do anything before about 7 AM for this to be practical.

  65. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I’ve mentioned it before… but airport Masses said by a trained priest (in English) last a prayerful 10-15 minutes, including a homily. (A really pithy direct challenging homily, when I’ve gone to them.) Part of it is that the chapels are tiny and Father reads all the readings; but mostly it’s that the priest moves and reads very smoothly and efficiently. You don’t have to leave anything out.

  66. jflare says:

    Just read an interesting point about the homily for a weekday Mass. I’ve long wondered how a priest could get anything accomplished if he had to dedicate time to writing a homily for every day of the week. Writing anything can be quite time-consuming. I’d think a priest would want to dedicate time to prayer or other needs, not to speeches.
    Providing a good, solid homily for Sunday only strikes me as the best solution.
    … And not too long for that one either, please!

  67. Supertradmum says:

    Well, living in an area where all the priests have between three and five parishes to serve, daily Masses vary on purpose to accommodate most people. These times are anywhere from 8 am to 10 to 5:30. Rural.

    Those who live in cities where there are many masses from which to choose, please pray for us who cannot get to daily mass at all because of huge distances and no public transport.

  68. Stephen Matthew says:

    At least since the relaxation of the fasting rules there has been a long custom of noon time masses in the central parishes of many cities and town to allow workers to attend mass on lunch break.

    My home parish had 7:00 am and 12:00 noon masses Monday – Friday for many, many years to try to accomodate various types of schedules.

    Now however, there seems to be a renewed emphasis on priests only scheduling one regular mass on a weekday, so this is no longer possible. On that note, while weekday bination is allowable for pastoral needs, is it not generally impermissible to say three masses on a weekeday? I should think that would only ever happen in case of some dire necessity.

  69. Matt R says:

    Fr. Leger at Guardian Angels in Louisville moved the T-F Mass in the usus antiquior, which I serve when I am at home, back 15 minutes to 6:45 AM (a goofy time, I know) so more students could come but without making it so early that families driving from 35 minutes away could still make it. The congregation has doubled and sometimes tripled from 7 to 14 or 21.

  70. Gail F says:

    “Personally, I think this is laziness and a lack of discipline, and should not be an excuse to have daily Mass later in the day.” Personally, I think this person should mind his own business — he (could be a she, of course) asked people why they could not make an earlier Mass and they told him. The fact that their answers do not jibe with some ideal, better plan for their lives that exists in his head does not, apparently, sway him from his chosen course. If this is how he approaches his fellow parishioners, I predict that a plan he heads will not have many adherents.

  71. Gail F says:

    Also, Dr. Peters is right! Short! When I was in college I used to go to daily Mass at 4 pm with all the old ladies. Half an hour tops — with homily. No music, all the prayers spoken. It was great.

  72. JesusFreak84 says:

    I’d be more of a 7PM Daily Mass person. And yes, I know that’s after sunset depending on location and time of year =-S

  73. Blackfriar says:

    It’s not very relevant to most of your readers, but here on the outskirts of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea we have Mass at 6.40am M-F and 7am Sat. Within walking distance there are masses at 6.30, 6.45 and 8am … we generally like it early in the tropics! -Martin OP

  74. Connor Keef says:

    Now, granted, I am a college student, but I voted for the Like Daily mass but not early option. My parish has a 5:15pm mass three days a week and the attendance at this masses is much better than the 8:00am masses. School-aged children can make it, it is late enough for people to stop off after work, and most college students are finished with classes. I personally think evening is the best time to schedule a daily mass, but the noon masses are pretty good as well.

  75. Stephen Matthew says:

    Contra Dr. Peters (and I am very hesitant to counter him in even the slightest way), I find brevity to be at best a mixed blessing for weekday masses. If I must re-arrange my daily schedule, and even alter my entire circadian rhythm, and travel a good bit out of the way to make it to a daily mass, I would be willing to give up a few extra minutes once I get there. For my part, it is more difficult to justify going to all the trouble when I know what I will experience is going to be rushed and sloppy, rubricly questionable, and generally aesthetically uninspiring (subjectively speaking). Would it truly kill people if we actually had a reverent and dignified celebration of the Eucharist that was driven by some consideration other than being as fast as humanely possible?

  76. mrshopey says:

    I think where we are, the Mass that is early (7am) is for those working out of the home. The one at (8am) is for our GREAT retired community. I say great because our elders should get credit for giving us an example of being faithful.
    That said, at our last parish it was at 8:30 in morn 3 days a week w the other two being at night/evening.
    I would love to make it to the 8am but there is no way to do it on time bc of traffic!

  77. Doug R says:

    The parishes in our area have them at different times to accommodate different schedules. My home Parish has an 8:00AM (when one of the retired priests does it) or an 8:05AM (when our Parish priest does it). I tend to go to the 6:30AM at a neighboring Parish. I wish I could find a 6:00AM, but I’d have to drive far enough to do one that the advantage of the earlier time would be mostly cancelled out.

  78. Uxixu says:

    Would seem that the Diocese would be the logical body to coordinate different parishes offering different coverages to ensure wider availability to the reasonable extent that it’s possible. I wouldn’t really expect (m)any morning Masses before 6:00am or much after 9:00am.

    My home parish does two daily Masses, one at 8:00 and the other at 5:30pm. I can attend neither due to work. My work schedule did shift from 9-6 for awhile and the 8 ran almost 50 minutes which made me late a couple times I tried. They did “the works” as mentioned above with opening and closing hymns, invocations and intentions, sign of peace, homily, etc and Communion in both species took much longer than I would have expected with 4-5 EMHC in addition to Father and a deacon. I would guess about 50 people.

    I found a parish closer to my work that runs a very reverent NO at 8:00am from a wonderful Norbertine priest. It’s NO but ad orientem, one male server vested in cassock and surplice. Father does both readings himself and only rarely did a homily, though. Usually about 20-30 parishioners and over by 8:35 with Communion only in Body kneeling and on tongue. No hymns at all, no invocations, no glad handing. Every now and then there was an additional ceremony (the blessing of the throats for the Feast of Saint Blaise, etc). Always do confession before Mass. Wonderful experience and I much prefer no hymns to protestant sounding non-Chant/polyphony .

    My schedule shift back, though, so I’m back to rarely attending daily so trying to substitute more private devotions and plotting to budget out that Baronius Breviary. I would love a 6:30am Low Mass in the EF at home parish but even an NO celebrated without the works would do.

  79. Aspie says:

    I think early mass is better than later mass because I personally love to eat in between meals and don’t have a watch to check the time. I used to skip later masses a lot because I wasn’t sure if I’d fasted long enough to receive the Eucharist. Daily mass isn’t a full hour and I have to guess how long mass would be. With early morning mass I don’t have this problem because there is no time to eat.