QUAERITUR: Can priests say 3 Masses on both 2 and 3 November?

A priest reader asks:

I have always said all three Masses on All Souls day.  This year it will happen on Nov.2 for the OF  and on Nov. 3 for the EF. I am inclined to say all three Masses on both days.  Our diocese has ruled that the Saturday night Mass be for All Souls day.  I will have two morning OF Masses on Nov.2  which will be for all souls day, and I have the EF Mass in the afternoon on Nov. 2 which needs to be 25th SUN after Pentecost.   Interesting?


Yes… interesting!

This year All Souls falls on a Sunday.  In the Ordinary Form, All Souls bumps the Sunday.  In the Extraordinary Form’s calendar, the Sunday bumps All Souls to Monday 3 November.

So, we Latin priests of the Roman Rite have two All Souls this year. 

Given that Holy Church says we have two Uses of one Roman Rite, and we can use the Roman Rite when we want, and since Canon Law says we can say three Masses on All Souls, and since we only keep one stipend on All Souls, and since we interpret law in the Church in a way that favors us, yes… I think we can say three Masses on both 2 and 3 November.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, Mail from priests. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Yes, that is the way I would read it, too. It is the logical consequence of having two calendars. The law which allows a priest of the Latin rite to celebrate three Masses on All Souls Day applies to both calendars.

  2. Sue Sims says:

    I really need to find out what we should do in the UK, where the Bishops have pushed All Saints on to the Sunday. In our (NO) Latin Mass, we were going to sing part of the Requiem, but now, presumably, can’t. Any suggestions as to how we can remind people of All Souls on All Saints?

  3. josephus muris saliensis says:

    Yes, in silly England we get two All Saints days, so the All Souls date is common to both forms, which has its advantages!

    Do not forget to remind your Faithful about the plenary indulgence for the week following All Souls.

  4. Fr. BJ says:

    So on both Sunday and Monday I can say three Masses, even if all of the Masses are Ordinary Form? (As I am not yet proficient in the Extraordinary Form?)

    If so, wouldn’t this raise the question why we couldn’t pick which feast (OF calendar of EF calendar) we were going to observe on a given day, regardless of which Use we used for the actual celebration of the Mass?

  5. “In our (NO) Latin Mass, we were going to sing part of the Requiem, but now, presumably, can’t.”

    You do later have Remembrance Sunday though right? With an indult to sing Requiems on that Sunday.

  6. P says:

    Sue: its not that way in the UK, only in England and Wales (I’m not sure about Northern Ireland). Here in Scotland All Souls Day falls on the Sunday and All Saints falls on the Saturday but isn’t of Obligation. That leaves us wondering what Mass to celebrate on Saturday night but the Sunday is clearly All Souls Day here. On the other hand in Scotland there is no tradition of Remembrance Sunday Masses.

  7. Rellis says:

    But didn’t Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos ask that when this happens, the O.F. calendar win the rock-paper-scissors as a sign on unity? I think he said it in relation to the Assumption Thursday Mass getting moved to Sunday.

    If that doesn’t apply, why not?

  8. Bryan says:

    Fr. BJ:
    My interpretation would lead me to believe that one couldn’t celebrate three Masses of the Ordinary Form on each day. The Holy Father has liberated the use of the Extraordinary Form as a second form of the one Roman Rite. It should follow, therefore, that the Ordinary Form calendar and the Extraordinary Form calendar are different forms of the same Roman Rite. It may not be appropriate to co-mingle the Rites by celebrating Ordinary Form Masses according to the Extraordinary Form calendar. Canonists, liturgists, Fr. Z? Thoughts?

  9. Rellis: Win out? On both the OF and the EF calendar, the Assumption (August 15) was on Friday this near, so there was no conflict. If you meant the Ascension, it is on Thursday on the EF calendar, but in the U.S. (though not in the Vatican) its OF observance was transferred to the following Sunday in the U.S. this year.

    At any rate, in the U.S., All Souls is on Sunday, Nov. 2 on the OF calendar, but on the EF calendar is transferred to Monday, Nov. 3 this year. So \”two\” All Souls Days this year.

    Of course, there are a good number of feast days that are celebrated on different calendar days in th EF and OF calendars. For instance, this month we commemorated St. Therese on Oct. 1 (OF) and Oct. 3 (EF).

    But surely, on any given feast day by whichever calendar, it would be celebrated in the form corresponding to that calendar. Wouldn’t it?

  10. Geoffrey says:

    As a layman, I am trying to figure out how to say the Liturgy of the Hours on “All Souls Sunday”! I am getting conflicting reports everywhere I look!

  11. ED says:

    This law is totally ignored in the Ordinary Rite where i have seen priests say 4 masses on sunday

  12. A Random Friar says:

    Geoffrey: By default, the Office is taken entirely from the Sunday for that day (31st Sunday in OT). It is, however, allowed to say the Office for the Dead for Lauds and Vespers, when “celebrated with the people.” So I take that to mean that if privately, say the Sunday office. At least that’s the post-conciliar breviary.

    Note that this does not preclude singing the Dies Irae as a hymn, if you wish.

  13. A Random Friar says:

    ED: It could be that the law is ignored, but a priest may lawfully say 4 Masses on Sunday, with permission of his ordinary. Not recommended, by any means, but it may be permitted by the bishop.

  14. Jayna says:

    ED: One of my priests had to say six Masses last Sunday. Four at our church (he is the only priest in the parish at the moment as both our pastor and the other parochial vicar are out of town), and then he had to go do two more at two other churches. He’s been doing both of the daily Masses as well for the past two weeks. Add confession on top of that, house calls, and whatever else he could possibly have time to do. I get tired just looking at him these days.

  15. Paul Madrid says:

    Canon law only allows the local Ordinary to permit trination, and then only on Holy Days and Sundays. CIC can. 905 § 2. Apart from a special privilege from the Holy See, on what authority can a priest say four to six masses in a day?

  16. P says:

    Paul Madrid: A priest could say more Masses if the bishop dispensed him from c.905-2. If all the Masses are truly necessary and there is no way those people could get to Mass then pastoral necessity could excuse him – if he is saying six Masses in a half-empty church then that’s another issue, although it could still be truly necessary if the work of those people prevented them from getting to Mass at another time.

  17. Jayna says:

    No Sunday Mass in my parish is ever half-empty. We have a few thousand parishioners, so all the Masses offered are necessary. The reason he had to do the other two is because he’s a Spanish speaking priest and when any other parish has theirs go out of town, they have to have one come in to do the Spanish Mass. There are some pretty serious extenuating circumstances in our parish, so the archbishop, I would assume, gave him permission.

    I almost think he’s grateful for it, even though he is dead tired. He doesn’t have any family in this country as far as I know, and with the only other two priests gone and all that’s been going on in the parish, it’s keeping him occupied and not dwelling on everything.

  18. Ken says:

    Vespers, according to the FSSP Ordo:

    10/31: 1st vespers of All Saints
    11/1: 2nd vespers of All Saints w/ commemoration of 1st vespers of the 4th Resumed Sunday after Epiphany
    11/2: 2nd vespers of the 4th Resumed Sunday after Epiphany
    11/3: Vespers of All Souls

  19. Mairead says:

    P, I am also disappointed that here in Scotland All Saints day is not a Holyday of Obligation. However in my Parish we do have a Remembrance Day Mass and it is well attended by all the uniformed youth groups in the Parish eg Scouts,Guides etc

  20. P,
    There is only one hierarchy for the whole of Ireland. The political entity known as Northern Ireland was created in 1920. A number of dioceses, including the primatial one of Armagh, straddle both parts of the country.

    Here in the Philippines the Ordo says that Evening Prayer II of the solemnity is to be prayed on All Saints’ Day. And since All Saints’ Day outranks All Souls’ Day I would take that to mean that Mass on Saturday evening should be that of All Saints’ Day.
    However, in popular piety here in the Philippines, people observe November 1 as the day for visiting cemeteries and that’s the day in most places when graves are blessed. Along with Good Friday, All Saints’ Day is the only day in the Philippines when everything shuts down.

  21. Father Totton says:

    A question for those in the know. Regarding the Ordo of the the N.O. Since All Saints falls on Saturday this year, may I use that Mass in the Evening for the “Sunday Vigil” this year, despite the fact that I am required to use the mass of All Souls on Sunday?

    In other words, when such a situation occurs, what is the most appropriate action? I really don’t know the answer to this one.

    – Puzzled!

  22. Mary says:

    Fr. Z I would like to thank you for informing me that All Souls trumps the Sunday Mass this year. My pastor thought I was crazy at first and then they checked the ordo and I and you were right. :) If Fr. Z or anyone could answer this question, in one of our guide/source books for liturgy, it mentioned that no Gloria or creed is to be said for All Souls, however the ordo said to say a creed. It also mentioned that 3 Mass could be said by one priests. Our priests laughed as that often becomes the case for them on a Sunday. We were curious as to why no creed would be said. Thanks!

Comments are closed.