ASK FATHER: TLM of “anticipation” on Saturday evening

Mass_ConsecrationFrom a priest…


Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf in Christ,

A blessed Eastertide to you. I hope you are well.

Although I’ve been offering the Extraordinary Form almost exclusively (unless I’m called upon to offer an NO Mass in some parish), I’m unclear about the rules for EF Mass of Anticipation.

After what time must I offer the Sunday Mass – or may I offer a “Mass of BVM on Saturday” around 7:00 pm or so?

I greatly appreciate your help with this and my previous questions. God’s blessings for you and your work.

In Christ and His Sorrowful Mother,…

A priest can now say a Traditional Mass at, say, 7 PM.  That’s not a problem, even though waaaay back in the day it wasn’t common.  As a matter of fact, I think that it was not allowed, once upon a time, for Mass to begin after noon.  If memory serves, Pius XII allowed for evening Masses for people who had to work in the morning.  Moreover, way back, there were’t electric lights in the church and in the streets and paths to church.  But I digress.  Back when, for evening Masses, the texts of that same day were used, not of the next day.

A traditional Mass celebrated at 7 PM on a Saturday evening would still use the texts of the Saturday, whatever it was.

Also, no matter which texts were used for the Mass on Saturday evening, participation at that Mass would fulfill the Sunday obligation.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Steve L. says:

    This matter has been covered before. Fr. Z., is there some development in your thinking on this matter? (I recently looked these up in another context.)

    2008: QUAERITUR: Does a TLM on Saturday evening fulfill a Sunday obligation?
    “I suppose you would use the Sunday texts on the Saturday evening if you are intending that people satisfy their obligation with that particular Mass.”

    2011: QUAERITUR: Extraordinary Form “vigil” Mass on Saturday afternoon or evening?
    “While I am unaware that the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei‘ has yet ruled on this, I suspect… suspect, mind you, that it would be permissible to use the Sunday texts on a Saturday afternoon, since the liturgical day can be reckoned to begin on the afternoon before the feast or Sunday.”

    [I suppose there is some development in my thinking, and also not really.  I’ve never been certain about this matter and I don’t recall that there has been an official response about it.  Correct me if I am wrong.  At the same time, this isn’t an issue I spend much time thinking about. I can’t get worked up over which Mass texts are used on a Saturday evening TLM (“OH NO! Father honored the Blessed Virgin on Saturday evening rather than saying the Sunday texts! WOE and more WOE!” Therefore, the person, in high dudgeon, makes a bee line to the sacristy and accuses Father of some sort of “abuse”… rather than thanking him for celebrating the beautiful and reverent Mass he just heard, in fulfillment of his Sunday obligation). The notion of an “anticipated Sunday Mass” is, in this context, an odd critter. Perhaps this is where the idea of “mutual enrichment” can play a role. “Mutual” means just that, right? If we, rightly, want the older form to enrich the newer, through the reintroduction of elements lost and through a deepened ars celebrandi, so too we can see as helpful the introduction of more recent feasts into the older calendar and we can provide more leeway with the Mass texts when it comes to a Saturday evening Mass.]

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  3. hwriggles4 says:

    This is a good question. In college, I found that MANY Catholic Student Centers have Sunday evening Masses between 5 pm and 7 pm, and some as late as 10 pm. Good priests have said that as long as Mass is said between 12:01 AM and 11:59 PM on Sunday, that’s fine. Frankly, I was head usher at the 5:30 pm Sunday Mass at my college, and that time worked out well.

    My neighboring diocese (Fort Worth) does a TLM on Sunday at 5:30 pm at a parish close to downtown, with Rosary and Confessions before the Mass. Many parishes in my diocese have Sunday Masses between 5pm and 7:30 pm, and a good priest in Greenville has his latest Sunday Mass at 8 pm.

    By the way, I was out of town this weekend for a funeral, and spent time with Protestant relatives. I am attending 5:30 pm Mass tonight in my home diocese, because I was unable to make Mass earlier today.

    [Or course, this is about the Extraordinary Form.]

  4. JohnMa says:

    I only know of one parish that regularly offers an “anticipated” Sunday Mass on Saturday Evening – Mater Ecclesiae.

  5. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Okay. (Or as the current oratorical practice has it, “So…”). Please do not feel that I am being strident here, but my first reaction to this post was “O, you young uns!” who do not remember a time when the extra Holy Day Mass was offered at 5.30 A.M. to accommodate those who had to work. (Could you imagine nowadays scheduling Mass at 5.30 in the morning to make sure that Joe Mekanic would have the opportunity to go to Mass?) For those of us who lived through it, allowing the practice of offering anticipated Masses on a Saturday evening was a *BIG DEAL* when it became common practice around 1970 or so in the U.S. But even before that it was a “BIG DEAL” when it was first permitted to begin Mass after 12.00 noon. Although I do not know the exact timeline of these allowances to celebrate Mass other than on the morning of the day of the feast, this all occurred within living memory. I do recall, however, that the common practice of offering Sunday evening Mass and then Saturday evening anticipated Mass accompanied all of the other dizzying, liberalising innovations of the post-Vatican II liturgical tornado and it all seemed like a puerile concession to the 1960’s unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own life. To this day, I have a very difficult time not associating evening Masses on any day with the taste of gall.

  6. hwriggles4 says:

    I don’t see any reason why a TLM (Extraordinary Form = maybe I should initial EF instead of TLM, when I say TLM, I mean Extraprdinary Form, i.e. Traditional Latin Mass ) could NOT be offered on Saturday evening, provided it is after 4:00 pm. I’m told that in the Novus Ordo that an “anticipated Sunday ” Mass should be after 4:00 pm, and most parishes I am familiar with do not offer a Saturday evening Mass until 5:00 pm, 5:30 pm, or even 7:00 pm.

    The Anglican Ordinariate parish that I sometimes attend does have an “anticipated Sunday” Mass at 5:00 pm on Saturday evening, so a 7:00 pm Saturday evening Mass in the Extraordinary Form makes sense.

  7. leftycbd says:


    I grew up in South Jersey, just across the river from Philadelphia. I remember, in the early 70s, as a child, our church being filled to the gills for the two Saturday night masses. This was because Cardinal Krol had not yet allowed Saturday night masses, and we had a lot of folks from Philly join us. My dad told me that Cardinal Krol was the last bishop in tbe US to allow Saturday vigil masses, and may have been the last in the world to do so.

    In any case, the number attending our two Saturday evening masses decreased dramatically when they finally did start such masses in Philly, and my childhood parish eventually dropped one of the masses.

  8. wolfeken says:

    The most logical answer to a question about the 1962 missal is to research what the practice was in 1962.

    Had someone suggested, in 1962, that Sunday Mass be offered on Saturday afternoon or Saturday evening, there would be laughter. Paul VI invented the 32-hour Sunday in 1967, with its Saturday night novus ordo magically counting for Sunday. Hopefully anyone interested in the 1962 missal (traditional Latin Mass) would not be experimenting with 1967 practices.

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