ASK FATHER: “Anticipated” Traditional Latin Mass on Saturday evening with Sunday’s texts

From a reader…

Is it licit to celebrate Traditional Latin Masses in an anticipatory manner (i.e., an evening Mass but using the following day’s propers)?

I’m asking because a recent Rorate article implies the contrary yet I know priests who commonly say Sunday TLMs the evening before, probably because of their duties as diocesan priests they have to attend to on the actual Sunday (or Holy Day).

Ehem.. the “actual Sunday” is just as “actual” in the Extraordinary Form as in the Ordinary.  I would say even more “actual”, since they have the long, proven track record.  But I digress.

Is it licit to “anticipate” the next day’s Mass on the evening before in the TLM (Extraordinary Form).

From what I understand, that is not to be done.

Back in the day, there were no “anticipated” Masses.  No matter what time of day it was, Father would say the Mass of the day.  Moreover, evening Masses were not common, particularly in the days of the longer Eucharistic fast, and in years when there was no electric lighting (Holy Church was around before electrification).  Pius XII allowed for evening Masses for people who had to work in the morning.  So, evening Masses are new-fangled, to say the least.

Celebrating a “anticipated” evening Mass with the next day’s texts is… strange, and not strictly licit.

However, I suppose that, in the spirit of the “mutual enrichment” foreseen by the Legislator in Summorum Pontificum, there could be some sort of accommodation made in with consultation with the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.  That said, the rubrics don’t provide for an “anticipated” Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Mind you, were a Mass of the Saturday to be celebrated on Saturday evening (after, say, 4 PM), that Mass would satisfy one’s Sunday obligation according to can. 1248.1:

The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.

So, barring consultation and the permission of the PCED, “No!”  We cannot, now at least, use the Sunday texts on Saturday evening.

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  1. Legisperitus says:

    Father, would can. 1248.1 apply to the case of a double obligation, e.g., an evening Mass for Sunday also satisfying a Holy Day obligation for Monday (as Christmas this year)?

    [No. Two obligations, two Masses. I’ll write a post about this.]

  2. Titus says:

    Mind you, were a Mass of the Saturday to be celebrated on Saturday evening (after, say, 4 PM), that Mass would satisfy one’s Sunday obligation according to can. 1248.1

    The implicit premise being, of course, for those of you playing along at home, that it is the date and time of the Mass that controls for purposes of the Sunday obligation, not the propers used or the liturgical celebration being observed.

    If, on Saturday evening (or, to the extent it could happen, a Sunday), Father says a votive Mass, or the Mass for the anniversary of the consecration of the local cathedral, or uses the common of martyrs to say a Mass in honor of St. Mellifluous of Blackacre (who is, of course, in the Martryology for that day), one attending that Mass fulfills the obligation just as much as if Father had said the Mass for the Sunday.

  3. hwriggles4 says:

    If anyone reading this was an altar boy between the years of 1946 and 1969, they will most likely recall that the senior altar boys preferred to do the early Masses, such as 6:00 am through 8:00 am, because they could have breakfast afterwards. The newer altar boys had to wait to eat until after they served, since fasting was done from midnight until receiving Eucharist.

    Personally, as I have learned more about the Catholic faith, I do find that the Eucharist means more when discipline like this is in place – if I go to Mass before 10 am on Sunday, I do fast beforehand, and if I go to evening Mass on Sunday, I do follow the one hour before Eucharist, and some good priests have suggested three hours before Mass.

  4. William says:

    I’ve been wanting to ask you this same question for a while.

    Soon after SP was issued, the parish I was attending started having the TLM on First Fridays. When December rolled around, the first Friday was December 7, 2007. The Mass that evening was the Immaculate Conception, which I thought was strange because I knew the 1962 rubrics didn’t have any type of vigil Mass.

    I never knew if this point had ever been clarified, but it seemed to me that it might be (barely) technically OK under the current law, though it’s certainly not traditional. Considering that it was right after SP was released, it also made sense that there would be some confusion like this.

    It points to a bigger problem that I don’t know if there will be a resolution to any time soon, and that’s the fact that the TLM is separated from the Code of Canon law that it presumes (not to mention that this one rite has two calendars).

    Consider the Eucharistic fast. In the days of speed Masses, the 1 hour fast makes a little bit of sense (though not much, mind you). It basically serves as a reminder to put down that final donut and take your last sip of coffee before you walk into the church. Even at these Masses, you practically have to be eating during Mass to break the fast (of course, I have seen people sitting in the pews eating snacks).

    The typical ordinary form Sunday Masses I’ve been to last about 45 minutes to an hour. The typical EF form lasts 60 to 75 minutes for a Low Mass and 75 to 90 minutes for a High Mass.

    The (mandatory minimum) fast is a joke in the OF but it’s irrelevant in the EF (at least on Sundays when most people who go to Mass actually go to Mass).

  5. AM says:

    What makes it licit to use the Sunday readings, propers, and oration on Saturday in the Novus Ordo? Nothing in GIRM chapter VII mentions this. Relevant canon 1248 doesn’t either.

  6. Sword40 says:

    We leave for our 10:30am High Mass about 7:00am. We stop and pick up two folks that ride with us, then stop for a box of donuts at a store, (for social hour after Mass). Then drive to the church. We get there about 9:15am or so. This gives me time to pray and prepare to lead the Rosary at 10:03am.

    Although we leave at 0700, we get up about 0530, eat breakfast by 0630. The only thing that stops us is heavy snow. Yes, it’s a long way to church.

    Our Fast is automatically built into our Sunday At least 3-4 hours.

  7. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    We would have “External” Feasts/Solemnities for specific masses on Sunday at the prior TLM I attended? Say for a patronal feast day that fell on a Thursday would have it’s propers used on Sunday so more attendees could be present than during morning on a work week.

    Why not an “External” celebration of Sunday Mass Saturday evening with the Sunday propers?

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