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Browsing Fr. Joel Hastings

Does one Mass on Christmas Eve count for Sunday and Christmas?

Dec 4, 2017

Since Christmas Eve is on a Sunday, will one Mass count for both Sunday and Christmas?

     This important question has a clear and direct answer – that 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas are two separate days and, therefore, we are to participate in two separate Masses. There is no “two for the price of one” when it comes to Mass.

     Each of us is asked to participate in Mass for each holy day. Both Masses could be on Sunday, December 24 – insofar as a person may choose either the 9:00 am or 12:00 pm Mass for Sunday and then come back later that day for either the 5:00 pm or 10:30 pm Christmas Masses. However, it is right practice to attend at least one Mass for both occasions.

To help facilitate your decision for which Masses you will choose to participate within, the Mass schedule is as follows:

For the 4th Sunday of Advent, our typical weekend schedule is going to be used:

       Saturday, December 23, 5:00 PM

       Sunday, December 24, 9:00 AM

       Sunday, December 24, 12:00 PM (Latin – Ordinary Form)

For Christmas:

       Sunday, December 24, 5:00 PM

       Sunday, December 24, 10:30 PM

       Monday, December 25, 7:30 AM (Latin – EF Low Mass)

       Monday, December 25, 9:00 AM

     In terms of, “How many times one can receive communion?” the answer is twice each day. So, if you choose a morning Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent and one of the evening Masses for Christmas, there is no problem receiving communion at both.

     As for some spiritual formation in this matter, for those who may be thinking that one Mass should be good enough, I simply invite you to reflect on the reality of the Eucharist as a “gift” instead of being merely a “requirement.” The reason Mass is said to be required is not because we need to prove ourselves to God through “going to Church,” but because the Holy Eucharist is the gift of the eternal life of God – who alone can give this gift. Likewise, our participation in eternal life depends upon our faithfulness to God in this life to the very end - just as our earthly life depends on our continual breathing. No other gift of God gives us what is given in the Eucharist. We are, therefore, “required” to go to Mass because it is what gives us life and is best for us – and to not do so is to deny ourselves the gift of eternal life that only God can give to us. 

     Thus, my question for everyone is this: since the Eucharist is the greatest gift and necessary for eternal life, why would we want to receive the Eucharist the fewest
number of times possible? To reject this gift is like denying ourselves air we need to breathe. My hope and prayer is that all will desire this gift often; every Sunday, every Holy Day…at every opportunity, as the Eucharist contains our salvation.

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