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Thursday, July 18, 2024
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How can I get an early morning weekday Mass in my parish?

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weekday Mass - The Catholic weekly

Over the years I have heard all these questions numerous times, and so am now happy to answer them.

The obvious answer to the question about what can be done is, naturally, to talk with your parish priest and express your concerns.

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Priests can take these concerns to the parish council to see what they think, and sometimes changes are made.

As regards early morning weekday Masses, the trend in recent years has been to cater to the older population group, who make up the majority of those attending weekday Masses, and to have Masses around 9am or 9:30am for them.

These people often find it too difficult to attend Masses at 6:30am, or 7am, especially in winter, and since they are usually retired, they can attend the later Masses.

Nonetheless, there are always people like you who are working, often some distance away from where they live, and who need an earlier Mass.

If there is only one priest in the parish, he will naturally be inclined to put the Mass at a later time, which will have a larger attendance.

Archbishop Fisher celebrating Mass. Photo: Alphonsus Fok.

Since priests are usually only allowed to say one Mass on weekdays, he must choose at which time to celebrate it.

One solution is for the priests in a certain area to get together and decide to have an early morning Mass each day in one of their parishes.

They could also consider having an evening Mass in one of their parishes each day.

This should be relatively easy to organise, since the priests of a deanery meet regularly to discuss various issues.

A deanery, by the way, is a grouping of parishes within a diocese in which the priests meet on a regular basis to discuss matters of common interest.

Some priests solve the problem by having a variety of Mass times in their own parish, with some Masses at the early morning time, some later, and some in the evening.

When there are two or more priests in the parish, they can easily have two Masses at different times each day to cater to the needs of the parishioners.

As regards no Masses on Mondays, the reason often given for this is that this is the priest’s day off after a busy weekend.

The priest does need to have days of rest, which he has always been entitled to take.

What is more, with the shortage of priests in recent times, priests are working harder and need the break all the more. But, when all is said and done, celebrating Mass takes little time and effort.

Images by Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2024

But aren’t priests required to say Mass every day? The Code of Canon Law gives us the answer:

“Remembering always that in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice the work of redemption is continually being carried out, priests are to celebrate frequently. Indeed, daily celebration is earnestly recommended, because, even if it should not be possible to have the faithful present, it is an action of Christ and of the Church in which priests fulfil their principal role” (Can. 904).

Many priests do celebrate each day, regarding it as their most important role.

They do this even when there are no faithful present—for example, on their holidays. This is certainly most earnestly recommended.

Especially when the priest is in his parish, there are always parishioners who, out of love for the Mass, wish to attend each day, and the priest should not have less love for the Eucharist than they do.

But, strictly speaking, he does not need to celebrate each day.

As regards Saturday morning Masses, which until fairly recently were always celebrated, some priests have stopped celebrating them because they usually have a Saturday evening Mass.

But the evening Mass is for Sunday, with Sunday’s liturgy, and therefore the priest would not be celebrating the Saturday liturgy.

Again, many lay faithful want to attend Mass each day, including Saturdays, when there is sometimes a special feast like that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is always on a Saturday. Ideally, the priest should celebrate on Saturday morning too.

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