Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Vigil Mass at Noon?

I recently attended Sunday Mass at noon--on a Saturday.

It is well known that the Sunday obligation is fulfilled by attending Mass on Saturday evening. Opinions vary, however, as to the definition of "evening" in this context.

Dictionary.com offers the following definitions:


1) The period of decreasing daylight between afternoon and night.
2) The period between sunset or the evening meal and bedtime.

Anyway you slice it, noon doesn't exactly seem to qualify as "evening," does it?

I had been curious about the Saturday noon Sunday vigil Mass at Immaculate Conception parish here in Jacksonville for quite some time. On account of anticipated travel and associated logistical difficulties, the curiosity became a welcome convenience one recent weekend.

Had it been a squishier, less traditional parish, I would have been more inclined to question the notion that 12:00 noon might qualify as part of the evening. But this was Immaculate Conception, the most traditional parish in town. What's more, the priest celebrating the noon-vigil was one of the most highly-respected and holiest of Our Lord's ministers in these parts.

What's more yet, our own truly outstanding bishop was surely aware of this long-standing practice at Immaculate Conception and had at least implicitly approved of it by allowing it to continue.

I was, therefore, entirely comfortable attending the Saturday noon-vigil Mass and attending to other business on Sunday.

Ok, not entirely. So, I did a quick Google search and found this interesting article, which reaches the conclusion that evening begins at 4:00 PM.

Still, I'm generally alright with IC's noon-vigil, thanks to Dictionary.com's fourth and final definition of "evening":

4) Chiefly Southern U.S.: The time from noon to twilight.

I figure, without binding guidance as to the definition of the word "evening," it is reasonable to assume that the ordinary, local usage would prevail.

And Jacksonville is nothing if not Southern.

As for you Yankees and Left Coasters, there's still no excuse for you.


Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

The justification for a vigil Mass comes from the Church's Jewish roots -- the day begins at sundown. For example, the Jewish Sabbath starts at sundown Friday. Of course, the basis for this is Gen. 1 ("evening came and morning came...").

If the vigil Mass for Sunday is noon in the South, I hope the churches are air conditioned. No doubt the bishop allows this below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line-dispensation so you can all support the community at the local goat roping or water melon seed spitting contest.

1:28 AM  
Blogger Theodosius said...

From what I understand, Immaculate Conception was granted permission to celebrate the noon Mass because the city buses do not run at 5:00 on the weekends. Many of the members of that urban parish depend on the buses to get to Mass.

Your right about that parish being old school. I try to attend Mass there at least once a week during the 1210 weekday Mass. There you will find a Catholicism that is truly universal. Thirty to sixty Catholics of all races, ages and walks of life attend each afternoon and the line to Confession before Mass stretches from the back of the Church half way to the alter.

If God ever asks for 50 good people in order to spare Jacksonville, Florida from destruction (Genesis 19 16-33), go to Immaculate Conception on any weekday afternoon.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Angry Orthodox said...

Call me a fudddy duddy, but they never should've allowed a Saturday cop out. The Sabbath service order, at least in the Eastern Rite, goes: Vespers on Saturday night, Sunday morning matins followed immediately by Divine Liturgy (Mass).

Sure there's been a High Mass and Low Mass on Sunday in the Latin Rite, but they added a Saturday day to accomodate the drunks who weren't showing up Sunday morning. The result is several more masses, to accomodate the masses, instead of the sheep accomodating the shepard.

The result is no more vespers. Heck, they should require weekly confession, weekly Vespers attendence (either on Saturday or on a weeknight) and NO eating or drinking 12 hours (8 hours minimum prior to receiving communion. But I digress.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Theodosius said...

Angry Orthodox is no fuddy duddy (five d's or six?). The line is every effort should be made to attend Mass on Sunday. Saturday evening is for those who work or cannot attend Mass on Sunday (not because they want an early tee time).

Unfortunately, if they didn't have the Saturday night Mass to accomdate the drunks, many of them would attend services at "St. Mattress of the Springs" on Sunday morning.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Petrus Radii said...

The evening "anticipation Mass" is nothing more than a sop to drunkards and the lazy. We are not Jews, that we should keep the Lord's Day on the Sabbath. It is true that some people are prevented by work, etc., from attending a morning Mass. So have the evening Mass on Sunday! Or would that cramp Father's golf game too much?

By the way, evening for Jews and for Traditional Catholics begins about three or four p.m., not at noon. While the Southern definition seems to make plenty of sense for cocktails and pig-pickin's, it is opposed to the liturgical tradition of the Church from her founding until the mid-1950's.

12:30 PM  

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