This year, because Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve both fall on Sunday, Catholics are obligated to attend Mass two days in a row in each of two weeks — or maybe two masses on one day.

It's a relatively rare situation which last occurred in 2006. Because Catholics are obliged to attend Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation, some have asked whether a Sunday evening Mass on Christmas Eve would fulfil both the obligation for a Sunday Mass and the obligation for a Christmas Day Mass.

Well, no. As Father Paul Kavanagh, Director of Divine Worship, explains it, we have an obligation to attend Mass on the following Sundays and Holy Days:

  • Sunday, December 24: Fourth Sunday of Advent
  • Monday, December 25: Nativity of the Lord
  • Sunday, December 31: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
  • Monday, January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

However, on December 24, we could attend a Sunday Mass in the morning, and a Vigil Mass for the Nativity of the Lord after 4 p.m.

And on December 31, we could attend a Sunday Mass in the morning, and a Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God after 4 p.m.

So for those who are wondering, no, we cannot fulfil both obligations on December 24 or 31 with just one Mass. Fortunately, it is easy to find Mass times that are convenient to you during the Christmas season; just check out our Christmas Mass Times page.

May you enjoy a blessed Christmas!