My Sisters and Brothers,
We know that Christmas is a holy day of obligation for us Catholics. I heard on the grapevine that since this year Christmas day, 25 December falls on Monday, the Mass on Sunday morning 24 December will suffice as the Christmas Eve Mass, to fulfill our obligation to attend a Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation. It is also in the air that attending the Christmas Eve Mass on 24 Sunday evening would be sufficient to fulfill our attendance at Sunday Mass obligation.
My sisters and brothers, please make no mistake about this: the above are wrong thoughts. Sunday 24 December is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Our obligation to attend a Mass on Sunday is fulfilled by attending the 5.30 pm Mass on Saturday 23 December, or by attending one of the two Masses on Sunday morning 24 December. And however inconvenient it be, our obligation to attend Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation, Christmas Day 25 December Monday this year, is fulfilled only by attending one of the Christmas Eve Masses on 24 December, 4 pm and 6 pm, or by attending the Mass on Monday, 25 December at 10.30 am. The above are two separate obligations to which we Catholics are subject by our Church law. Please do not fuse these into a single obligation due to their proximity. Being present at the Eucharist on Sunday and again on Christmas Day is the sign of our faith commitment. You are welcome to call me any time for any clarification that is needed.
I am reminding all of you about our customary Advent Penance service. Please refer to our bulletin regarding the details of the same and note the change of day for the service in our Resurrection Parish. It will be on Wednesday, December 20, at 7 pm. Do take the chance to encounter the forgiving Lord in His sacrament of mercy, either in our Resurrection parish or in one of the other city parishes.
May I take this opportunity to wish each of you all the blessings of the Lord at this Christmas; may He be born into our lives as individuals and as families. May the joy that the Incarnate Lord brings to us at His birth, be with us at Christmas and all through the year ahead of us. Let the Infant Jesus and His mother Mary be at the center of our Christmas celebrations. I pray that all of you be blessed always with happiness and peace in your hearts.
---Fr. Joe SDB