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Does The Easter Vigil Mass Count For Sunday

Does The Easter Vigil Mass Count For Sunday? Answered

Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

As Holy Saturday concludes and darkness descends, the palpable expectation for Easter Sunday intensifies.

In churches worldwide, the Easter Vigil Mass marks the beginning of the most important day of the Christian calendar. 

But as the faithful gather to celebrate the Resurrection, a question lingers: does the Easter Vigil Mass count for Sunday? 

Well, let’s find out. Keep reading.

Is The Easter Vigil Mass Considered A Sunday Service?

Easter Vigil Mass

No, the Easter Vigil Mass is not considered a Sunday service [1]. 

It is a separate liturgical celebration held on the night of Holy Saturday to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

But can you wear black on Easter Sunday?

Does Attending Easter Vigil Fulfill The Sunday Obligation?

Yes, attending the Easter Vigil does fulfill the Sunday obligation for Catholics. 

While the Easter Vigil Mass is not technically a Sunday service, it is considered the most important liturgical celebration of the year, marking the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

However, if a Catholic cannot attend both services, attending the Easter Vigil fulfills the obligation to attend Mass on Easter Sunday.

How Is The Easter Vigil Mass Performed?

The Easter Vigil Mass is a long and solemn liturgical celebration performed on the night of Holy Saturday, also known as Easter Eve. 

It typically begins in darkness, lighting a new fire outside the church. From this fire, the Paschal Candle is lit and processed into the church, symbolizing the light of Christ. 

“If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put truth in a grave but it won’t stay there.”

Clarence W. Hall, Author

During the Mass, several readings from the Old and New Testaments are proclaimed, recounting salvation history, with responsorial psalms and prayers interspersed throughout. 

After the Liturgy of the Word, new members are typically baptized and confirmed, and the congregation renews their baptismal vows. 

Finally, the Mass culminates in celebrating the Eucharist, with the distribution of Holy Communion. 

The Easter Vigil Mass is a powerful and profoundly moving liturgical celebration, full of symbolism and meaning, marking the central event of the Christian faith.

Find out how you can explain Easter to a child without religion here.

What Occurs During The Easter Vigil Mass?

The Easter Vigil Mass is a liturgical celebration on Holy Saturday evening, marking the beginning of the Easter season. 

A new fire is lit outside the church to mark the beginning of the festivities; this fire represents Christ’s light, which will ultimately triumph over darkness. 

The Paschal Candle is lit and carried into the church from this fire, signifying the risen Christ. 

The Mass consists of four parts: the Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word or lessons, the Liturgy of Baptism, and the Eucharist.

Find out what occurs if it rains on Easter Sunday here.  

How Long Does The Easter Vigil Service Generally Last?

The Easter Vigil service is one of the longest and most elaborate liturgical celebrations of the Catholic Church, typically lasting between two and three hours. 

But still, depending on the number of readings, baptisms, confirmations, and other liturgical components included in the Mass, some can be shorter or longer than others.

Is The Easter Vigil Mass Mandatory?

Church Mass

The Easter Vigil Mass is not technically mandatory, but the Catholic Church encourages its members to attend this solemn and meaningful liturgical celebration. 

Plus, it is considered the most important Mass of the year, marking Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and the Easter season’s beginning. 

As such, Catholics are strongly encouraged to attend the Easter Vigil to fully experience the celebration and deepen their spiritual connection to the faith. 

But, if you cannot make it to Mass on Easter Vigil due to illness or other circumstances, you can still celebrate Easter by going to Mass on Easter Sunday or another day.

Is A Vigil Mass Similar To A Normal Mass?

There are key differences between Vigil and regular Mass, even though they share many similarities. 

A Vigil Mass is a liturgical celebration that takes place on the evening before a feast day, often with its own set of prayers, readings, and hymns that reflect the meaning of the feast. 

For example, the Easter Vigil Mass [2] is a distinct liturgy performed on the evening before Easter Sunday and features readings that recount salvation history and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

In contrast, a normal Mass typically follows a more standard format and includes a set of fixed prayers, readings, and responses. 

Despite these differences, both Vigil Masses and regular Masses are celebrations of the Eucharist, intending to bring Catholics together in prayer, worship, and communion.

Related Post: What Should You Wear To Church On Easter Sunday?

FAQs

Does seeing the Mass on television fulfill Sunday’s obligation?

No, watching Mass on television does not fulfill the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays.

Does Mass on Saturday count as Sunday mass?

Yes, attending Mass on Saturday is the same as attending Mass on Sunday. 

Its lecture readings and prayers are typically for Sunday Mass which means it fulfills your Sunday obligation. 

Do you take communion during the Easter Vigil?

Yes, it has become a tradition for many Christians to take communion during the Easter Vigil to commemorate Jesus’ death and Resurrection.

Bottom Line

While it is not technically a Sunday Mass, it fulfills the Sunday obligation. 

Catholics are encouraged to attend the Easter Vigil and Sunday Mass to experience the Easter celebration fully. 

Whether or not the Easter Vigil Mass counts for Sunday may be a matter of interpretation. 

Still, it is a powerful and meaningful way to mark the most significant event in the Christian calendar.

References:

  1. https://churchlifejournal.nd.edu/articles/why-must-we-go-to-church-on-sunday/
  1. https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year-and-calendar/triduum/roman-missal-and-the-easter-vigil
Kimberlee Johnson
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