May 18, 2013

Anticipated Mass should be Festive Mass

Today, we attended mass and I just got curious why it's called anticipated mass, though it's pretty obvious that you are anticipating the Sunday mass, but I want to know more and here what I found:

First, the Saturday evening Mass is not an "anticipated" Mass. It is the festive Mass of Sunday. The liturgical day of Sunday has already begun, so we are not "anticipating" anything. This language is a hold-over from the old 1917 code of canon law (when such Masses were "anticipating" Sunday).

From the "General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar"
#3 "The liturgical day runs from midnight to midnight, but the observance of Sunday and solemnities begins with the evening of the preceding day."
Since Sunday has begun, Saturday is over--it's a thing of the past. Whatever liturgical day Saturday "was" no longer matters.
Once evening has begun (4 PM) Sunday has begun, and therefore the Sunday Mass text is the "Mass of the day."

...recognizing that Saturday evening, beginning with First Vespers, is already a part of Sunday and a time when the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled...

From a liturgical point of view, in fact, holy days begin with First Vespers. Consequently, the liturgy of what is sometimes called the "Vigil Mass" is in effect the "festive" Mass of Sunday, at which the celebrant is required to preach the homily and recite the Prayer of the Faithful.

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