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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
Instruction of the Roman Missal

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316.

QUERY: May Masses for various needs and occasions and votive Masses be celebrated on weekdays of the Christmas and Easter seasons?

REPLY: The GIRM no. 316(c) speaks only of the weekdays in Ordinary Time and not of the weekdays of the Christmas and Easter seasons. But a comparison of the GIRM with the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar leads to the following interpretation. 1. Masses for various needs and occasions or votive Masses are forbidden on solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and the Easter season, as well as on Ash Wednesday and the weekdays of Holy Week, which "have precedence over all other celebrations" (see GNLYC no. 16). 2. On the Sundays other than those just listed, on feasts, on the weekdays of Advent from 17 to 24 December and of Lent, such Masses may be said "in cases of serious need, at the direction of the local Ordinary or with his permission" (GIRM no. 332). 3. On the weekdays of Advent, up to December 16 inclusive, during the Christmas season from January 2 to the Saturday after Epiphany, during the Easter season from the Tuesday after the octave of Easter until the Saturday before Pentecost, and on obligatory memorials, "if some real need or pastoral advantage requires, at the discretion of the rector of the church or the priest celebrant, the Masses corresponding to such need or advantage may be used in a celebration with a congregation" (GIRM no. 333). The need in question is to be understood in a pastoral sense, for example, if a large number of people gathers for a particular celebration, as is the case in some places on the first Friday of the month. Apart from such situations Masses for various needs and occasions are not allowed. During these seasons the weekday office has a certain priority in order that the mystery of salvation, rather than other feasts or commemorations, may be celebrated in the measure due to it (see SC art. 108). This applies above all to the fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, days that are celebrated "as one feast day, or better as «one great Sunday»" (GNLYC no. 22). 4. During Ordinary Time it is permissible to celebrate any of the Masses for various needs and occasions whenever the office is of the weekday or an optional memorial occurs. 5. Masses for the dead are regulated in the same way. a. The Mass of burial may be celebrated on any day, except the Easter triduum, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, and solemnities. b. The Masses on the occasions of news of a death, final burial, and the first anniversary may be celebrated on the days indicated in nos. 3 - 4 (see GIRM no. 337). c. Daily Masses for the dead may be celebrated on the weekdays in Ordinary Time and when an optional memorial occurs, as in no. 4: Not 5 (1969) 323 - 324, no. 2.

 




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