When Are You Going to Mass?

"When are you going to Mass?" by Tommy Tighe (CatholicMom.com)

By LoMitOwn work, GFDL, Link

Welcome to 2017, where nothing is the same as you’ve ever remembered it being before, and the whole world seems slightly out of whack.

For me, this feeling of being a bit off became overwhelming as I flipped through my parish calendar and realized this year we experience the shortest Advent possible.

Kicking off on December 3 and wrapping up just 22 days later, this fast-tracked season is the real deal.

We barely have time to get ourselves properly in preparation mode before Baby Jesus will be placed center stage in our Nativity Scenes.

Which brings me to Sunday, December 24.

This year, December 24 is both the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve.

As Fr. Thomas Petri, OP put it on Twitter:

“Since everyone is already in the Christmas mood, here’s a friendly reminder: since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, you need to go to Mass twice. Sunday evening doesn’t count for both. Two obligations (Sunday & Christmas). Two Masses.”

I feel obligated to first go out of my way to point out that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a beautiful experience every single time we go. It is a place where Heaven literally touches down on Earth, where the bread on the altar becomes the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and a place where we should find ourselves wanting to be more than pretty much any other place I can think of.

But … as a parent of three kids 7 and under … ahhhhhhhhhh!

Surviving Mass on a regular Sunday seems like reason enough to reward Mom and Dad with a cup of coffee and some donut holes; the idea of going on back-to-back days just as the stress of Christmas reaches its pinnacle is a tad daunting, to be quite honest.

As I cracked open my parish bulletin and peeked at the Mass times, though, I had another (completely crazy) idea:

A Mass Doubleheader.

What if we went to Mass at 11:00 am … and then … came back for Christmas Vigil Mass just a few hours later?

It might just be crazy enough to work!

Pray for us.

What are you plans for managing our “double obligation” this year? Got any tips for handling the family at back-to-back Masses? Let us know in the comments.

Copyright 2017 Tommy Tighe


About Author

Tommy is a Catholic husband, father of four boys, and the author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook (available now!).


  1. On typical weeks, I usually go to the Saturday vigil by myself and then we go as a whole family on Sundays. That way if I am largely distracted with the younger girls on Sunday I at least was able to more fully focus the evening before.

    We typically go as a family to the Christmas Eve vigil Mass as our older girls sing in the children’s Choir, but this year I was signed up to be a Eucharistic Minister at the Vigil Mass, so it looks like we will do our regular routine for 4th Sunday of Advent Masses and then I will go Sunday evening with my older girls and Monday morning with my husband and younger girls. It would be nice if the older girls came again on Monday so there would be one Christmas Mass where we were all together though (well, at least when I am not in the back of the church with one of the kids!).

  2. Margaret Tillott on

    That’s what I’m doing.I shall play the organ at the 11.00 mass on Sunday and then return for the 5.45 Vigil Mass.My family with 5 children-10 and under are going to mass on the Saturday evening and to the Vigil Mass on the Sunday.

  3. Kay Owens DeWitt on

    We will go Saturday 5pm (though we rarely ever do that- guess we will meet some new parishioners) and then again on Sunday 5pm for the vigil. No young children to deal with — just teens

  4. I have an 11 y.o. and am married to Jewish woman. Traditionally, my wife enjoys the midnight mass the most because the music is most moving and all the “light in the darkness” and nativity narrative comes to life.
    However, we do not have a midnight mass. We do have a 10 pm mass.
    I am serving as an extraordinary minister of communion on SUN Dec 24 at the 10 am mass, our usual Sunday mass time AND my child is scheduled to sing at the Christmas vigil mass at 6pm. So we will be doing a double-header. The music director asked if I would be at a Christmas day mass and if so, if I might be available to sing. I replied that I really didn’t know.
    In any case, as a parish staff member, I don’t have it as badly as the choir director or the parish priests.

  5. We have a newborn who hasn’t had his shots yet and quite a few people don’t vaccinate their children in our area. Our pediatrician is not cool with him being in large crowds and we completely anticipate the 5pm Sat mass to be packed. That would be the best mass for me to attend with him (breastfeeding and have o ly1 bag of milk pumped and frozen). My husband is planning on shelling the older 3 kiddos to the 8 am to avoid the crowd. I’m ok with having baby in a crowd if he’s in my ring sling or locked up right in his infant carrier and no one is touching him. Im totally open for suggestions! Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas everyone!

  6. Well, we’re going to regular Sunday Mass at 9:30AM, Christmas Vigil Mass at 5PM Sunday evening, and Christmas Day Mass at 9:30AM on Monday. I just explained to the family that this year is different since the last day of Advent is also on Christmas Eve, so we’d be going twice in one day. There was a little grumbling at first, but now they’re actually getting excited for it because it’s something different. It’s all in the presentation. 🙂

  7. Like my husband said, “You’d go to Mass everyday, and twice on Sunday, if you could.” So here it is, twice on Sunday. Once in the morning, and because we live in a rural area, our vigil Mass on Christmas Eve is at 4:30 in the afternoon. All of our children are grown now, but it still isn’t seamless. We’ll have two of them travelling eight hours that day to be home for Christmas.

  8. Kathleen Goodrich on

    Choir director and organist here! I’ll be triple-headering it this weekend: 9am, 11am, then back for the Midnight, which begins for the choir at 11 with an hour of carols. It’ll be a long haul, and I bring my 5mo baby, but I think I’l make it through. My husband will take our toddlers to the Vigil Mass on Sunday evening, I think, and our bigger kids and teens will come with me to the Midnight.

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