Obligatory Memorial

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Must EVERY Mass celebrated on any given day that has an obligatory celebration attached to it be the Mass of that day? For example, if a parish wants to celebrate an anniversary Mass for all the married couples in the community celebrating a special wedding anniversary, and the day they’ve chosen is August 1st (obligatory memorial of St. Alphonsus Ligouri), but the time they’ve chosen is not a normally scheduled parish liturgy (let’s say they have their regular daily Mass at 8 a.m. and then schedule this wedding anniversary Mass for 3 p.m.), must they use the readings and prayers for the memorial for the 3 pm Mass? Even if they’ve already done so at their normal 8 a.m. liturgy? Or are they free to use the Mass from the Missal for the celebration of a wedding anniversary, and to select other readings?


A:  The answer is in GIRM 376.

  1.  On days when there occurs an Obligatory Memorial or on a weekday of Advent up to and including 16 December, of Christmas Time from 2 January, and of Easter Time after the Octave of Easter, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions and Votive Masses are in principle forbidden. If, however, some real necessity or pastoral advantage calls for it, in the estimation of the rector of the church or the Priest Celebrant himself, a Mass appropriate to the same may be used in a celebration with the people.

So the priest may decide if the significance of the anniversary Mass is greater than that of the Memorial.