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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE SUNDAY OBLIGATION
VERSUS
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.

Q. 1. Regarding the Sunday Obligation, can I attend a "Liturgy of the Word" instead of the "Holy Mass" in order to participate from a different spiritual experience?

A. 1. According to the teachings of the catholic Church, your Sunday Obligation involves going to Holy Mass every Sunday without exception, unless you are seriously ill and you have received a dispensation from your Parish priest.

On that matter, the Catholic Church states:

"The first precept [of the Church] ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts... by participating in the eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered. [Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2042]

When a Holy Mass is not available to the faithful, they may participate in a "Liturgy of the Word."

"It is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families." [Code of Canon Law # 1248]

If you wish to participate in a Liturgy celebration of the Word in order to benefit from a different spiritual experience, you may do so after having fulfilled your Sunday Obligation of attending Holy Mass. There is nothing to stop you from participating in both on a Sunday. But attending Holy Mass on Sunday is your first and only Sunday obligation; it cannot be substituted!



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