June 19, 2009


I need some help with this one, erudite Catholic readers.

I was just looking ahead, and noticed that the the Assumption of Our Lady falls on a Saturday this year. Of course this means that the obligation is abrogated, but that's not my question.

What about Saturday night, at the ordinary vigil Masses? I am told that they will be the Mass of the Sunday in Ordinary Time, not the Mass of the Assumption. I suppose this is correct, but I don't know why. Solemnities of Our Lady far outrank Sundays in Ordinary Time, but we're not really talking about the same day here, just a particular kind of intersection of liturgical days.

Is Evening Prayer of that day Evening Prayer I of the Sunday or Evening Prayer II of the Assumption? (My ordo says "EP II of sol.") But I am assured by those with more experience that the Saturday evening Masses are of the Sunday. Is it because the Sunday obligation would not be fulfilled otherwise?

Thanks for the help. Citations from authority would be a big help.


Karinann said...

I will start this by saying- that I am still learning and relearning my faith-but could it be because Sunday is the Lord's Day (kind of a mini Easter if you will) and I would guess that that even trumps Our Lady's feast days. Just my very uneducated guess.Sorry not sure where to even begin to look for authoritative citations.

CUAguy said...

ooos thats a good question. I need to look through my books and see what I can figure out.

Snup said...

I've forwarded this to cuaguy....he's on the case!


PS please pray for Jake. He has a heart murmur and the vet was talking about cutting out his ear because it will not heal.

Anonymous said...


From the instructions at the beginning of Vol. I of the four volume Liturgy of the Hours we have this:

"If on the same day vespers of the current office and first vespers of the following day are to be celebrated, the vespers of the day holding higher rank in the table of liturgical days takes precedence; if both days are of equal rank, vespers of the current day takes precedence."

In this case, the Assumption is a higher rank than a Sunday of Ordinary Time, and thus insofar as Vespers is concerned you would pray Evening Prayer II of the Assumption, and not Evening Prayer I of Sunday.

As for the question regarding Mass, my best guess is this: given that the obligation itself is abrogated, in terms of Mass alone it would appear that, contrary to the rest of the Liturgy, the Sunday of Ordinary time actually takes precedence over the Solemnity of the Assumption.

Actually, I have just thought of perhaps a more likely reason. Evening Masses on the day of a solemnity or on Sunday are only even allowable, if I am not mistaken, by dispensation, though it is a dispensation almost universally granted. Since we do retain liturgically our Jewish tradition of a new day beginning at sundown, hence vigil Masses, technically once evening comes the new day has begun. And so truly the Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption would be the vigil Mass and then the morning/early afternoon of the feast itself, with an evening Mass being allowable by dispensation. Again, I could be wrong about the dispensation part, but nonetheless I think it actually makes sense that Saturday evening would be the Sunday readings and not Assumption readings, since Mass is theoretically most properly celebrated as a Vigil or a morning/early afternoon liturgy.

Does any of that make sense?

Brother Charles said...

Thanks, Michael. You do offer an account of the apparent discrepancy; why one would pray Evening Prayer II of Assumption on that day but celebrate the vigil Mass of the Sunday within the same liturgical time. Thanks!

ben in denver said...

It seems to me that you would want to pray EPII of the Assumption for vespers, and not EPI of the Sunday. The Dominican Ordo for the US in online and they have EPII of the assumption listed for the 15th.

In the EF, I beleieve there is even a provision to celebrate an External Solemnity of the Asumption on the following Sunday so that additional faithful could participate.

I agree with you that having the Sunday mass doesn't make sense, it seems that evening mass on the 15th should be for the Assumption.

I expect the reason for the Sunday Mass on the evening of the 15th has to do with not wanting to confuse the faithful. I'm sure that more than a few people might be needlessly worried that they had not fufilled their obligation for Sunday if they did not her Sunday's Mass. Although it seems that a word from the priest at the opening of the mass would be more than enught to clear that up.

Pau A. Zalonski said...

For the Assumption Mass, the obligation is dispensed but not the solemnity. The Saturday Vigil Mass is that of Sunday. So also, Vespers I for Sunday. Ordinarily Marian feasts don't trump Sundays; however, there are times when Assumption does appear on a Sunday as in 2010 and then you will do Vespers I & II and all the Masses for the Assumption on Saturday vigil/Sunday.

The fact that the Jewish method of prayer is also the Christian method and that Sunday is a little Easter. As a side note, there are a few occasions when the Holy See will allow a saint's day to be observed on a Sunday like Ss Peter & Paul and All Saints because of the closeness to the Lord.

Brother Charles said...

Ben and Paul, I knew I could count on you guys!

Anonymous said...

Paul, if you see what I quoted from the instructions for the Liturgy of the Hours, I do believe you might be incorrect regarding Vespers I for Sunday. I'm fairly certain it is, in fact, proper to prayer Vespers II of the Assumption, while the Mass (for the reason you noted regarding our continuation of the Jewish understanding of a liturgical day) readings would be for Sunday.

Paul A. Zalonski said...

Indeed, Michael, you are correct. My initial post needed a bit more nuance than it had. There is Second Vespers of the Assumption but Mass texts for Sunday Through the Year this year on Saturday.

Solemnities take precedence over Sundays Through the Year except in privileged times such as Advent & Lent. So, if the Immaculate Conception fell on a Sunday it would moved to Monday and First Vespers would fall out since the Church would do Second Vespers for Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul! That makes perfect sense :)