GIRM 204: More Than One Mass A Day

When can a priest preside or concelebrate more than once a day? Here’s what the GIRM says:

204. For a particular reason, having to do either with the significance of the rite or of the festivity, the faculty is given to celebrate or concelebrate more than once on the same day in the following cases:

a) a Priest who has celebrated or concelebrated the Chrism Mass on Thursday of Holy Week may also celebrate or concelebrate the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper;

b) a Priest who has celebrated or concelebrated the Mass of the Easter Vigil may celebrate or concelebrate Mass during the day on Easter Sunday;

c) on the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas Day), all Priests may celebrate or concelebrate three Masses, provided the Masses are celebrated at their proper times of day;

d) on the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day), all Priests may celebrate or concelebrate three Masses, provided that the celebrations take place at different times, and with due regard for what has been laid down regarding the application of second and third Masses;[Incruentum altaris sacrificium (1915 Apostolic Constitution)]

e) a Priest who concelebrates with the Bishop or his delegate at a Synod or pastoral visitation, or concelebrates on the occasion of a gathering of Priests, may celebrate Mass again for the benefit of the faithful. This holds also, with due regard for the prescriptions of law, for groups of religious.

I have some understanding on the reasoning behind these regulations. The Church is rightfully concerned about abuse of the sacraments, and even the abuse of a priest’s good time. Limitations on the number of Masses for a priest never strike me as consonant with the realities outside of communities awash in clergy. Like outside of Rome or a monastery.

But as it is, we do have this legislation. How do you clergy deal with it?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in GIRM, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to GIRM 204: More Than One Mass A Day

  1. Liam says:

    One of the interesting lacunae of Summorum Pontificum is that it did not address the issue of bination/trination by stipulating that adding an EF Mass would be a suitable exception to the rules. It’s an issue where there’s no excess of clergy and existing Mass schedules are fairly subscribed already, as it were. And these rules do arise at heart from the Tridentine reform to discourage the notion of volume as the summum bonum of offering the Mass….

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    GIRM, like the CCC, is not Holy Writ. Meeting the needs of the people should take precedence over any hot house rules and regulations.

  3. Brendan Kelleher svd, Japan says:

    Not having worked in a parish context for some years I haven’t been obliged to check how many Masses I may celebrate on any one Sunday. When Diocesan or SVD celebrations overlap with the Sunday Eucharists I celebrate with the English speaking community here in Nagoya GIRM isn’t in the forefront of my mind. Previously, in one parish I served in, between three and five over a weekend wouldn’t be exceptional, along with the occasional wedding or funeral, which might or might not include a Eucharist celebration.

    Among my colleagues who work in the migrant ministry here in Japan three Masses on a Sunday not uncommon. And as for those who work in various countries in Latin America, Africa etc, I have heard stories of confreres visiting half a dozen villages on a single day and saying Mass in each one.
    Given that in some places they might not see a priest again for another two or three months, the position taken by many in the missions is that you do whatever is necessary or circumstances allow.

  4. Most parishes around here have one priest, so 3-5 masses on a weekend is pretty normal. At least at the parish where I work and the one where I worship. I am pretty sure that is the case in most places. The smaller ones, maybe less, 2 or 3?

    This comes up a lot regarding funerals; with daily mass and a funeral and then maybe another funeral.

    While I agree with Jimmy Mac about the precedent of the people, I also see firsthand the implications for the potential for burnout. It is not just the liturgies – it is the everything.

    This is not me being rubric-mad or more. I am thinking of the the masses and everything else that have implications. Like Brenden Kelleher said above, you do what you need to do. Of course, I say all of this as one who simply assists and observes…

  5. Jimmy Mac says:

    The remedies for priestly burnout are legion. The will to implement them are, alas, not being offered because “we have always done it this way.”

  6. NARCISSE SEKA says:

    Ici en Afrique dans les pays de Mission, une paroisse rurale avec une dizaine de station secondaires comme on les appelle, pour deux prêtres ou même un seul, il doit couvrir 2 au minimum le dimanche. Ce qui importe, c’est de permettre aux fidèles d’avoir au moins une Messe par mois.

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