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How much Mass fulfills my Sunday obligation?

The present Code of Canon Law reads: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." It doesn't say "part" or "parts" of the Mass. The expectation is that the person will attend a complete Mass. A Catholic Catechism quotes the canon and states, "Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin."

Before Vatican II, moral theologians and canonists would talk about the three principal parts of Mass as the Offertory, Consecration and Communion. If you missed any one of those parts, they wrote, you would not have fulfilled the obligation of hearing Mass.

Today, canonists and liturgists do not use that terminology. They speak of the gathering, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the commissioning as the main divisions of Mass.

And moralists are more likely to speak of substantial observance of the law and what that might mean. They would assert that the law imposes a serious obligation. But some would question whether a person seriously or gravely violates the law if on one occasion he or she does not attend Sunday Mass. And all moralists would acknowledge that to miss a few minutes would not be a serious matter.

If you look at your missalette or recall your experience on Sundays, the penitential rite is part of the Mass. It takes place after the entrance song, right after the priest has entered the sanctuary and greeted the people. It can take different forms. One commonly used is the confession of fault (Confiteor) and Lord, have mercy (Kyrie). So if you come after these prayers, you are late for Mass.

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Monday, April 22, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 4/21/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 4/23/2013

Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

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