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Leaving Mass Early

Departing Mass Early

Exiting Mass Early

Leave Mass Early

We Should Not Leave Mass Early

Wrong to Leave Mass Early

Depart From Mass Early

Exit Mass Early

Departing Mass Before Final Blessing

Exiting Right After Receiving Communion

Exiting Mass Right After Receiving Holy Communion

Leaving Mass Right After Communion

Premature Exit From Mass

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Arrow Question / Issue:

Is it okay to lave Mass early?

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

First it should be noted that if someone leaves Mass before a certain point (e.g. before the priest's communion), he/she may NOT meet their Sunday obligation.

Second, it should be noted that thanksgiving after Communion is "necessary" and that the time after Holy Communion is "the most profitable" time for prayer...

"Thanksgiving after communion is also necessary. The prayer we make after communion is the most acceptable to God, and the most profitable to us." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

Remember that...

"We should spend sufficient time in thanksgiving after Holy Communion to show due reverence to the Blessed Sacrament; for Our Lord is personally with us as long as the appearance of bread and wine remains." (Baltimore Catechism)

"After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring our Lord, in thanking Him for the grace we have received, and in asking Him for the blessings we need." (Baltimore Catechism)

"[T]he divine Redeemer is most closely united...with each and every one of the faithful, and He ardently desires to speak with them heart to heart, especially after Holy Communion." (Pope Pius XII)

In fact, we should stay AFTER Mass to make a proper thanksgiving...

"After Mass we should give God thanks for having allowed us to assist at this great Sacrifice, and we should ask pardon for all the faults we may have committed while assisting at it." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"When the Mass, which is subject to special rules of the liturgy, is over, the person who has received Holy Communion is not thereby freed from his duty of thanksgiving; rather, it is most becoming that, when the Mass is finished, the person who has received the Eucharist should recollect himself, and in intimate union with the divine Master hold loving and fruitful converse with Him. Hence they have departed from the straight way of truth, who, adhering to the letter rather than the sense, assert and teach that, when Mass has ended, no such thanksgiving should be added, not only because the Mass itself is a thanksgiving, but also because this pertains to a private and personal act of piety and not to the good of the community. But, on the contrary, the very nature of the sacrament demands that its reception should produce rich fruits of Christian sanctity." (Pope Pius XII)

Bear in mind that Christ's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament remains for a while even after Communion (e.g. an estimated/approximate fifteen minutes after receiving Holy Communion)...

"The body of Christ remains in this sacrament...so long as the sacramental species remain" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"After Holy Communion Jesus Christ abides within us by His grace as long as we commit no mortal sin; and He abides within us by His Real Presence until the sacramental species are consumed." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

Therefore Catholics should do their utmost to be respectful of the Holy Eucharist and remain in church to make a proper thanksgiving, even staying after Mass.

Those who make a habit of exiting Mass right after receiving Holy Communion without a legitimate/satisfactory reason are, at best, misguided. IMHO, this should be mentioned in Confession so that a holy priest can determine whether such actions were seriously sinful or not. In any event, such behavior should be stopped and those who have previously left Mass right after Holy Communion without a legitimate/satisfactory reason should make reparation to our Blessed Lord Jesus. Keep in mind what Holy Scripture says about receiving the Eucharist unworthily...

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord." (1 Cor. 11:27)

The above illustrates that Catholics should NOT depart Mass early (whether one has had Holy Communion or not) and, in fact, we should stay AFTER Mass for a proper thanksgiving. It is also good to remember that "the first person to leave Mass early was Judas."

Unfortunately however, certain events may occur (hopefully extremely infrequently!) in which it might be justifiable for a Catholic to exit before the final blessing. For example, if an emergency occurs. Obviously exiting Mass early should NOT be done outside of legitimate necessity & one should NOT make a habit of it (outside of some legitimate necessity, of course). And remember that if one's early departure occurs before a certain point, the abbreviated Mass attendance may not satisfy the person's Sunday obligation. Also, if a person knows in advance that he/she will have to leave early for some legitimate reason, he/she might want to sit near the end of a pew in the back of the church in order to avoid disruption, causing scandal, setting a bad example, etc.

Regrettably in our age, there may also be situations (e.g. cases of extreme abuse at Mass – such as the intentional use of invalid materials, the pseudo-consecration by those not in Holy Orders, etc.), where it may be appropriate or necessary to walk out of the church before the service is over. Should such events occur, find another Mass and contact the appropriate Church authorities.


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