“Ask a Priest: Is Watching a 2017 Advent Mass OK for Now?”

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Q: There is one particular Advent Mass available online from one of my own parish priests (who has since moved to a new parish). The Mass was from 2017. Since I can’t physically get to Mass at this time, and the parish livestream isn’t always available, would it be acceptable to watch this particular Mass as a “temporary” substitute on Sundays (or whenever the Spirit moves)? Any old Mass (even out of season) available online is better than nothing, until I can physically go to Mass again. – L.R.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good that you have a desire to be able to attend Mass again. Millions of Catholics share your sentiment.

It is good, too, to remember that, if the obligation to attend Mass is lifted, you aren’t required to watch a televised Mass.

If watching a televised Mass helps you, that is fine. But technically it is not an obligatory duty.

While you could watch a 2017 Advent season Mass online, it might be good to consider Masses that are in line with the current season, since the homilies are likely more appropriate for this time of pandemic and post-election changes.

You could easily find live-streamed Masses online. Many parishes and religious houses are offering them. This is just a suggestion.

Let’s hope for a quick return of Masses that are totally open to the public.

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