Q. Does watching a Mass on television fulfill a Catholic’s Sunday Obligation?
A. Attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation is a duty and responsibility, but, of course, a great blessing.
In every Mass, the Paschal Mystery of Jesus is made present before us, as we enter into the mystery of Our Lord offering the perfect sacrifice to the Heavenly Father. In the celebration of Mass, the members of the Church worship as God’s priestly people, glorifying God and being made holy.
Sometimes, attending Mass might not be possible for some Catholics. Some are physically unable to come to a church and offer due worship to God. This may include those who are imprisoned, homebound, or ill.
Many dioceses or Church organizations will sponsor a TV Mass for the homebound as an outreach to those who cannot be physically present at a Mass. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sets guidelines for the production of televised Masses in the United States, and it is the responsibility of the individual bishop to uphold those guidelines.
A televised Mass is never a substitute for attending Mass with a community. Able-bodied persons do not fulfill their Sunday obligation to attend Mass because they would rather watch Mass on TV. We should have a strong personal relationship with Jesus as we develop our own interior life. Nevertheless, Our Lord has established the Church as the Body of Christ, and so as members of this Body, our spiritual lives have a communal dimension. We worship together, united by Christ himself, and in doing so we strengthen the faith of each other.
Watching Mass on television is a commendable practice that can be a source of conversion and spiritual growth for the viewer, and can be a means of grace. A televised Mass offers the opportunity for the viewer to identify with a community at worship, to hear the Word of God preached, and to be moved with praise and thanksgiving.
The Diocese of Lincoln sponsors a televised Mass on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. (CT) on KLKN Channel 8, in the Lincoln viewing area. For those who have cable, satellite, or internet access, a televised Mass is available everyday on EWTN.
Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest..