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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Does mass “count” if we didn’t say the Gloria or Creed on Sunday?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

The simple answer is “Yes.” The priest may just have forgotten to lead the community in the prayer or may have a good pastoral reason for omitting it (e.g., a baptism during Mass, time constraints, etc.)

Could I also gently challenge the questioner? Where do these “does it count” questions come from? What spirit elicits in us this need or desire to worry about what “counts”? For some, Mass devolves into doing the bare minimum: “Does Mass “count” if I’m there from offertory to communion?” And those who leave before the final blessing make me wonder why they come at all, although again, maybe someone has a real need to leave immediately after communion: e.g., a sick child or elderly parent who needs assistance. I just can’t believe one could always have that urgent a need to bolt early.

I would suggest we not worry too much about what “counts” and focus more on the loving worship and celebration the Eucharist really is. At Mass we receive the gift of God’s very being (that’s why Catholics “receive,” not “take,” communion). Any and all of it is wonderful and transformative. When we think of Eucharist this way, we are way beyond worrying about what “counts.”

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • A B

    Re: “And those who leave before the final blessing.” Some priests do not know that you cannot add any words during the Holy Mass. If personal greeting, clapping of hands, announcements, etc… must take place, it should be done after the blessing, NOT DURING THE MASS. Because of this abuse by priests, abuses that last as long as 5 minutes, often by foreign priests who cannot speak English and nobody understands what they say, many are leaving the Church before the blessing. The problem is not with the people, but rather with the priests who abuse the liturgy or who cannot speak the local language.

  • James Oliver

    There are rules about the Gloria being said/sung are based on the day of the week and the liturgical season of the year:

    (1) If there is no Gloria on a Sunday, then you have to consider the season. If it is Advent or Lent, the Gloria must be omitted during those penitential seasons. But if is a Sunday outside of Advent and Lent, there would have to be an extremely serious reason, such as the priest’s serious obligation to leave the church by a certain time on the clock.

    (2) If there is no Gloria on a day other than Sunday, then that is usually normal. The only weekdays on which you should expect to hear the Gloria are those that have the rank of “feast” or “solemnity.” There are only between ten and twenty of each of these during the course of a year — and some of them fall on Sunday anyway. (Note that this does not include days that have the rank of “memorial” or “optional memorial” — i.e., most saints’ days.)

    That is when to expect to hear the Gloria which a most beautiful hymn/prayer.

    So the reasons why it would be omitted include at least two possibilities:

    (1) The Church’s liturgical law calls for it to be omitted usually.

    (2) The law calls for it to be said or sung, but a grave reason allows the priest to abbreviate the Mass.

  • James Oliver

    There are rules about the Creed:

    Thus the Creed may not normally be omitted on any Sunday Mass except as indicated below.

    During the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday (but not on other Sundays of Easter Season), the renewal of baptismal promises and sprinkling with holy water replaces the Creed.

    This is to emphasize the traditional connection of Easter Sunday with baptism and because the profession of faith is included in the baptismal promises.

    Likewise, whenever baptism or confirmation is celebrated during Mass the profession of faith is omitted because the baptismal promises are either made or renewed during the rite.

    The text of the Creed is usually that of the so-called Nicene Creed. According to the new Latin missal the Apostles’ Creed may be used during Lent, Easter and at Masses for Children. Some countries have received permission to use the Apostles’ Creed every Sunday.

    The rite of sprinkling with holy water at Easter should not be confused with the similar rite of blessing and sprinkling of holy water which may replace the penitential rite and the “Lord, have mercy” at the beginning of most Masses with a congregation.

  • Steve

    While I agree with Fr. Malloy that questions about whether a certain degree of attendence fulfills a Catholic’s Sunday obligation often suggest that people are trying to do the bare minimum, I don’t get the impression that the writer of today’s question was going down that road.

    Instead, I think that he or she was more concerned about the validity of the Mass, rather than meeting their obligation (which Fr. Malloy also answered).

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