Does Mass Count If You Watch It on TV?

By pintswaquinas March 28, 2024

The first Mass happened approximately 2,000 years ago on the first Holy Thursday. Since then, much of the Mass has stayed the same, including the miracle of transubstantiation. Priests still repeat Jesus’ words: “Take, eat; this is my body.”

Some things have changed, including the way people participate in Mass. While televised and streaming Masses have been around for a while, they became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic since many churches were closed. Lots of Catholics became so used to watching Mass from home that they continued to do so after churches reopened.

This raises the question: Does watching Mass on your TV, computer, or phone fulfill your Sunday obligation?

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Does Mass count if you watch it on TV?
The answer is no. The Church requires you to be physically present at Mass.

The Church does teach, however, that you can be relieved of your Sunday obligation for serious reasons, such as illness or dangerous weather. If you have to stay home, you can decide whether to watch a live-streamed Mass. You are not obliged to do so; therefore, there’s no need to confess skipping it.

If you do watch a livestream on a device, you can still pray along with those in attendance, listen to the homily and make an act of spiritual communion with Christ.

But virtual Masses will never replace actually being at Mass. We live in an age where we communicate with each other more through screens than face-to-face. Virtual communication has its benefits, but we need to reprioritize in-person relationships. Attending your parish each Sunday for Mass is one way of doing that.


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