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Nick Frank wrote:

Hi guys,

I have recently found my faith once again through a friend after experiencing a rough break up with my high school sweetheart. I am 21 and my question pertains to my schedule. I really want to go to Mass.

I went to the Ash Wednesday services and really got something out of it for the first time in years. That said, I am a college student and have to work a job that requires I work every Saturday night and all day Sunday. I can't quit my job because I depend on it to help me through college and I want to be able to receive Holy Communion. I feel like once I go to Confession next week it would be sinful to miss Mass again for that Sunday.

There are no parishes in my neck of the woods where I can get to a Sunday evening Mass.

I feel I am in a real bind. I know I am good with God again, and my relationship problems with my
ex-girlfriend were a way of bringing me back to the Church.

I just don't know what I should do.

  • Do you have any advice or suggestions?

Thank you and God Bless.

Nick

  { If I have to work every Saturday night and all day Sunday, how can I fulfill my Sunday obligation? }

John replied:

Hi Nick,

First of all there is a difference between missing Mass and skipping Mass. There are any number of reasons the Church accepts as justifiable excuses for missing Sunday Mass.

Our Sunday obligation, while a serious matter, can be excused if it truly is impossible for you to get to Mass, either on Saturday night or Sunday. However, you should make every effort to find a Mass in your area that you can attend to meet your obligation. Many dioceses have web sites that list all the local Masses. Many colleges also might offer a Mass that you can possibly attend.

If it is truly impossible for you to meet your obligation, I would discuss the matter with your Confessor, or a priest in Confession.

That said, you might be able to attend weekday Masses. While they are not substitutes for Sunday Mass, your attendance will allow you the opportunity to worship with your fellow Catholics — they may have ideas and suggestions you hadn't thought of.

Finally, for a sin to be mortal, there must be full consent of the will. Because you have a desire to attend Sunday Mass, I am not sure whether it would be considered a mortal sin. Again, this is something you should discuss further with your Confessor.

  • Who knows?

He might even know of a Mass at a odd hour that you can attend.

Hope this helps,

John DiMascio

Mike replied:

Hi Nick,

I just wanted to add one thing to John's answer.

Whenever anything seems impossible, God can make it possible.

I would turn to prayer. All the apologists and grammarians at AskACatholic would hope that all Christians strive to set 15-20 minutes aside for daily prayer. My preference is meditating on the Gospels by praying the Rosary.

At the end of your prayer, just ask the Lord to bring people into your life that will assist you, in granting your petition, if it is in accord with God's will.

Ask Him to make the impossible, possible.

I found it very edifying that you want to go to Mass.

Many young Catholics from age 7-20 think of going to Sunday Mass as a boring Sunday hour they have to attend to please dad and mom. This can happen in traditional two-parent households as well as single-parent households, where the children, and sometimes the parent(s) have not been catechized correctly.

As a single lay Catholic who has a niece and nephews, the simplest way I have thought of expressing the value of attending Sunday Mass, and daily Mass, if possible; for the younger Catholics in our Church is as follows:

I would ask my niece Katie:

Would you ever go one week without having anything to eat or drink?

The answer would probably be: No that would be stupid! I would get hungry and start to starve.

I'd reply:

Well, the same is true in the spiritual realm. We are in a culture today where Christian values are looked down upon and where Catholic values are attacked from the secular world as well as within the Church by bad Catholics.

One needs to be able to make morally sound decisions that are based on Catholic Christian values.

Partaking in the Eucharist gives us the mind of Christ to make those solid, moral decisions, as long as we are in a state of grace. As John implied: Missing Mass without a justifiable excuse would be a mortal sin, but this shouldn't be perceived in a negative limelight, but in a positive loving limelight.

Sunday Mass is an obligation for all Catholics because it makes them better Catholic Christians for the Church and better citizens for our country. It makes them say and do the things, they should say and do in each unique life situation.

  • Could the sermon be boring? <Sure!>
  • Could the life of the parish be dead? <Sure!>
  • Could there be priests who are not interested in the spiritual needs of their parishioners? <Sure!>

  • Does this give us any reason to break the third commandment and not make holy the Sabbath by renewing our covenant at Mass? <No!>

    Especially when Catholics are blessed to have the opportunity to partake in divine nature (via receiving the Eucharist) in order to be morally guided through the next week.

Let's remember whose job description we are talking about here: God's!

  • He knows our sufferings.
  • He knows our pains.
  • He knows our trails.

Nevertheless for every bad thing in our life, He will always pull a greater good out of it,
if we persevere and pray.

  • If one starts skipping Sunday Mass, how can one be expect to make morally sound decisions that are based on Catholic Christian values?

Maybe this is the reason why the local and national news contains so many horrific accounts of various tragedies these days.

Hope this helps,

Mike Humphrey

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