Of course, Catholics know that Sunday Mass is not optional. However, occasionally, there may be a grave reason that you are unable to make it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists both illness and caring for infants as examples of times that this may happen. A pastor may also give a dispensation, typically due to weather or other extreme circumstances, allowing parishioners to miss Mass.
What should you do if you encounter a situation which keeps you from fulfilling your Sunday obligation?
- Every attempt should be made to take part in the Liturgy of the Word through reading or listening to the Mass readings in your home. Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) offers a televised Mass several times a day for those who are unable to leave home.
- Spend time in prayer. Pray specifically for all those who are also unable to attend Mass.
- Make a Spiritual Communion.
- Observe the day of rest and avoid all unnecessary work.
For most of us, missing Mass will be a rare occasion, but there are many people who are unable to attend Mass because of chronic illness and other severe situations. Our community serves God through a variety of works, but one of the most important aspects of our apostolate is ensuring that all those who are homebound have the opportunity to watch and pray the Mass.
Through the ministry of EWTN, we have been privileged to help reach more than 250 million homes in 140 countries and territories with the Gospel message.