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?


  1. 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.
  2. Spend time in prayer. Pray specifically for all those who are also unable to attend Mass.
  3. Make a Spiritual Communion.
  4. 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.

3 thoughts on “What To Do When Attending Mass Is Impossible

  1. Thank you for the Mass. I am allergic to so many things that it makes it very difficult to attend Mass. I am deeply touched by your daily Mass.

  2. Thank you for the masses on EWTN. I have had several surgeries on my spine and hips recently and have been essentially housebound. Your programs, masses, the rosary are very welcomed and comforting.

  3. I am so deeply grateful for EWTN and its mission! I have 4 different musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and cardiac ailments that have progressed to the point that I am in such pain and weakness that I spend a major part of my days and weeks in bed stretched out to relieve some of the pain and pressure. I watch some TV to distract myself from it. But I especially love EWTN TV and RADIO because it is not mindless. It is comforting, consoling and inspiring, educational. It is my companion in hours of severe pain and loneliness. I love the Mass, various devotions, the films and talk shows, the teaching programs. Pretty much everything! It keeps me company in the wee hours when sleep is impossible. Uplifting when anxiety and sadness overwhelm me. I am so thankful and pray for all EWTN and the Friars etc. I have 2 questions: is there a possibility of including Liturgy of the Hours Lauds, Vespers, Compline in your programming now that you have various channels in various time zones globally? Second question is: would you consider late/older vocations to the priests and Brothers so that you can build up your membership esp to keep EWTN mission continuing? Thanks so much for your prayers and outreach to the sick, suffering and homebound. God bless you all!

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