A Question about Mass Attendance


#1

My girlfriend lives in near a very small town (it's more like a village) about an hour and a half or so away from my city, and I want to go visit her in August. However, she's only free on a weekend, and where she lives I can't seem to find a Catholic parish around. When it comes to Sunday, I know I need to go to Mass and I'm trying to find out if there is a parish somewhere else nearby. There is also the possibility of catching a Mass at 7:00 PM.

If I'm not able to find a parish that I can attend, should I talk to a priest or even my bishop about this? I don't mean to waste their time, but I really want to see my girlfriend. What do you think I should do?


#2

[quote="Cruxis117, post:1, topic:331367"]
My girlfriend lives in near a very small town (it's more like a village) about an hour and a half or so away from my city, and I want to go visit her in August. However, she's only free on a weekend, and where she lives I can't seem to find a Catholic parish around. When it comes to Sunday, I know I need to go to Mass and I'm trying to find out if there is a parish somewhere else nearby. There is also the possibility of catching a Mass at 7:00 PM.

If I'm not able to find a parish that I can attend, should I talk to a priest or even my bishop about this? I don't mean to waste their time, but I really want to see my girlfriend. What do you think I should do?

[/quote]

Go to Mass where ever your girlfriend goes to Mass. :)


#3

[quote="Cruxis117, post:1, topic:331367"]
My girlfriend lives in near a very small town (it's more like a village) about an hour and a half or so away from my city, and I want to go visit her in August. However, she's only free on a weekend, and where she lives I can't seem to find a Catholic parish around. When it comes to Sunday, I know I need to go to Mass and I'm trying to find out if there is a parish somewhere else nearby. There is also the possibility of catching a Mass at 7:00 PM.

If I'm not able to find a parish that I can attend, should I talk to a priest or even my bishop about this? I don't mean to waste their time, but I really want to see my girlfriend. What do you think I should do?

[/quote]

Why don't you invite your gf to attend Mass with you? I'm presuming she isn't Catholic, otherwise you'd simply ask her where the nearest parish is, right? If you are dating her to discern whether there's a possible marriage in the future, wouldn't you like to know that she would support you in your faith?

Find out where the nearest parish is, and schedule in the Mass prior to the weekend and inform your gf. You're driving for 90 minutes to visit with her; surely you'd drive a little out of your way, if necessary, to worship the #1 priority in your life?

Most diocesan websites have a listing of parishes by city, with their contact information.


#4

[quote="Cruxis117, post:1, topic:331367"]
I can't seem to find a Catholic parish around. What do you think I should do?

[/quote]

Call the diocese and ask where the people in that town would attend Mass.

My son is currently in the jungle of Panama. He hikes two hours through the steep jungle to attend Mass. Sometimes there is no priest, so its a Word and Communion Service. He begins hiking before 5 am.

I bet you can find a way to attend Mass and visit your gf.

Peace.


#5

catholicdirectory.org/


#6

if all else fails drive back closer to your city for an early Sunday AM mass. You can/probably be back in time for a 9AM breakfast.

Posted from Catholic.com App for Android


#7

[quote="Cruxis117, post:1, topic:331367"]
My girlfriend lives in near a very small town (it's more like a village) about an hour and a half or so away from my city, and I want to go visit her in August. However, she's only free on a weekend, and where she lives I can't seem to find a Catholic parish around. When it comes to Sunday, I know I need to go to Mass and I'm trying to find out if there is a parish somewhere else nearby. There is also the possibility of catching a Mass at 7:00 PM.

If I'm not able to find a parish that I can attend, should I talk to a priest or even my bishop about this? I don't mean to waste their time, but I really want to see my girlfriend. What do you think I should do?

[/quote]

The bottom line is that deliberately missing Mass just to see your girlfriend is not a justifiable reason and would be a sin.
Why is it an issue if you can attend the 7 pm Mass. Any Mass on Saturday evening or at anytime on Sunday fulfills your obligation.


#8

So if I understand correctly, you are going to be out of town one weekend during August on a really brief vacation. Let’s leave your girlfriend out of this for the time being, because she is sort of irrelevant here (we’ll discuss her later)

I’m calling this a vacation because it’s different than having to go to a softball game in your town, or going fishing and wanting to leave early so that you can get them while they’re biting. It’s an occasional thing that you are doing. Personally, I don’t see this as being any different than if you were to fly to the other side of the country for a week. Just a little bit shorter and a little bit quicker.

First of all, some people suggest you look up to see where there is a Mass nearby. That’s a really good idea. Let me throw in a couple of more resources:

[LIST]
*] masstimes.org/
*]There is an Android app for it too. (though I haven’t used it personally, it’s in the Play Store)
*]There is also an iPhone app (and I don’t have an iPhone, so I have no idea if it works or not)
[/LIST]
Let us say that there is not a Mass within a reasonable distance (don’t forget to include an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy in that formula). Let us also say that there is not an Eastern Orthodox Liturgy (which is a valid celebration of the Eucharist…and it’s good if you can’t reach a Mass/Liturgy celebrated by a church in communion with the Holy Father, even though they won’t allow you to receive communion, chances are)

What is a reasonable distance/travel time? That is up to your conscience. Not up to me, not up to anybody else…including any other respondent on this thread. Think about this, though. The next time you go to confession…is it something that you would feel compelled to confess? If so, it’s not reasonable.

God does not ask us to do the impossible.

As a note: I was stationed on a mountaintop communications site in Turkey for a year. We did not have a Catholic chaplain there…less than 40 of us on site. Our support base, located down a treacherous mountain road about 2-4 hours away, only had a Catholic chaplain stationed there for 3 months out of my tour. The only other alternative was either the Vatican embassy or the Spanish embassy.

Is 2-4 hours doable? Well…when it was 4 hours, that meant there was a snowstorm. So, no, not doable. When it was 2 hours, still, it was tough. Did I make it? Occasionally. I’d have to reserve a truck, schedule a Turkish security guard – had to go through some pretty nasty areas to get to the support base, offer rides to anybody else who wanted to go down, park at the support base, get a cab to the Embassy, and hope to make it there all in time. And that is assuming I didn’t just come off of a mid-shift or scheduled to work either day shift or swing shift that day.

Did I feel guilty when I didn’t make it (which, in all candor, was most of the time)? No. Did I have reason to feel guilty? No. God doesn’t ask us to do the impossible.

As for your girlfriend…all I’m going to say is don’t put yourself in a near occasion of sin.


#9

[quote="Cruxis117, post:1, topic:331367"]
My girlfriend lives in near a very small town (it's more like a village) about an hour and a half or so away from my city, and I want to go visit her in August. However, she's only free on a weekend, and where she lives I can't seem to find a Catholic parish around. When it comes to Sunday, I know I need to go to Mass and I'm trying to find out if there is a parish somewhere else nearby. There is also the possibility of catching a Mass at 7:00 PM.

If I'm not able to find a parish that I can attend, should I talk to a priest or even my bishop about this? I don't mean to waste their time, but I really want to see my girlfriend. What do you think I should do?

[/quote]

Put it this way, you won't be wasting your pastor's time by talking to him about this.

Pastors would much rather give some information (and perhaps a dispensation) beforehand instead of dealing with it in confession afterwards.

I would suggest you give it a bit of thought ahead of time though. If I were your pastor and you emailed me exactly what you wrote here, my first question would be "if you're staying the weekend, what are the sleeping arrangements?!"

I'm just sayin' that you might want to use some different words:D


#10

[quote="markomalley, post:8, topic:331367"]
So if I understand correctly, you are going to be out of town one weekend during August on a really brief vacation. Let's leave your girlfriend out of this for the time being, because she is sort of irrelevant here (we'll discuss her later)

I'm calling this a vacation because it's different than having to go to a softball game in your town, or going fishing and wanting to leave early so that you can get them while they're biting. It's an occasional thing that you are doing. Personally, I don't see this as being any different than if you were to fly to the other side of the country for a week. Just a little bit shorter and a little bit quicker.

First of all, some people suggest you look up to see where there is a Mass nearby. That's a really good idea. Let me throw in a couple of more resources:

[LIST]
*] masstimes.org/
*]There is an Android app for it too. (though I haven't used it personally, it's in the Play Store)
*]There is also an iPhone app (and I don't have an iPhone, so I have no idea if it works or not)
[/LIST]
Let us say that there is not a Mass within a reasonable distance (don't forget to include an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy in that formula). Let us also say that there is not an Eastern Orthodox Liturgy (which is a valid celebration of the Eucharist...and it's good if you can't reach a Mass/Liturgy celebrated by a church in communion with the Holy Father, even though they won't allow you to receive communion, chances are)

What is a reasonable distance/travel time? That is up to your conscience. Not up to me, not up to anybody else...including any other respondent on this thread. Think about this, though. The next time you go to confession...is it something that you would feel compelled to confess? If so, it's not reasonable.

God does not ask us to do the impossible.

As a note: I was stationed on a mountaintop communications site in Turkey for a year. We did not have a Catholic chaplain there...less than 40 of us on site. Our support base, located down a treacherous mountain road about 2-4 hours away, only had a Catholic chaplain stationed there for 3 months out of my tour. The only other alternative was either the Vatican embassy or the Spanish embassy.

Is 2-4 hours doable? Well...when it was 4 hours, that meant there was a snowstorm. So, no, not doable. When it was 2 hours, still, it was tough. Did I make it? Occasionally. I'd have to reserve a truck, schedule a Turkish security guard -- had to go through some pretty nasty areas to get to the support base, offer rides to anybody else who wanted to go down, park at the support base, get a cab to the Embassy, and hope to make it there all in time. And that is assuming I didn't just come off of a mid-shift or scheduled to work either day shift or swing shift that day.

Did I feel guilty when I didn't make it (which, in all candor, was most of the time)? No. Did I have reason to feel guilty? No. God doesn't ask us to do the impossible.

As for your girlfriend...all I'm going to say is don't put yourself in a near occasion of sin.

[/quote]

I don't think that your situation is at all comparable to the OP. You were not on the mountaintop by choice. You were not there on a vacation, or on an optional visit for pleasure. Often, your shift work precluded Mass attendance. You asked if 2-4 hours each way was doable--but the OP is only traveling 90 minutes maximum (and surely over less dangerous and better maintained roads).

God does not ask the impossible. On your mountaintop, regular Sunday Mass attendance was impossible. However, it seems to me that finding a Mass sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday evening, even though the OP will spend much of the weekend in a small town on an optional personal visit, is quite possible.

For the OP--you asked, what should I do? My recommendation: go to Mass. Find a Mass within a reasonable distance. Or, plan your visit so that you return to your city to attend a late Sunday Mass. If it is a "city," surely there are 5 p.m. or 7 p.m. Masses.

I guarantee you that most women admire commitment in a man. Your girlfriend will likely be quite attracted to your seriousness about your faith. If she's not, perhaps she's not the right woman for you.


#11

Read everything I said. Again.

We said the same thing. If he can find a Mass within a reasonable period (and reasonable is a matter of HIS conscience, not yours and not mine), then by all means go. There are some of who would say 25 miles is reasonable. Some who would say 50 miles is reasonable. I would bet that a couple of people who post on CAF would say that 150 miles is reasonable.

(And, oh by the way, I volunteered for the assignment, so yes, it was voluntary. The only assignment during my entire career that wasn’t on my “dream sheet” was when I had the unfortunate occasion of being posted to March AFB, Moreno Valley, CA. Yuk. (with due respect to anybody who lives in Mo Val) )


#12

[quote="markomalley, post:11, topic:331367"]
Read everything I said. Again.

We said the same thing. If he can find a Mass within a reasonable period (and reasonable is a matter of HIS conscience, not yours and not mine), then by all means go. There are some of who would say 25 miles is reasonable. Some who would say 50 miles is reasonable. I would bet that a couple of people who post on CAF would say that 150 miles is reasonable.

(And, oh by the way, I volunteered for the assignment, so yes, it was voluntary. The only assignment during my entire career that wasn't on my "dream sheet" was when I had the unfortunate occasion of being posted to March AFB, Moreno Valley, CA. Yuk. (with due respect to anybody who lives in Mo Val) )

[/quote]

Ease up on the patronizing tone, please. Nobody needs to be directed to read your post again. Why would you assume that I didn't read your post?


#13

Everyone, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to treat the Holy Mass in any way less than it deserves. I'm not trying to miss it, I purposefully wrote this question a month in advance because I realize that this is something that I need to make sure that I'm prepared for, that I don't leave to the last minute. Please realize that I'm not deliberately trying to miss Mass. I'm not saying "Oh, I'm going to go and see my girlfriend, forget going to church". I'm saying "I want to do everything in my power to sort this out, whether it means talking to my priest or even the bishop about this, or leaving her early to go to a late evening Mass". I just don't know which I should do.

To clarify the situation with my girlfriend, she lives with her family and we're both around the age of 20. I mention the age to point out that we're fully aware that premarital sex is a sin and that we would have separate sleeping arrangements; I have no intention of leading my girlfriend to Hell.

There is no diocese in her "town" (it's really more of a village); there isn't even a Catholic parish, it's all Protestant. That's why I'm saying I'm not sure, I've literally checked through the archdiocese website and the village website from top to bottom. I do appreciate your responses.


#14

[quote="GwenL, post:12, topic:331367"]
Ease up on the patronizing tone, please. Nobody needs to be directed to read your post again. Why would you assume that I didn't read your post?

[/quote]

Because after dressing me down, you went on to give virtually the same recommendation.


#15

[quote="Cruxis117, post:13, topic:331367"]
Everyone, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to treat the Holy Mass in any way less than it deserves. I'm not trying to miss it, I purposefully wrote this question a month in advance because I realize that this is something that I need to make sure that I'm prepared for, that I don't leave to the last minute. Please realize that I'm not deliberately trying to miss Mass. I'm not saying "Oh, I'm going to go and see my girlfriend, forget going to church". I'm saying "I want to do everything in my power to sort this out, whether it means talking to my priest or even the bishop about this, or leaving her early to go to a late evening Mass". I just don't know which I should do.

To clarify the situation with my girlfriend, she lives with her family and we're both around the age of 20. I mention the age to point out that we're fully aware that premarital sex is a sin and that we would have separate sleeping arrangements; I have no intention of leading my girlfriend to Hell.

There is no diocese in her "town" (it's really more of a village); there isn't even a Catholic parish, it's all Protestant. That's why I'm saying I'm not sure, I've literally checked through the archdiocese website and the village website from top to bottom. I do appreciate your responses.

[/quote]

That is the answer.


#16

[quote="Cruxis117, post:13, topic:331367"]

There is no diocese in her "town" (it's really more of a village); there isn't even a Catholic parish, it's all Protestant. That's why I'm saying I'm not sure, I've literally checked through the archdiocese website and the village website from top to bottom. I do appreciate your responses.

[/quote]

Well, of course, there is no diocese in her town (or village). But her village is in a diocese! So contact the diocese for that area. There are likely to be some Catholics in the village who go to Mass somewhere. You should be able to find out, from the diocese, the nearest Catholic churches to that village, and the times of Sunday Mass there.

I know you say you've checked through the archdiocese website (is her village in the archdiocese?), but does it have a map showing where each parish church is?

Call them up and find out.


#17

[quote="Joan_M, post:16, topic:331367"]
Well, of course, there is no diocese in her town (or village). But her village is in a diocese! So contact the diocese for that area. There are likely to be some Catholics in the village who go to Mass somewhere. You should be able to find out, from the diocese, the nearest Catholic churches to that village, and the times of Sunday Mass there.

I know you say you've checked through the archdiocese website (is her village in the archdiocese?), but does it have a map showing where each parish church is?

Call them up and find out.

[/quote]

Joan,

There are areas in this country where there literally are no Catholic Churches.

For example, in the Southeast (the red dots represent locations where there are churches):

http://easycaptures.com/fs/uploaded/683/4636667080.jpg

You'll notice when you get away from the Gulf Coast and away from the cities, there are large areas where there is simply nothing (the map is scaled down to show wide areas of the country)

And, by the way, just because there is a Catholic parish (or mission) there, that doesn't mean that there is a priest assigned. There are a lot of mission churches where there are circuit-riding priests who may show up one weekend a month.

Or the West:

http://easycaptures.com/fs/uploaded/683/9676554491.jpg

It is entirely believable that there could literally be no Catholic parishes in this little town where he's visiting -- or even in nearby towns. It could potentially be quite the drive.

(NB: the OP did say that he would come back early to hit an evening Mass in his home town, so this discussion is rhetorical at this point).


#18

[quote="Cruxis117, post:13, topic:331367"]
Everyone, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to treat the Holy Mass in any way less than it deserves. I'm not trying to miss it, I purposefully wrote this question a month in advance because I realize that this is something that I need to make sure that I'm prepared for, that I don't leave to the last minute. Please realize that I'm not deliberately trying to miss Mass. I'm not saying "Oh, I'm going to go and see my girlfriend, forget going to church". I'm saying "I want to do everything in my power to sort this out, whether it means talking to my priest or even the bishop about this, or leaving her early to go to a late evening Mass". I just don't know which I should do.

To clarify the situation with my girlfriend, she lives with her family and we're both around the age of 20. I mention the age to point out that we're fully aware that premarital sex is a sin and that we would have separate sleeping arrangements; I have no intention of leading my girlfriend to Hell.

There is no diocese in her "town" (it's really more of a village); there isn't even a Catholic parish, it's all Protestant. That's why I'm saying I'm not sure, I've literally checked through the archdiocese website and the village website from top to bottom. I do appreciate your responses.

[/quote]

Do talk to your own pastor.

He can help you discern which category applies to you:

a. can attend Mass, no issues
b. can attend Mass, but with difficulties
c. physically or morally impossible to attend Mass

if your situation comes under category b, you can request a dispensation from him under canon 1245--note that only the pastor can do this, not just any priest.

I would not suggest going to the bishop, because although he can dispense you, this sort of thing is best handled by the local pastor.

The point is to talk to your pastor. He can help you with this.


#19

[quote="Cruxis117, post:13, topic:331367"]
There is no diocese in her "town" (it's really more of a village); there isn't even a Catholic parish, it's all Protestant. That's why I'm saying I'm not sure, I've literally checked through the archdiocese website and the village website from top to bottom. I do appreciate your responses.

[/quote]

You might be a bit confused on what a diocese is.... the Diocese is under the guidance of the Bishop..... an Archdiocese has an Arch Bishop.

This is a poor example.... but think of a state.... the state has a Governor. All the cities and counties, all the locations, in the state come under the Governor as the leader of the state.

Every place - city, village, county, physical location is under a Diocese with the Bishop as the leader. Not every city, town, village, etc. will have a Catholic parish or mission, but the Catholic Leadership of that location comes under the Bishop or Archbishop of that Diocese.

So, even if a village does not have a Catholic parish, that village is still under the care of the Bishop of the Diocese which covers that location.

By phoning the Diocese or Archdiocese switchboard operator and telling the operator you are wanting to find the nearest Mass while on vacation, they will connect you with the correct office. Someone at that office will most likely be able to tell you where the nearest parish is for you to attend Mass while on vacation (at your girlfriend's family's home.)

I'm very pleased to hear you are planning so far in advance.

Once you have a parish and phone number, call to get the exact time for Mass. Call again when its closer to your visit. Some parishes may not have a priest each weekend, but may offer a Word and Communion Service in the absence of a priest. You may find that the nearest parish is actually your home parish.


#20

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