Being Late For Mass



Let me confess ( if only you could give me absolution ) that I arrive late to Mass, or only just before it starts more times than I would like to admit.

Last night I had dream that I attended a Mass in a different (imaginary) right. It was only Before Mass that each person had the opportunity to place an unconsecrated wafer onto the paten in order to receive Holy Communion later. So, I asked what if someone comes late, but then still presents himself for Communion. You are going to run out, right ? The answer I got was, “If someone you love invites you his celebration (thinking birthday party) would you come to the party with the intention of insulting your host? Would you come with the intention of saying, “This party is not really on the top of my list of things to so, so if I am late it is not a big deal, right ?’”

Obviously there can be some legitimate exceptions that excuse tardiness such as having a flat tire, or maybe saving a person’s life who was in a car accident just ahead of you. But it is hard to excuse an exception that happens on a regular basis.

Some would say that, “We should just be happy the tardy person is present.”

And yes, I am happy he is there. I don’t want to look down on anyone. But, if he is not appreciating it, he is missing something that if it is not corrected it might lead him to quit coming altogether. Do we come to Mass just to fill an obligation, or do we come with a desire to grow in our love so that we might love Him as He deserves – of course that would never be possible, but out of love for Him we can at least try to grow in our love for Him. Do we want to live in Him as He desires ?

When a person comes late for Mass should he still receive Holy Communion?
In my opinion, assuming that he is in a state of grace, yes. If we waited till we are perfect to receive Him, we would never make it heaven.

Is there an emotional need to arrive early in order to adjust one’s mood to prepare ?
Is there a spiritual need to arrive early in order to pray from the depth of our heart ?





I think you answered your own question.

I used to always be late for years and years. It helps me to go to Confession, which is offered 90 minutes before Mass, do my penance, read the readings for the upcoming Mass, and say the Rosary with the rest of the congregation before Mass starts. This routine has taken me more than eight years though to settle into after my re-version. If I don’t plan I’ll slide back into being late, hiding in the back.


I think it’s important that we try to be in church before the Mass starts. It’s honouring God, it’s respectful to the priest and it’s polite to the rest of the congregation. When we normally have the chance to attend Mass at more than one time on a Sunday, I can’t see why it’s difficult to be there on time - our second Mass is at 11.00, which is quite late in the morning.

I’m sure the people who are often late are probably not late for work as often. Still, it’s obviously better that we get there at some time than not at all!


I would love to get to Mass early every time.
Not everyone who is late is so due to it not being a top priority.
I often arrive late (but only rarely after the Entry Procession)
I am very unhealthy, and it takes a lot to push myself out and go places.
When I do go out (usually only for necessary reasons), I try to conserve my energy and determine how long that energy will hold up. Then of course I start beating myself up and
thinking it is my fault…
For a few years I struggled with thoughts that “if I really wanted to make it, I would”, but I just had so little energy… and then I’d tell myself “you’re just making up excuses”, and others thought that too. (Having OCD doesn’t help much with these issues) During this time I would go through bouts of excruciating pain that doctors could not determine the cause of. Sometimes it was so bad, I would start throwing up, crouched on the floor on my hands and knees.
Then I had the massive heart attack.
And still there are numerous other health problems the doctors can’t figure out.

Problem is, I don’t particularly look unhealthy, though some can see the changes.
The Pastor at our Church is not very healthy himself, yet manages to perform almost every Mass. I admire his strength and ability, but just have not been able to find it in myself.

God bless, and pray for those who have difficulty making it.


It’s a very different matter if people have health problems which make it difficult for them to get to Mass on time. I’m only talking about people who have no good reason for being late, other than that they didn’t get up in time! :smiley:


I understand that.
My point is that I appeared to be doing such.
So next time you see someone late, maybe wonder if it could be an undiagnosed health condition…excluding hangovers.:smiley:

God bless.


Being on time is a skill that needs to be developed. Some are born into families where the skill of being on time is taught from an early age. In my home growing up, it would have been unthinkable to be late for anything, and we often arrived earlier than everyone else.

It is a simple matter of being realistic about how long things take to do, making sure not to try to be in two different places at the same time, and allowing yourself the time you need to get ready, and accounting for travel time, including an extra ten minutes for unexpected traffic.


The most common late comers at my parish have a number of children so I imagine that getting ready for Mass is a huge endeavor (not to mention those with older teens who have to talk their children into going in the first place). I am so very glad that they made it to Mass at all!


I confess I have a hard time making it to Mass on time. Summer months it’s a little easier because it gets light so much earlier, but wintertime when I have to get up and do whatever chores need to be done in the dark…ugh, it’s a struggle. We go to the 7:45 am Mass and it takes 45 mins to get to church, so in the darkest months we leave in the dark. Not to mention it doesn’t help that my husband, who’s not Catholic, has a hard time understanding that walking in as Father is walking to the alter is not being on time. I tell him I have to be at least five minutes early so I have time to pray and get my thoughts focused on what is about to take place. His church service starts at ten, so they say, but we can walk in five minutes late and everyone is still standing around visiting. Then when they do start they sing one song and then have another 5 minuets of “greeting those around you”. You could be a good ten minutes late and not miss anything. Ten minutes late to Mass and you’d be lucky to hear the second reading. We did good this morning though and made it ten minutes early. :slight_smile:


The one time I was late, I felt so badly.
(Yes, one time. I live close, have no serious physical health issues, and the weather was fabulous.)

What I truly disliked was walking behind the processional.
That just seemed so wrong.
There is a gentlemen who hands out the hymnal and worship books right at the door. (Nicest guy) He insisted that it was okay to do so.

All that said, at what point does one say, “I give up for this one and will go to the 4p service instead.” :confused:


Babies and toddlers would certainly slow a person down, for sure! :slight_smile:


For me the 10 o’clock Mass would be great, but then my husband couldn’t go. Living so far away two trips to town would be unfeasible. So for us now the 7:45 am is the best option. When I’m late I offer up my embarrassment so as to atone a little bit for my tardiness and spiritual pride I have at times.


Thanks to Everyone for their responses. Please excuse my misspelling of “rite.”

Yes, to those who explained why we can never judge another person.
We don’t know their reasons.

My thinking was, “How do I motivate myself, and give reasons to others that might help them focus on ways to evaluate and motivate themselves.”

God bless you for your perseverance. Being in a mixed marriage (with a non-Catholic) must present its own unique challenges. I can relate to your husbands attitude. Especially for someone who does not highly value the Mass. It can seem like “We didn’t really miss much by being late.”

You did well in explaining how his Protestant service is not the same thing.

In that case, perhaps comparing it to being late to something which that person places a high value on can help. Forgive me for this crass comparison, but I remember once when I was really looking forward to seeing a particular movie at the theater. I wanted to be 10 minutes early just to settle in and enjoy the emotional charge i was feeling.

Of course, worshiping God is more than just observing and being present for all the activities of the event.

Does everyone require quiet reflection time to prepare to worship ?
Or does it vary from one personality type to another ?



That’s a good analogy. If he has a particular sports franchise that he likes, or a particular movie franchise, or a band, you can make the comparison that, just as he would want to be first in line, or near the front of the line, to get tickets to the events he likes, so also, it’s good for those who love God to arrive early for Mass.

Of course, worshiping God is more than just observing and being present for all the activities of the event.

It would seem to be essential to making sure the important things happen, though.

Does everyone require quiet reflection time to prepare to worship ?

I find I need time to settle in, time to talk to people and say “hello” before I come into the Church, and time to pray before the music starts.


I love getting to church early enough to spend several minutes in prayer and to read the readings. After rushing around all morning I need that time to settle myself and put my attention on God. Even if I get to church on time, but just barely I feel like my mind is wandering for the first few minutes and am not focused on the words of the opening prayers.

As for my husband…oh the fights we’ve had Sunday mornings about getting to church on time. We’ve been married 16 years now and it’s getting better. He’s learning how important it is to me to be there in a timely manner and I’m learning to hold my tongue. My gripping doesn’t seem to move him any faster. Lol. I love him very much, but he doesn’t do anything fast. I don’t think he knows how to rush. I guess it’s being a farmer and never punching a time clock. He works hard and long, but not fast.


There is a couple that is late every single time I attend a particular parish for Sunday mass. The wife always receives communion. Personally, I wouldn’t receive unless I had already read the readings. I definitely wouldn’t receive if I’m too late for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I just don’t want to offend God. . .


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