Brothers Not Going to Mass!

I’m an oldest child and the first to be out on my own. My brothers, 15 (16 in a few days) and 22 (who lives with my parents and goes to college) misses pretty frequently because he works on Sunday mornings at McDonald’s and doesn’t make it a priority to go on Saturdays. He’s not very independent and I can’t see him going on his own without my family and my family is very into their established routine of “their” Mass time on Sunday. The 15 yo misses when he stayed up too late the night before with friends, etc. He usually goes with my parents but no one bats an eye when he misses from time to time.

This makes me crazy! My parents aren’t the strict put your foot down type, but I don’t see how they can let this slide.

I don’t know what to do about it! Since I am the oldest and the only girl, and the church freak of the family, I’m unsure of how a message from me would be receieved, but I don’t feel like I can just let this go. (right now I’m kind of angry since I just heard about the 15yo missing today and I know I need to “cool off” before taking any action.)

Who do I even talk to–my parents, my brothers? What’s a good approach to take here? I’m also kind of upset that no one in their church takes issue or brings it up–like maybe the pastor?!! He knows my family and I’m sure he notices “holes” in the family with my brothers not there.

Arghhhh! Please say a prayer for me and give me some advice if you can!

Thanks so much!

:stuck_out_tongue: Oh my, do you ever sound like me! I eldest, and the church-freak. Unfortunately, if you brothers are anything like my sisters, you mentioning it to them might not do a whole lot… “Oh, don’t listen to cathyt, she’s the crazy church-freak…” Leading by example and praying for them is probably the best thing you can do right now. As for your brother who is almost 16, the tough thing about teenagers that age is that your parents probably don’t want to alienate him by forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do. They probably want to make church a positive experience, not a negative I’m-only-going-because-my-parents-made-me one… but I don’t know your parents, so this is only speculation.

You said your other brother would probably go if the rest of the family went with him on Saturday? Are you in a position where you could offer to go with him, whenever he has to work on Sundays? Perhaps then he’d be more willing to go himself.

Other than that, pray, pray, pray! Prayer is a powerful tool that we can take advantage of anytime, anywhere. Also, maybe when ever you’re around them, mention something you found nice about the last Sunday Mass you went to, how glad you are that this sacrament is available to us, and even every day if we wanted, etc. :thumbsup:

I wanted to put my :twocents: in here since I have gone through and am still going through a similar situation. I am the oldest of 3 boys in our family. I am married with 3 children and #4 on the way. My wife and I are very involved with our faith and we take it very seriously. Meanwhile the rest of my family can seem wishy washy at times. While my parents follow the faith to, they seem to be lax in certain areas of what the Church teaches. My other two brothers are married and one had 3 kids the other has none. The one right below me has taken steps in the right direction with the faith, however, he still seems to be part of the “cafeteria” crowd. I cn do this because God will still love me type mentatily. He and his wife (who converted last year) are “following” the faith to a degree, but still I am not sure how much. What do we do for them? We pray. That is about all that we can do since they have a fit when you try to talk to them about religion.
My other brother used to be very religious and follow the faith very much, but since he was married they have both fallen away. His wife is very liberal and very much a feminist in a way. Not an extreme one and not one that is agreeable. She falls somwhere above the middle of that. However, this has been a contributing factor to them falling away from the church and the Catholic faith (they are both Catholic). This hurts me to know that someone (my brother) who had some influence over me to get back into the faith more fully, has now fallen so far. What can we do? We pray.
At this point that is all we have. My parents are under the impression that talking to them is to be imposing and that hurts. My relationship with my brothers is virtually no existant. Why? My faith is the most important part of my life along with my family and this does not mesh well with them. The do not like to talk about Catholicism, I on the other hand love to. We are social when we see each other, but we live in seperate cities and we do not hardly talk on the phone. I do not know what else to do right now other than pray.
I am not sure that I answered any of your questions or concerns aside to say that you should pray for your brothers. I think that if you felt comfortable enough (and calm enough) to talk to them, then you could do so in a loving manner. If you do not feel that it is a conversation that you can have with them, or one that they would be receptive to, I can understand the need to back away. That is what I have had to do. Back away. I have voiced my concerns to my parents and you may want to do the same. It should be their responsibility as parents (no matter what age the kids are) to have them going to church. It is the whole saying “my house my rules.” A lot of that would depend upon if your parents were able to be encouraging to your brothers about going to church or if they have an apathetic attitude towards it.

There’s a lot you can do, both for them and yourself:

  1. Lead by example. They will notice!

  2. Trust that God knows what He’s doing. Instead of asking “Please make my brothers attend Mass,” ask God “Please guide my brothers to Yourself in the best way possible.”

  3. Tell God that your brothers’ spritual well-being is very important to you. He already knows this of course, but He’ll like to hear it.

  4. Be ready with good answers to the questions that will come eventually, like “Why do you go to Mass?” or “What do you get out of it?”

They’ll come around. We all have to face the Truth someday.

Remember the old saying…You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

Thanks to those who replied. I am really thinking that for the 15yo I may try to talk with him. We are very similar in personality and I think he respects me in a way that would make him receptive to me. I will wait until a time when I can make the conversation very casual and relaxed–let the Holy Spirit lead it.

As for the 22 yo–I really don’t know. He has always been very receptive to children and our first is on the way so maybe through this little guy we’ll be able to reach out to him in a special way. My own work situation and the fact that I live an hour from my family would make it tough to go to Mass with him regularly, but I think I could try to fit in some special brother-sister time between now and when our little one is born–either with or without a Saturday night Mass attatched to help solidify our connection as family and my support for him.

All of you are right. I know I need to really turn to prayer for these two special men in my life, my brothers. Being the oldest, I sometimes do try too hard to act as a mother to them, but I don’t think it’s off-base to ask St. Monica for prayers here too. Since she was so persistent and faithful in her prayers for her son and husband, I think that I can certainly turn to her example and ask her to pray with me.

Thanks and God bless to anyone else struggling with a dear family member who you love so much in a similar situation.

It looks like you are married with a beautiful child on the way. That’s wonderful and God Bless your family.

However if your brothers are 16 and 22 and raised as you were, I suspect they know full well, as do your folks, what they are doing and are completely responsible for the well being of their own souls.

Don’t let it make you crazy. All you can do is pray and lead by example. If there is a transportation issue, maybe offer a ride as needed for those that need it or a friendly wake up call for the brother who stays up too late. Maybe the younger one can join a youth group? Those tend to make mass together as a group and it puts a little more tender peer pressure to make mass a priority. Maybe also hint that soon you will need to choose a godparent for the baby - one who actually attends church is a good candidate! Hint hint.

Other than that - you’ve done what a good sister can, but in reality, they are mature enough to be responsible for their own souls. Let the Good Shepherd watch over them and call them back by your example of a good wife and new mother soon. God Bless.

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