Can I get a dispensation if I need to work Saturday AND Sunday?

I work as a residential assistant at the place where I live. Every 3rd weekend, I am on duty constantly from Friday 6pm until Monday 6am, and cannot leave the premises. Keeping this job is essential to me keeping my home, and keeping my home and job are essential to my preparations for my forthcoming marriage, it is also an important work, one that I receive no pay other than my free accommodation for, and one that helps around 600 residents to live comfortably and safely. Once I am married (around 4 months) I will move out and leave this job (and emigrate, but that’s another story).

I always make every effort to get someone to cover for me so that I can at least attend the Saturday vigil Mass, but this is not always possible. When I can’t, I will try to make it to Mass on Monday, though I know this does not fulfil the Sunday obligation.

Is it possible to be given a dispensation for this situation, or am I expected to leave my home and job? In ordinary circumstances, this would be possible but undesirable. At present, with leaving the country soon and being unable to sign a new year’s contract on a lease, and needing to save money for the wedding and the period I will be unemployed when I emigrate, and for my fiancee’s and my future together, it is an impossible task. I know God does not call us to anything that prevents us from fulfilling our obligations, but, well, that’s the situation I find myself in, which is why I need advice.

I am still beginning RCIA, so am not “bound” by the precepts of the Church until I am received, which will probably be after or shortly before I leave my current work and residence. Am I sinning in the meantime if I don’t obtain a dispensation?


You don’t need a dispensation. If you can’t attend Mass, you can’t attend Mass. God does not expect the impossible. Relax. Fulfill the Sunday Mass requirement when you can. God obviously has His hand on you. Welcome. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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