Church attendance help


Hi, everyone… I am having a problem and would love your advice and input. My DH is in the military and we live in Japan. I have a two-year-old (almost three) and a three-month-old. The problem is that we miss church a lot. They are technically good reasons, but I feel guilty constantly about it. My two-year-old is sick a lot. He wasn’t sick this much in the States, but the air here isn’t exactly the cleanest. When he gets sick, he has cold symptoms, but no fever. Last week, we missed church because my DH had bad stomach pains and had to lay on the couch when we were on our way out. In the last year and a half, he has had diverticulitis, perforated appendicitis, and gallbladder disease. He had to have his appendix removed and was in the hospital two weeks, with a month of home care afterwards, and he had his gallbladder removed. So, when he gets bad stomach pains, I get very scared. I thought I was going to have to take him to the ER, but didn’t. Last month, the baby, toddler, and I were all sick and had to stay home. Today, my toddler is sick again and I kept him here while DH went to church. I give him medicine, but it doesn’t help much. Also, when I was pregnant I missed a few times toward the end because I was exhausted and very depressed and just couldn’t seem to be able to make it. I went to confession for that already.

So, when do you keep your kids home? Should I take him, even though he has a cold? I don’t want him getting others sick. Our church is small and everyone is close together. When he stays home, he watches one of his religious videos and lays on the couch. I really don’t want to give them the impression that it’s okay to miss a lot of church, but I don’t know what to do. Is it normal to miss church a lot when you have young kids? I’m worried our priest is going to think we skip out on church a lot. I feel very guilty about this. :frowning:


The first thing I noticed is that you said your husband has diverticulitis. Just wanted to say several of my family members have that, and it is very hard to deal with–please don’t feel guilty when your husband or your family have to miss Mass to help with that illness. When you have to tend to your sick children or husband, of course you shouldn’t feel guilty, it is unfortunate but can’t be avoided :frowning:

But you are probably also feeling the loss of being refreshed spiritually at Mass every week. Is there someone who could watch your kids if they are sick for an hour or two, either so you can get to a weekday Mass or a Saturday evening Mass? That wouldn’t get you to Mass as a family, but it would probably alleviate some of the stress you are feeling.


my husband and i were told by the priest, that when one of us is really sick, we do not have to attend Mass because one of us has to look after the other, and in that case, we had a legitmate reason not to attend Mass. If your home caring for hubby and son then you do not have to attend Mass. At least that is my understanding of it. However, if your family can spare you, can hubby look after the little one while you attend Mass? Or can a friend?


I would suggest a couple of things. First, on your guilt. I’m sure most of us feel guilty when we miss Mass, even for a good reason (ok, I felt guilty when I missed Mass the day after giving birth). :slight_smile: But knowing that you do have a valid reason to miss Mass (and the care of sick persons or young children, even when they aren’t sick are valid reasons), you need to find a way to let go of that guilt. Perhaps you could find a way to get to Church for another service, or for Eucharistic Adoration if available, or even just to pray alone for an hour. It’s not the same as Mass, of course, but the time in prayer is always good for the soul . . . and may assuage your guilt some as well. Second, on a sick family. We have been blessed with a healthy child, and have not missed Mass due to him having a cold, flu, etc. But, I wonder if your son doesn’t have allergies, as opposed to occasional colds. If that were the case, and he was comfortable enough to go, attending Mass would not represent a danger of infecting others. As for colds, I make a judgement call about where I take my son when he has one. If we’re going to Grandma’s, where he is the only child, I don’t worry too much about it. Adults are more likely to have already had that particular virus anyway, and can usually mangage a minor cold without much complaint. If we have a playgroup scheduled, I don’t go unless it is a very minor cold (maybe just a runny nose). Other kids are way more likely to share germs! So, that has to be a decision you make for the good of those at your parish. Good luck with all of this.



If you are sick, if you are caring for someone is sick, or if you have to care for babies or small children you have no obligation to attend Mass so there is no need for any guilt feelings. If you feel your husband’s and children’s symptoms point to stress or other dangers to their health you have to address them, but that has nothing to do with your Mass obligation.


I agree with the others, it sounds like you have valid reasons. But if it’s any consolation, the kids will hopefully grow out of their childhood illnesses. When mine were about 1 to 3 years old it seemed they were sick all the time. But finally after about age 3, it seems it all pretty much went away and illnesses were only very occasionally after that.

I also agree with another responder (I think it was mrsfrazier?) who said that you probably are also missing the refreshment and renewal that you get from attending mass, so maybe if there’s a way you could line up a sitter for just an hour once in a while that would help you?


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