Dispensation- possible in this case?


My husband works from 630 AM to 730PM Monday through Saturday, on a farm, getting one 30 minute break (if lucky) per day. It’s very hard work and he returns home exhausted.

His one day off is Sunday, and he had to negotiate hard to even get a full Sunday off- he used to have to return and work from 5 to 8 pm. We also have a baby girl (and another baby on the way!) who thinks 3am is the perfect time to wake us up every night.

Because of this, we are missing Mass all over the place. I hate it , but we are both exhausted. I try to get us to go every Sunday, but there are days when he wakes up red eyed and tired out still. It’s causing friction between us, because I’m hell bent (lol) on getting us to Mass no matter what, and he is stressed and would like just one day to not be rushed.

Would talking to a priest help? Is there some sort of dispensation we could request? As it stands we are way too close to Mortal sin, although there have been times where driving to Mass is a bad idea (so tired it is possible we could cause an accident).


Hi Nopales,

Is it possible for you to go to a Sunday evening Mass somewhere in your town or community?

Some parishes offer them, like at 5 or 6 p.m. That would fulfill your weekly obligation for you.


Isn’'t taking care of a baby a just reason for missing mass? Why not ask your priest? Maybe you husband could look into a job which is less like slave labor.


You guys certainly have a lot on your plate. Certainly speak with your priest and see what he has to say.

Peace in Christ,


One thing that strikes me is that the Mass is so important to you, thank you. Seeing this in you should be an encouragement to many. As it has already been stated you will have to meet with your Priest in regards to a dispensation. The fact that meeting this obligation sits so heavily on you may be a factor that your Priest takes into consideration.
Keep hope, God is love and he will see you threw this.


Yes, this is one of the legitimate reasons to miss Mass. It will be a short-term reason, as the children get older. But keep in mind that children are not obligated to be at Mass until the age of reason (around age 7), although most parents start bringing them before that age.

OP, is your husband’s job permanently this difficult, or will it ease off in certain seasons? My family farms, and there are times when the work is less demanding.

Also, could your husband possibly speak with his employer and ask to be off a little earlier on weekends for the sake of his family? Even a few hours would make a huge difference. I realize that milking and other chores usually happen in the early morning and in the evening, so this is possibly something that the employer can’t do, but it’s worth asking. If there are other hands, perhaps one of them would be willing to alternate with your husband every other Saturday evening do stay and do chores.

And I agree about a Sunday evening Mass. Do you live close enough to a city where there is a parish that offers this? A lot of university Catholic churches have Sunday evening Mass, which works well for many students.



Yes, talk to your local parish pastor. If he thinks it is warranted, he can grant a dispensation for this (canon 1245).



Yes, it is possible and worth pursuing. The bigger problem is the 66 hour work week and lack of breaks. How many fair labor violations can we find here? If this work is short term, as in during certain seasons, then I would think a dispensation for that time should suffice. If it is permanent, it is not safe or healthy.


Thanks for the replies! I would have replied sooner but was busy.

Unfortunately the job situation isn’t possible to change right now. The boss is definitely exploitative and refuses to hire enough workers (other than unreliable pot heads. He has a soft spot for them apparently.). In a year or two I know we will be able to get out of the situation but for now it is what it is. It’s a terribly run farm and the sooner we leave the better. I’m pretty sure it’s going to fail within 5 years- there’s a lot of troubling signs.

We are definitely going to talk to the priest. I just wanted to make sure this isn’t one of those things where he will look at us like “come on now people”.

My husband does think Mass is important but he also needs to be able to breathe. Kids aren’t obligated to come to Mass but I want them to grow up steeped in it as much as possible. The only time I don’t bring baby to Mass is when she’s clearly so fussy that it won’t help her or anyone else to be there.

Again, thanks for the replies. Will get in touch with the priest soon!


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