Foregoing mass when possibly sick

Morning all, I was wanting to get some input.

I have been unable to stop coughing for the last couple of days. I don’t think I’m sick, I think it’s just sinuses. However, I also know that there has been a lot of sickness going around in my area, with excessive coughing being one of the symptoms.

Would it be licit for me to not go to mass in order to avoid the potential of getting other people sick?


If you are sick, STAY HOME. First of all, you are excused from attending Mass when you are sick. Second, you will be performing a work of mercy to avoid exposing people, especially the elderly or those with weak immune systems, from your illness.


I agree completely, if I’m sick. My question has to do with if I don’t know that I’m sick. Still, probably better safe than sorry, though I don’t like the prospect of missing mass >_>

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If your church is always utterly packed, I would say to stay home.

However, if you think you can find yourself a kind of isolated spot where your coughing can’t infect anyone, I would go…

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People will THINK you are sick, and spend the Mass not properly disposed because I knew from experience, having recently recovered from pneumonia, that if I cough ONCE, people are berating me, running the other direction, admonishing me to take better care of myself.

You can always pray the office, and the Lord knows your heart. God bless you,


My church is pretty much packed at most masses. Even the narthex tends to have several late comers / families with children. If they are also showing mass in the gathering hall then I could probably find a quite place away from people, but they only do that at Easter and Christmas when the crowds are significantly larger.

Thanks for the advice everyone, unless the coughing abates before mass, I’ll probably stay home just to be safe. If I’m feeling better tomorrow I can always make the Sunday masses, it’s just easier to go Saturday night because my wife can help with the kiddo.

you could maybe try a cough supressant medicine…

I have, they haven’t seemed to work. The Cepacol numbing cough drops have worked the best, but they only work while I’m sucking on one, and they don’t do the job completely.

I just took the medication that most often stops sinus-related issues for me, so if it’s sinuses, hopefully that’ll take care of it long enough for mass. If they don’t work, then I probably need to consider that I’m sick… again… I just got over a sickness… kids are little sickness incubators XD

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If you could be contagious you are a danger to many, many people.

Because some idiot insisted on going to Christmas Eve Mass with a cold my friend’s entire extended family got sick.

Parents–in their mid and late 60’s
(kids are in their late 20’s early 30’s)
Kid 1, his pregnant wife (my friend) and their 2yo
Kid 2, her 3mo preemie and her husband
Kid 3, music minister and her boyfriend who’s a teacher
Kid 4, his fiancee and 4 yo almost stepson.

They all got sick and it was terrible. My littles and I got it, too, though it wasn’t so bad for hubby.
Because one person decided they couldn’t miss out on Christmas Eve.

That person was a jerk.

Don’t be that person.


It depends on your usual state of health I would say. I have huge problems with my sinuses and basically have a chronic cough/runny nose with large variations in intensity depending on the weather. If I didn’t go to mass for coughing, I’d never be there. For me it would depend on other symptoms, particularly a fever, and I think this applies to many people.

With that being said, if you haven’t had similar symptoms before and are unsure if you have caught an acute illness I would stay home. 100% stay home if you have a fever or chills. I work in an ER and the flu (and pneumonia that follows it) is very deadly this year. Even younger, healthy people are being hospitalized and, unfortunately, dying from it. As unhelpful as this is: trust your gut.

I got really sick from someone at Liturgy a couple of months ago. There was a woman who was hacking into a kleenex the entire time., She was clearly ill. I work from home and I really wasn’t around people other than at Church. I was sick for two weeks. Not only was I angry that I got sick, but my 83 year old father could have gotten it.

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Consider the elderly at mass. In some cases, a common virus may be life threatening. The current flu - certainly. If you are contagious, the most frequent method of transmission is in coughing or sneezing.

I am immunocompromised and am fighting a fairly nasty metapneumovirus. The flu might well be fatal to me. I really dislike missing mass, but I neither want to acquire or transmit a virus.

Stay at home, watch mass on TV or online (EWTN, etc.), make an act of spiritual communion and simply mention your absence to father at your next confession.

Coughing is sick. There is no test of “how sick is sick”. It’s not a game of chicken.

Well, the decision was made for me. My son has a really light fever (100.2) and my wife has to work, so I can’t really go anywhere because we don’t want to take him out while he’s feverish.

Thank you for the input everyone. It is greatly appreciated.

And don’t go out tomorrow, either. Stick to the rule. Don’t go out 24 hours after the fever clears. This is an important healthcare directive.

Perhaps the moderator can combine all of the similar threads into one or pin them to the top of the page.

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Use reason…if you’re contagious, nauseous, unable to love much at Mass, stay home…

…but use that time to pray, to read Scripture, to perhaps dig into a few points of the Catechism a bit.

We shouldn’t simply turn the tube on…we can still draw closer to Our Lord, even in bed.

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When you are excused from Mass you are excused.

It is virtious to pray, but you do not have to. There is no obligation to make any sort of sacrifice in place of going to Mass.

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No, you’re excused from going to Mass, not from doing what you can to draw closer to the Lord and His will for us!

Minimalism is a sure sign of lukewarmness


You should always do what you can to draw closer to God.

Having a legitimate reason for missing Mass, HOWEVER, does not require one to do any extra prayer, sacrifice or change what you’re doing.

It’s not “lukewarmness” or “minimalism” to not substitute anything…it’s the truth. By insisting that some sort of prayer or sacrifice should be done in place of missing Mass you are cheapening the Mass itself. Nothing can take the place of Mass. This is covered in the CCC and in Cannon Law.

Good works, sacrifice and prayer are always fortuitous. However, they cannot replace Mass, nor should they…as pious as it is to embark on them if one does.

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