Graveyard Shift and Sunday Obligation?

Hi there,

I’m hoping to get some clarity here and I hope someone can help me. Here is the situation. I befriended someone over the summer who is a Catholic like myself. As the friendship grew, this individual told me that they don’t attend Sunday Mass because work (graveyard shift) leaves them too tired. He then went on to say that he skipped sleeping to watch football all afternoon. I pointed out what he had just said and asked if he couldn’t get to Mass right after his shift ended in the morning. If one can make the effort to watch football, surely one can make the effort to attend Mass. I urged him to find a way to go because it is a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass. He said I was judging him and that I had committed the sin of pride.

I really took what he said to heart and have been trying to get an answer as to what my obligation was in this situation. Was I out of line for pointing out that missing Mass is a grave sin? Does working graveyard shift excuse a person from their Sunday obligation?


Does the “graveyard shift” run from 4pm Saturday to 7AM Sunday? He should be able to get to a Mass either before work Saturday or after Work Sunday or possibly late Sunday morning (11 or 12:30 Mass) or even evening 6 or 7 PM Sunday at another parish?

You are doing as the Church suggests Admonishing the Sinner to turn from their ways.

You are doing as the Church suggests Admonishing the Sinner to turn from their ways.

Amen! I worked 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and I always attended the Sunday vigil mass then, the night before.

Suggesting that is not judgmental; it is an aid to salvation!

No, you were not judgemental. You were trying to help a friend. Sometimes people just feel guilty and lash out at the other person. Just keep setting a good example.

I agree with Br Rich. I worked some graveyard shifts on a Sat. night and made sure of attending Sunday Mass, even if I was extremely tired. Then I went home and went to sleep.

This person is also placing Football ahead of his Sunday obligation, which is against the 1st Commandment.

Just yesterday I was looking at the “Three Secrets Strategies of Satan”:

  1. All opinions are equal
  2. Never judge anyone
  3. Never step on toes

Jesus does not say we cannot judge, just that we are not to judge in a manner of condemnation, or borne from hypocrisy (double-standard & self-righteousness).

We cannot judge the state of a person’s soul, but we can and should make judgments of behaviour and attitudes, out of love to admonish a sinner and encourage him or her to repentance.

So, you only commited the sin of pride if you were doing it out of self-righteousness. Does that help/

i *urged him to find a way to go because it is a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass. He said I was judging him and that I had committed the sin of pride. *

**Does he realise that he just judged you? **After all who is HE to judge that you are prideful and judging?
Well from how I read your post you just told him the facts. It is a mortal sin to miss Mass. You didn’t judge his particular actions for each Sunday he missed.

I’d like to add another question to that of the origional poster, because I think it fits. I know someone who works 7AM-8PM Saturday and Sunday. How could this person satisfy the requirement? I don’t know of any 8:30PM or later vigil masses in this area.

This is a very different scenario. Now if it were me I would look into racing to a Mass during a lunch break. BUt if it is only a half-hour that wouldn’t help

I would try very hard to get a different schedule. rather than work 7AM-8PM Saturday and Sunday. I’m guessing though that that is a 12 hour shift with a 1 hour lunch break rather than a 30 minone.

Back in the old days, your friend might well have had a valid excuse. Pre-V2, the only Sunday masses were in the morning. That has changed in most places with vigil and/or Sunday evening masses.

But then, maybe you’re in one of the locales with relatively few Catholics and only Sunday morning to attend.

I worked from 11PM-7:30AM from 1985 through 1994. I always attended Mass at the end of my shift, which was very convenient. The person may be new to this type of schedule and still adjusting to the shift, but once he does, it should not be a problem. However, given the comments that he made when told that deliberately missing Sunday Mass is a sin, I am not sure that he wants to adjust anything in his life. :crying:

Last summer I worked a late shift from 11-7 and rushed to get to an early Mass after my shift ended. It’s tiring, but eventually you adjust (not that I’m upset I don’t have to do that anymore).

I could certainly see where someone who either works hours that doesn’t enable him to attend Mass or works a schedule which leaves him in a tough spot due to tiredness or what have you might be validly excused. (Though even if that is the case, one ought to find some manner of dedicating time for prayer.) But if you’re skipping sleep to watch football and can’t manage to find a noon Mass or something when you’re watching the game, well now we have a problem, Houston.

As far as being judgemental, I don’t think you were by any means. However, sometimes there is a certain style in how you go about saying something which can tend to elicit a better or worse reaction.

Pax vobiscum!

I worked a graveyard shift from 11-7 and then stayed up to go to 8:30 Mass. I was very tired, but it wasn’t really that much effort to go to Mass.

In Christ,

As a 3rd shifter who works Saturday nights, I side with you on this issue. Your friend has lots of ways in which he can work this out. He can go to Mass on Saturday evening; he can go to a later mass on Sunday; or he can Tivo the games he wishes to watch, go to the early Sunday Mass, and sleep the rest of the day.
As for the judging thing… he’s simply using that as a way to get you to stop because he knows you’re correct and he has no way in which to defend his actions. Is your friend a parent? If so, does he allow his kids to hang out with kids who sell drugs? If he doesn’t, allow this, then he is guilty of judging others. If he does allow it, he’s guilty of being a fool. I seriously doubt that Christ is forbidding us to make judgments concerning what is right and wrong. In fact the Bible says that we are to admonish a sinner. In other words confront the sinner and point out his sin so that he might recognize it as sin and stop doing it. This sounds like what you were attempting to do.

…or stagger off to church immediately after. I rarely work this shift and look ahead for Holy Days of Obligation to avoid the temptation of relegating God to secondplace or having to take the shift off because in the end only God matters.I always have Holy Week off for this reason ( I love the oportunity to attend the week’s ceremonies at my church).

When I was working 2000-0600 Sat->Sun, I went to the 1730 vigil mass, no problem. When I got moved to a different site and a different skid (1800-0600), I first tried going straight to the 0700 mass at the OLAM Shrine, but my digestive tract just rebelled too much at that change in sleep timing. The past few Sundays I’ve gone home and straight to bed, then gotten up at 1015 to make it into town to the 1100 Mass, then back home to bed until 1600 or so.

I love to watch football and NASCAR races, too, but for the time being, they can just go without being watched. Anyhow, there’s a channel on DirectTV that replays the four best Sunday games later in the week.

When they get the factory built (right now I’m guarding a construction site) and their security requirement goes to 24/7, I’ve got dibs on weekday dayshifts, 'cause I lost the coin toss and got weekend nights again.


I have a similar (but different) problem with working first shift most weekends. I go to the Saturday evening mass. It’s gotten to be such a habit that I even go when I am off on Sunday. For most shift workers, the problem can be worked around, it’s just a matter of what’s truly important to you.

I don’t think you were wrong to point out that missing mass is a sin. We have an obligation to live for the truth. In my personal opinion, the command from Jesus not to judge includes statements like “you are a horrible, despicable person who will burn in hell because you didn’t attend mass.” That’s being judgemental.

Remember Jesus preached the truth in love. People didn’t always love him back. I think a common response was “This is a hard saying, who can accept it?”.

I will pray for this person.


No, you weren’t out of line and not he has not reason to miss Mass. You might want to Remind him of the apostles who fell asleep in the garden. What was Christ’s response to them? They were all saints and yet they messed up. Would you consider to be judgmental of them or their actions?

With respect,

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a series of liturgical and evolutionay rites.

I think of the early Christians who fled to the depths of Rome in the underground catacumes (sp?) and in fellowship spoke of the Prophet and the Man, who had changed their lives. They were willing to die for Him; flesh ripped apart by lions. ALL had never met him.

WHAT was the message and Faith these people carried? That is the core, that is the TRUTH.

There are now 20,000+ Christian denominations, according to academic authority.

Yes indeed the Roman Church has almost perfect decendency from Peter (hey, there were once several Popes at the same time, and then again that unfortunate Eastern Rite leaving the Roman Rite in the year 1000 or so… hummmm).

Sunday obligation? Ya, get to Church even if tired.
Mass is said sometime every day of the week. I happen to think our God wants you to think of Him always… Get to Mass, yes… but Saturday evening before your graveyard shift is VERY easy to do. HUH? And, LOVE your fellows all you can, smile always.

IF YOU had had a near-death experience like myself, you would know that ‘doctrine’ is man-made, and your conscience is your guide… it speaks from inspiration - don’t ignore it, ever.

Go to Mass Monday… but Praise God in all you DO, endlessly, tirelessly, in absolute patience.

Blessings for all come without fail from our One God!

Patrick Crawford
a Baha’i, from the Christian (Catholic) tradition.


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