Holy day and kids in public school

My children are 7 and 9 both in public school. Hubby refuses to let them be late for school to attend morning mass on holy day. Our church does 7:30 night mass no vigil. My kids are in bed by 8. On a school night its just too late to drag them back out. I will go to 8:30 mass with hubby but kids have to catch the bus. Son has dyslexia and has very structured day. I just feel guilty not making them go. When they do not have school we do the holy days of course. Am I over thinking the decision to keep two very cranky kids home?

I think it is acceptable, given your circumstances. If it will give you peace, ask your pastor about a dispensation.


Do you have somewhere within an hour drive you can take them in the evening? I hope this helps. https://masstimes.org
BY THE WAY, them being late for school (depending on where they live) falls under religious protection.

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Personally I would take them.

I’ll be perfectly blunt, as they are both above the age of reason they are obligated to attend and it is on their parents if they choose not to take them. It is our moral obligation to take our children on all days of obligation. My pastor has stated on numerous occasions that if a child confesses that they didn’t attend on Sunday or a Holy Day because their parents didn’t take them, the sin is not theirs but is rather their parents.

Please understand that I am not trying to belittle your concerns, but we have taken all 5 of our young kids to to 6:30 or 7 pm masses when that was the only choice. If we do not show our children the importance of Sundays and Holy Days it gets to easy for them to find other things that are “more important” . Our first duty is to God, so we should never take from Him what is due without very good reason. The decision should never be motivated by avoiding inconvenience…


Yes, I think so. It’s up to you and your husband whether or not your kids should go or stay home. If they have a long day st school and should be going to bed, I don’t see what benefit is derived from dragging them to mass. You could however, cause them to hate Mass by dragging them there when they should be going to bed. You could always just ask them, “do you feel up to Mass tonight?” And go from there.

Getting children to bed on time probably isn’t the same thing as inconvenience. Bedtimes matter for young children.

And parents know whether taking their children to school late is acceptable or not. For some students, not a big deal. For others, the disruption of schedule could be a very big deal.

As a mom, there have been a few times when I made it to mass but had to make the prudential judgment to not get my son to mass. These were complicated situations (I’m a single mom and my ex isn’t Catholic), and I did mention it at my next confession, just in case. One time Father told me I made a good choice. Another time, he gave me a “just in case” penance.

@LoriD only you and your husband can make this call, because you’re the only ones who fully understand the needs of your children with regard to schedule, sleep, etc.

You can give your pastor a call.
You can check out the schedule at other parishes (if there are others nearby).
You can make your kids take a nap right after school.

In the end, however, you will have to make the choice.

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Personally I would choose not to disrupt his day.

I’d check Masstimes.org to see if there is a Mass earlier in the evening near you that you could attend without disrupting the kids’ bedtime. I have to admit the 8 pm bedtime seems maybe an hour early to me for kids that age, but you know your own kids best. It would be great if you could find a Mass between say 5 and 7 pm that you could all attend as a family, but if not, you could probably get a dispensation. The downside to that is that the kids are not developing the habit that one attends Mass on holy days of obligation, and are unlikely to just suddenly gravitate to that habit when they get a few years older and stay up later.


I will see how it goes leave it up to the Lord. I’m disabled with RA so if He gives me the energy we will do our best to go. We live in the country so this is our closest Church. One priest. It’s a great Parish. Thanks for your help.


Given your disability and that of your son’s, have you considered asking if your pastor would please celebrate a private Mass at your home on the HDO?

I think there are only 3 Holy Days on this year’s calendar that would have affected the children. The rest are in the summer or they are off already, one moved to Sunday, and one has passed already.

Establishing a routine for the children to attend on these days is important too.It sets a pattern for life.

This is how I would decide if I was in your situation- if I ever pushed my children’s bedtimes later through the year for other things, such as birthdays holidays, summer vacation etc.and If I answered yes, then they would go.

Immaculate Conception this year is on Friday, and not a school night, so this is great news too.:slight_smile:

I would also ask my dh to attend later with us a family.

I hope you find a workable solution

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Most priests are just a bit too busy to celebrate a mass in a private home.

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God ALWAYS comes first. If a job or school gets in the way of getting to Mass and there are no other options, it’s better to miss work or school then to miss Mass.

Yeah, if you’re not the Kennedys and the priest is not your blood relative, the private home Mass is not happening for you in the Latin rite church. Priests can only say so many Masses a day and on a holy day of obligation they need to use their Masses reaching as many people as possible.

I think some of the Eastern church clergy are more open to doing this and it may be because of the smaller numbers of people per priest. I knew one priest from an Eastern church (cannot remember which one now) who went to the nursing home and celebrated a liturgy in the rec room for one man who was in the nursing home and could not get to the church.

The place to discuss this is with your pastor.
So far you’ve received some legit and some terrible answers. Your priest is your spiritual advisor.
Ask him and be at peace with whatever he says.


Also, part of “the rules” is dispensation by one’s pastor. He can grant that, so just explain it to him, and do what he says. Do not worry about teaching the kids the importance of Holy Days. First, they learn more by what you do than by what they are made to do. If they know you went to Mass because you could and they didn’t because they couldn’t, the lessons is still taught. Second, I am sure it will not be too long before their bedtime will permit them to attend.

My dilemma is the opposite. My wife wants our son to go that night with us even though he has already been once at school. I am thinking of going up during the day to go to Mass with him just so he is not alone. On the other hand, the music is pretty cool for that Mass.


It may not be possible to convince your husband of it, but speaking as a mom of a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old can miss an hour or two of school without it wrecking their academic careers. It’s really not a big deal at that age as long as you communicate with the teacher.


Hi, I know what you are saying. It really is not a matter of inconvenience but how much energy mom has left by bedtime. I’m disabled by RA and a mixed connective tissue disease for over 40 years. I get a few good hours fo homework, dinner etc. My kids never miss mass, son is an altar server. My 7 year old has not made communion yet. They are active in our parish with service activities. I should be happy cause they do love going. I just see the storm coming, night after halloween, get up early for school, music lessons at 4, rush for dinner and homework, my son has dyslexia and he fights me. By 7:30 my disease is kicking into high gear so by 8 I do my night meds. Hubby is going to be working. I will be going to mass with hubby in the am. I wish the mass was even a half hour earlier cause it would be easier on my health not messing with pushing back my meds. If I was well there would not be a question of going but with my disease I just can’t jump in my car and go. Like I said, I will see how it goes. The next holy day is a friday night so that is an easier scenerio for me. I just wanted opinions cause growing up Catholic I feel guilty if all my ducks are not in a row.

A few thoughts:

–The OP said it was a 7:30 Mass, which is (in terms of kids and bedtimes) a different kettle of fish from 7 PM.
–If the kids are normally asleep at 8PM, there’s a strong possibility that they may fall asleep midway through the 7:30 PM Mass.
–I’m not sure how kids sleeping through Mass in church is more educational and edifying for them than not going.
–Different kids have very different bedtimes. Back in the day, for example, Middle Kid would be down for the night by 6:30 PM. Fastforward to the present, and I’m lucky to get Baby Girl (age 5) to bed by 10 PM–so I could easily take Baby Girl to a 7:30 Mass, whereas it would have been inadvisable for Middle Kid at the same age. It makes a hug difference if one is dealing with an early bird or a night owl. So, what works well for your kids may be a disaster for the OP.

She should talk to her pastor if she is worried about this.

I think you should talk to your pastor about this–I believe you are misunderstanding the moral theology on the subject.

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