Importance of Mass not realized by friends-how to respond


#1

Recently a very dear friend of ours, someone very conscientious and helpful around the parish, told us a week ahead of time of his plan not to attend Mass in order to take care of some routine household repairs which his wife needed done. (She is a lapsed Catholic.)

This has happened on other occasions with different friends, and as an adult Catholic convert, I was really shocked. How may I respond to friends, some who are “Cradle Catholics” who blithely announce that “Sorry I won’t see you next week at Mass- I’m going to play hookey so I can clean the garage,” (or clear out the attic, get ahead in line at the shopping mall sales, etc?) We do have a Sat. Vigil Mass and two Masses on Sunday from which to choose. These reasons they give are not emergency situations, or illness -related.

I would like to say something right then and there that is firmly planted in scripture or Canon law, that will help them. What exactly would you say?

In some instances, the person is married to a lapsed Catholic (or to a protestant) spouse who rarely attends Mass for various reasons. These Catholic friends also attend Mass somewhat regularly, but often plea the need to sleep in late on Sunday (and are too busy for the Sat. Vigil Mass, etc.) I was thinking I might say something like “Oh, I wouldn’t want to have to confess that later.” Sometimes I’ve asked “How about one of the other Mass time?”

What would be the best, informative response that will get the message across? Do you think that it would help if Parish priests would say something during the homily about the importance of Mass attendance?


#2

[quote="Kathryn_Ann, post:1, topic:291754"]

Recently a very dear friend of ours, someone very conscientious and helpful around the parish, told us a week ahead of time of his plan not to attend Mass in order to take care of some routine household repairs which his wife needed done. (She is a lapsed Catholic.)

This has happened on other occasions with different friends, and as an adult Catholic convert, I was really shocked. How may I respond to friends, some who are "Cradle Catholics" who blithely announce that "Sorry I won't see you next week at Mass- I'm going to play hookey so I can clean the garage," (or clear out the attic, get ahead in line at the shopping mall sales, etc?) We do have a Sat. Vigil Mass and two Masses on Sunday from which to choose. These reasons they give are not emergency situations, or illness -related.

I would like to say something right then and there that is firmly planted in scripture or Canon law, that will help them. What exactly would you say?

In some instances, the person is married to a lapsed Catholic (or to a protestant) spouse who rarely attends Mass for various reasons. These Catholic friends also attend Mass *somewha*t regularly, but often plea the need to sleep in late on Sunday (and are too busy for the Sat. Vigil Mass, etc.) I was thinking I might say something like "Oh, I wouldn't want to have to confess that later." Sometimes I've asked "How about one of the other Mass time?"

What would be the best, informative response that will get the message across? Do you think that it would help if Parish priests would say something during the homily about the importance of Mass attendance?

[/quote]

The person could have meant that they will not be at their regular Mass. Either way, all you can do is remind them of the Saturday vigil Mass and other Mass times. It's up to them whether they choose to sin or not. Most Catholics know it is a sin to skip the obligation. Passive-agressive comments like "wouldn't want to confess that later" don't help, people will realize you are judging them.


#3

Tough one. The problem with people like this is that they have no sense of having an absolute obligation to attend Mass. And the moment you suggest that they should view Mass attendance that way they dismiss your viewpoint as being irrelevant because it is "legalistic". Such people understand the importance of attending Mass regularly but figure their regular attendance entitles them to a few vacation days (in addition to their sick days.) They may acknowledge that there is a law that says they should attend Mass. But they think it is bad law so they are entitled to practice the Catholic equivalent of civil disobedience.

If I were going to speak to such people I think I would emphasize that for Catholics, Sunday is the Lord's Day whether we are at Mass or not. I might say something like, "Oh, I sometimes get up early and go to St. Neighboring Parish which has a 7:00am Mass so we can get started early when we absolutely need to tackle a chore. I really try to do that sort of thing during the week or on Saturdays. I like to have Sundays for the Lord and for family."

Of course then you need to be prepared to hear all the reasons why Saturday was not a possibility for their task: I was too tired after working for five days; the kids had sports all day; I had to work on Saturday; I had my regular weekly home chores; we visited family who live two hours away... :shrug:


#4

It's only an hour out of your week...I don't get how people see that as some kind of huge burden.

When I was wavering in my faith and not going to Mass, I was sinning, but at least I was honest enough to admit that it was because I just didn't want to.


#5

[quote="SMHW, post:3, topic:291754"]
Tough one. The problem with people like this is that they have no sense of having an absolute obligation to attend Mass. And the moment you suggest that they should view Mass attendance that way they dismiss your viewpoint as being irrelevant because it is "legalistic". Such people understand the importance of attending Mass regularly but figure their regular attendance entitles them to a few vacation days (in addition to their sick days.) They may acknowledge that there is a law that says they should attend Mass. But they think it is bad law so they are entitled to practice the Catholic equivalent of civil disobedience.

If I were going to speak to such people I think I would emphasize that for Catholics, Sunday is the Lord's Day whether we are at Mass or not. I might say something like, "Oh, I sometimes get up early and go to St. Neighboring Parish which has a 7:00am Mass so we can get started early when we absolutely need to tackle a chore. I really try to do that sort of thing during the week or on Saturdays. I like to have Sundays for the Lord and for family."

Of course then you need to be prepared to hear all the reasons why Saturday was not a possibility for their task: I was too tired after working for five days; the kids had sports all day; I had to work on Saturday; I had my regular weekly home chores; we visited family who live two hours away... :shrug:

[/quote]

This. You can remind them of their obligation until you are blue in the face. It is their marriage to a non-practicing Catholic or a Protestant that gives them the bad influence, but honestly even if they were alone, they might not take the obligation seriously.

For your own peace of mind, say something but not in a lecturing tone. If you are too annoyed to say it lightly, then don't say anything rather than coming off as being their mom. :shrug:

I have had to do this with my younger son, who would blow off church when he had to work either on Saturday or Sunday (usually not both, and there were Mass times when he could have gone). I would say, "Well, you do realize that it's not really a CHOICE to not go, right?" And he would say, "Yes." So then I just had to let it go. He knows he has to confess it, and I guess it's OK with him to :shrug: his shoulders about that.

His dad will sometimes skip Mass when he is in town, and NEVER goes when he is out of town.


#6

I thank you for your reply. Unfortunately in these cases, they were not just saying they would not be seen at their* regular* Mass. They were stating that they were not going to attend any Mass at all the following weekend due to household chores. That is what I was hoping to address, that there is an obligation to put Mass first. I’m not sure that stating that “I would not want to have to confess that” is passive aggressive, especially if that’s honestly the way I feel. I’m sure there are other ways to respond as well, and it’s up to the individual.


#7

I like your idea very much:saying in a friendly way that there are alternatives and other Mass times at such and such a time, as your suggested. And yes, they will have other reasons they can’t find any other time for Mass, but at least I’m defending the obligation to attend in a loving way. Thank you for your help!


#8

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:5, topic:291754"]
This. You can remind them of their obligation until you are blue in the face. It is their marriage to a non-practicing Catholic or a Protestant that gives them the bad influence, but honestly even if they were alone, they might not take the obligation seriously.

For your own peace of mind, say something but not in a lecturing tone. If you are too annoyed to say it lightly, then don't say anything rather than coming off as being their mom. :shrug:

I have had to do this with my younger son, who would blow off church when he had to work either on Saturday or Sunday (usually not both, and there were Mass times when he could have gone). I would say, "Well, you do realize that it's not really a CHOICE to not go, right?" And he would say, "Yes." So then I just had to let it go. He knows he has to confess it, and I guess it's OK with him to :shrug: his shoulders about that.

His dad will sometimes skip Mass when he is in town, and NEVER goes when he is out of town.

[/quote]

Hi, TheReal Julianne,

Thank you for reminding us that we don't have a choice (barring illness, emergencies, etc etc.)! Also, it is a sin to avoid Mass on purpose for no good reason. I wonder how our Heavenly Father feels being put off as if He is our second choice.

It would be like having a child not wanting you to attend a celebration of their birthday, or not inviting parents to one's wedding! It's more important than those examples, but I feel that our Father desires us to be there, not just in a legalistic way, but in the way a husband and wife should want to do things together and share everything. I know, we sometimes just have to let things be between others and their confessor, and of course we are not to judge. I am just thinking that your idea of saying something akin to "Well, we really don't have a choice..." or something similar, if done in a firm but kindly way, is a reminder to them of what it means to be Catholic. I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question.


#9

I agree! It’s the way these people just take Mass so lightly. I can’t judge people, but their influence on other’s around them may cause others to fall. One of the people I mentioned actually laughed and said she was sorry but she said “I have to play hookey next weekend so you won’t see me. Hubbie needs help with power-washing the house.” I just thought that was so sad. He’s powerwashing the house all day Sat. AND Sunday? So he won’t let his wife out to attend Mass for an hour Sat. night or one of the Sunday Masses, and she thinks this is humorous? I appreciate your reply and thank you kindly.


#10

This was bothersome to me as well (not just not going to Mass, but the way someone lives). I brought it up with a spirital director and she told me that I should focus on my own soul and let God do His work with others. Plainly she was telling me to mind my own business.


#11

Hi Kathryn Ann,
I am also an adult convert, new to the CC 2012 and can simpathize wtih your feelings. In my preparation last year before entering into the Church, I tried to live “as if” I were already a member. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to put Him first and truly ammend my life. Included in that promise was of course attending Mass every week and not missing even though I was not yet obliged to do so.

Christmastwin when I read the response of your spiritiual director I found it disturbing that he in effect counseled you to “look away”. I could be mistaken, but don’t we have a moral obligation to mention something, in effect looking out for the welfare our brothers and sisters in a case like this? I would have to look this up, but I am pretty sure that I remember something about that. (of course not in an aggressive way but with the intent of their own good). :confused:


#12

=Kathryn Ann;9528122]
Recently a very dear friend of ours, someone very conscientious and helpful around the parish, told us a week ahead of time of his plan not to attend Mass in order to take care of some routine household repairs which his wife needed done. (She is a lapsed Catholic.)

This has happened on other occasions with different friends, and as an adult Catholic convert, I was really shocked. How may I respond to friends, some who are "Cradle Catholics" who blithely announce that "Sorry I won't see you next week at Mass- I'm going to play hookey so I can clean the garage," (or clear out the attic, get ahead in line at the shopping mall sales, etc?) We do have a Sat. Vigil Mass and two Masses on Sunday from which to choose. These reasons they give are not emergency situations, or illness -related.

I would like to say something right then and there that is firmly planted in scripture or Canon law, that will help them. What exactly would you say?

In some instances, the person is married to a lapsed Catholic (or to a protestant) spouse who rarely attends Mass for various reasons. These Catholic friends also attend Mass *somewha*t regularly, but often plea the need to sleep in late on Sunday (and are too busy for the Sat. Vigil Mass, etc.) I was thinking I might say something like "Oh, I wouldn't want to have to confess that later." Sometimes I've asked "How about one of the other Mass time?"

What would be the best, informative response that will get the message across? Do you think that it would help if Parish priests would say something during the homily about the importance of Mass attendance?

Permit me friend to offer several suggestions:

  1. If you have a realtionship with them ASK if what they are choosing is REALLY more important that obedience to the COMMANDMENTS: KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH DAY is a command; not a mere suggestion.

  2. ASK: woun't you miss receiving Christ in Holy Communion? ... or

ARE you aware that missing Mass intentionally without JUST cause is a Mortal sin? Ones personal options is NOT "just cause"

IF it is with one whom you do not have a good relationship with; BUT know there name; mention it is complete confedentially to your priest and suggest HE speak to them.

AT ANY RATE it is not a situation which we can choose to over-look or simply to ignore.

SHARING our faith is a part of practicing our Faith:)

God Bless,
pat/PJM


#13

[quote="Christmastwin, post:10, topic:291754"]
This was bothersome to me as well (not just not going to Mass, but the way someone lives). I brought it up with a spirital director and she told me that I should focus on my own soul and let God do His work with others. Plainly she was telling me to mind my own business.

[/quote]

Hi Christmastwin,

Thank you for your reply.:angel1: Of course we all should focus on our own souls, but we do have friends who make statements and we have to react one way or the other. I simply can't laugh along with a fellow Catholic who thinks it fun to plan ahead to play hookey an entire weekend, ignoring several choices of Mass times.

And perhaps it's different when it's a a close friend that keeps telling you the same thing about skipping Mass for all sorts of reasons and you're concerned that their non-Catholic spouse may be testing his or her limits.

I don't think we live only to ourselves. I have had neighbors tell me how nice it is to see someone dressed up and heading out to Church every Sunday morning. It's a witness. If your neighbors know you're Catholic and never see you going to Mass, it's not the same witness.

One of the things that drew me to Catholicism when I was a child, (and when I could not make that choice myself, ) was seeing neighbors and relatives going off to Mass, to First Holy Communions, and how they spoke with such reverence about attending. :gopray2:

I decided that once I became Catholic as an adult, I'd make sure to be a witness to that reverence. I wouldn't go around asking people about their Mass attendance. I was just speaking of friends who have commented more than once about their plans to "sleep in, do chores", and not to attend one of several Masses available, simply because they wanted "time off." How sad that is.:(


#14

[quote="PJM, post:12, topic:291754"]
Permit me friend to offer several suggestions:

  1. If you have a realtionship with them ASK if what they are choosing is REALLY more important that obedience to the COMMANDMENTS: KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH DAY is a command; not a mere suggestion.

  2. ASK: woun't you miss receiving Christ in Holy Communion? ... or

ARE you aware that missing Mass intentionally without JUST cause is a Mortal sin? Ones personal options is NOT "just cause"

IF it is with one whom you do not have a good relationship with; BUT know there name; mention it is complete confedentially to your priest and suggest HE speak to them.

AT ANY RATE it is not a situation which we can choose to over-look or simply to ignore.

SHARING our faith is a part of practicing our Faith:)

God Bless,
pat/PJM

[/quote]

Hi Pat, (PJM) I agree with everything you have said, (with one slight difference: I might ask my Priest to remind everyone from the pulpit about the obligation (and the joy) of attending Mass.) Especially in the summer time, people seem to drift away. We can, if we are traveling, go to Masstimes on the internet and find the closest Catholic parish. But I think you are very correct that this is no small thing, and not a choice. Except for emergencies, illness, things out of our control, etc, etc, we are obligated to attend Mass, and it is a joy as well!
Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it.


#15

I think there are alot of people out there who really don't know that it is a mortal sin to intentionally miss Mass without a good reason. I have never really heard a priest say it is in a homily and I think it comes as a suprise to alot of people. I think it would be okay, it these are good friends, to let them know in a gentle way. They may literally not know.


#16

[quote="Kathryn_Ann, post:13, topic:291754"]

I decided that once I became Catholic as an adult, I'd make sure to be a witness to that reverence. I wouldn't go around asking people about their Mass attendance. I was just speaking of friends who have commented more than once about their plans to "sleep in, do chores",** and not to attend one of several Masses available, simply because they wanted "time off." How sad that is.:**(

[/quote]

It is very sad, and how very tragic to take Christ's mercy and love for granted that way...I guess these people don't much believe that missing Mass is a mortal sin, or they wouldn't play with such a sin...I am not going to risk Hell for doing chores on a Sunday!! :eek: I mean, there are some of my sins that I really wrestle with, that send me to confession all too often, but I would hate to confess something that stupid and stubborn to Christ!

Jesus never takes time off from offering us His grace, does He? Why should we ever begrudge him an hour on the weekend? (at minimum, that is) Besides, we are given His Body and Blood there!!

Your friend who "plays hooky" is like a child sneaking something behind her parents' backs. But God sees and knows all. She gets away with nothing. How very sad for her.


#17

[quote="Allegra, post:15, topic:291754"]
I think there are alot of people out there who really don't know that it is a mortal sin to intentionally miss Mass without a good reason. I have never really heard a priest say it is in a homily and I think it comes as a suprise to alot of people. I think it would be okay, it these are good friends, to let them know in a gentle way. They may literally not know.

[/quote]

Yes, gentleness is always the best way to communicate. It is hard though, to understand how a Catholic would not realize that it is sinful not to attend Mass without good reason. I've read in some Catholic links that it is a* grave *sin, but can be considered a mortal sin depending upon the reason for intentionally missing Mass. Either way, we need to confess that sin if we have committed it. Thank you for your reply and all blessings to you, :heaven:Allegra.


#18

Well, as my mother always says, “you can’t count the things you don’t know.” In this day an age, it is very easy to “not know” something you “should know”, especially in regards to the teachings of the church.


#19

Yes, you are so right, Christ is always there for us! I am very glad for another close friend of mine who recently converted (I was her RCIA sponsor) and who* always* centers her life around the Mass. This is a wonderful witness to her family, none of whom are Catholic but who attended Holy Saturday. It’s one of the first things we talked about, why Catholics consider the Mass to be the center of their life, because Christ longs to unite with us. Her family knows that any weekend plans must bow to her plans to attend Mass. Would that everyone realize that we are witnesses to many. If we truly believe what the Mass is, we would never intentionally plan to miss it, and except for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances, we are always there with great joy!


#20

[quote="Allegra, post:15, topic:291754"]
I think there are alot of people out there who really don't know that it is a mortal sin to intentionally miss Mass without a good reason. I have never really heard a priest say it is in a homily and I think it comes as a suprise to alot of people. I think it would be okay, it these are good friends, to let them know in a gentle way. They may literally not know.

[/quote]

That's a very good point, given the sorry state of catechesis in some places. I don't remember ever being told that in RCIA, even though I knew it from my own reading, and watching the Catholic channel.

I remember talking to this priest I was friendly with, and he said 'In the old days people used to come to Mass because they HAD to, not because they really wanted to.' I said 'Well they still HAVE to, don't they? Besides, there's nothing wrong with doing something because you have to.'


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