Mass Obligation and Travel Time/Distance

What maximum amount of time is considered to be still within reasonable travel time for attending Sunday Mass and fulfilling ones obligation, above which travel is not required? Once I read 45 minutes and somewhere else I read the suggestion of one hour.

The situation is this: I and family live in a rural area, and there is only one Catholic parish in our town. The next closest one is about 30-35 minutes away (from home) in another city. I have a family member who works and for today she has been scheduled in such a way that conflicts with available Mass times at either parish, neither of which have evenings Masses.

However, the latter parish is next to a university with a Catholic campus ministry and I am aware that a student Mass is offered at 6 pm on Sundays, and after looking up more information, I read that it is held at the campus Newman Center.

This family member’s work place is 20 minutes from home; work-shift ends at 4:30 pm. To drive from work directly to the parish/university would be about 50 minutes. But, that would mean arriving for Mass pretty early.

Alternative is to drive home, and then take off again later. Drive home would only be 20 minutes. This gives enough time to get ready and then take off again, perhaps at 5:15 ish --to account for for weather/traffic (thunderstorm/pouring rain yesterday, possible today) to the parish/uni.

I don’t know whether Newman House Mass is open to other than students, but I sent a message to the Facebook page of a the campus ministry.

All this said, supposing she can attend, I don’t know (but I think not) if the family member is willing to go through all this, unfortunately.

The church does not have any teaching or canon law on this topic. It is up to people to use their best judgment.

It seems reasonable to me to attend the evening Mass at the Newman Center. Yes, anyone can attend there, not just students.

You are not the boss of your family member, however, so I suggest you simply let them know that the 6 p.m. at the Newman Center is an option and leave it at that. They will have to make the decision. They should also consult their pastor for future reference.

Thank you 1ke, for the response.I appreciate it. Personally, I would do my very best to get to Mass knowing its value, if more truly knew it they would not so easily dismiss making sacrifices, especially when they are infrequent, to assist at Mass. But based on discussions I have had in the past with this family member on the topic of Mass obligation, I do not think she will go, even if I offered to accompany her so that she doesn’t feel unmotivated by tiredom from work, size of campus/unfamiliarity with the ministry + her troubled accented English which would make it difficult for her to ask around for directions. however I will still suggest the Mass as it turns out she was dropped off at work and I will be the one to pick her up.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit