Missing Mass for emotional reasons?

I know that it isn’t a sin to miss Mass when physically ill, but what about emotionally wounded?

My twin sister got married in October, conceived her first baby on her honeymoon, then tragically miscarried two days before Christmas. She woke up this morning fully intending to go to Mass, then whilst getting ready was overcome by paralyzingly grief, no doubt aided by the many well-intentioned by ultimately insensitive texts of “Happy Mother’s Day!” that our mother, my wife, and she all received in our family group texts (we all live pretty far away). Suffice it to say she couldn’t bring herself to get to Mass because she couldn’t stand to be surrounded by people who would wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She is a faithful Catholic, and never misses Mass. She is also very pro-life, and acknowledges the fact of her maternity, but she “doesn’t feel like a mom,” so everyone’s well-wishes are opening wounds more than affirming life.

I called her to talk, and gentle suggest that Mass would be good for her, but she’s extremely resistant and was almost slightly hostile. I am asking for prayers for her above all, but I am also worried that her feelings don’t constitute a grave reason to miss Mass. Thoughts?

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My thoughts are that you should leave that between her and her confessor. No doubt she is having trouble dealing with it but I cannot believe that you are even questioning this “grave reason” aspect of it.:eek: I think you may be doing more damage than good here.

I am a little unsure as to how gentle encouragement that she avail herself of the Blessed Sacrament is doing more harm than good, but I admit that I am also socially weaker than most, and may certainly have overlooked or taken for granted the best appraoch to this.

Please be sure, I am not suggesting that I will talk to her again, or badger her about this. I am not asking this question scrupulously (sadly, I find that that’s the first assumption most people make when a question is asked on this board), but her tragedy has simply generated a curiosity in me as to whether or not feelings can be the arbiter of just cause to miss Mass? Are we not to regard our feelings as largely suspect in matters of sin?

Your sister is hurting. She is in pain, she may be mad at God, she may be sad at mother’s day and she may be irrational about it. You are correct, the best place for her is at Mass and making mother’s day about Mary who watched her Child die. But we cannot possibly understand what she is going through. leave this to her and her confessor. You would be over stepping your bounds even for a twin. And I think you know this.

This sounds like a true “mental health day.” Obviously it wouldn’t be good to do it all the time, and it might have been better for her to go; but there are a lot of women who go to the Vigil Mass on the weekend of Mother’s Day to avoid getting sick with grief.

I’ll pray for your sister and your whole family. That’s very rough.

Grief can be debilitating. She might have been blindsided by how strongly it affected her in this way.

Is it possible if she could go to Mass by herself? Maybe at a different parish where she isn’t known? That way, people would assume she’s single and not wish her “Happy Mother’s Day”.

If I understand correctly, there might still be reference to Mother’s day, which is what is bringing on the situation in the first place. Just speculating here.

Frankly, I don’t blame her for reacting badly; that was very insensitive of you. Since I have no idea what it’s like to suffer a miscarriage and then have to face Mother’s Day, I would have minded my own business and left it to her and her priest. She doesn’t sound like someone who needs to be reminded of her obligations.

She’s ok. I remember reading about a saint who remarked as such about a person under similar circumstances. I’m sorry I can’t remember who said it, but something tells me it was the Cure of Ars.

I do think she should go to confession though when she feels strong enough to return. The Word of God does no ignore the fact that massive grief ‘makes the heart sick’.

Praying for your sister. She’s lucky to have you to care for her like you do. I also pray you’ll be as patient as possible with her.

I’ve missed Sunday Mass maybe 10-15x in past 5 years. Maybe once or twice was for physical illness, the rest were emotional/mental pain due to depression or some other crisis. Yes, I knew Mass would do me good, but sometimes a person can’t think straight, can’t stop crying or is so paralyzed and just too upset to even try to “go through the motions.” It may not truly be a mortal sin since “full intent” is not really present --I’m not purposely blowing off Mass–but personally, I still don’t receive Holy Communion until I’ve been to Confession.

If anyone really can’t understand how one can find oneself in such a situation, then I can only say they are truly blessed.
(Edit: Last sentence is not directed at OP or any previous posters.)

There is no sin here. She wanted to go to church. She was going to church. Did the dimwits who sent texts of “Happy Mother’s Day” to a woman who lost her child not know she lost her child??? Lose child, mother’s day mass, people wishing her a Happy Mother’s day. Good grief. I would have stayed home on mother’s day or gone at 5pm on Sat.
I miscarried 3 times. As a nurse, I accepted it a little easier but the tears still flow. What do you do about (I won;t start this thought)

If you love God and want to be His best friend, and you want to go to mass and you want to be holy, then their is no sin. You have pain because you missed your time w your best friend. That pain is our penance. Yes, confession will be necessary but it is a discussion w your counselor and friend. How can we worry that, that poor woman sinned as she was bent over sobbing over the loss of her child. Mary was bent over at the loss of Jesus on the cross. I am speechless.

Dear Saint Anthony we are called to be followers of Jesus to comfort the sorrowful and show them mercy. Help us by our words, attitudes,and deeds to brighten their days and ease their burdens. St. Anthony, Counsoler of the afflicted, help us to remember when helping someone in sorrow that we are helping Christ Himself. Kindly mention my needs to Him. My need would be for the poor woman who lost her child and her husband that they would heal and have a happy baby soon. A baby whole, healthy and holy. Forgive those who are in judgement or who don’t understand. Jesus let her feel your love.

Thank you for your answer
in Christ’s love


I had about a 2-3 year time span where I went through a deep depression and suffered with extreme anxiety. It took a long time for me to be able to be in a crowd of people without suffering from a panic attack.

My pastors were wonderful and especially helpful and caring. Granted, I’m not Catholic and I realize there is a different issue in regards to missing Mass but, for me, I was able to go to a Contemporary Service (that still followed the Lutheran liturgy) and have that option of being able to walk out when I needed to. Our church was set up in that there was a hall to the school building that connected to the front of the sanctuary. Toward the end of that terrible dark period I was able to sit outside the church sanctuary on steps leading up to the school. I was worshiping but in an area where I didn’t feel vulnerable and the pastors allowed me to come in to receive communion from that door and then go back to the safety of my steps.

I say all this in order to perhaps allow you to see if there are any type of opportunity for your sister to make it to mass but perhaps sit in a “safe” spot. Just a thought.

I will keep your sister in my prayers.

God bless you for your concern and your sister for quick healing.


First off, I greatly appreciate the prayers offered by many of you. It means more to me than I can say that you, who know neither me not my twin, are still putting your hearts before our Lord on her behalf. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Secondly, I spoke with my priest about it, and I do agree that I and the rest of my family could have approached this whole thing a bit better. I do wish to inpressive upon you, though, that our well-wishes, however “insensitive” they were, were also very well-intentioned. I do appreciate that many of you took the time to point this out to me, and I mean it sincerely that I believe the Lord spoke to me today through you in motor sting me to talk to the priest, because before having this comversation here, I hadn’t considered my genuine and loving concern to be so badly received. So for that, I also thank you profusely.

I would like to end this, however, by saying that several of you would do better to present mine and my family’s insensitivity with greater charity. There is no need for name-calling, and I do find the suggestion that I was thoughtless into concern for my sister to be somewhat hurtful, because there is no part of what I said to her that was not motivated out of a great concern for her well-being. I love my sister and am incredibly close to her. Can we, brothers and sisters in Christ, not do better to charitably present our faults to one another???

Does your/her diocese have any sort of program for healing from this sort of loss and grief? Often such ministries hold a memorial Mass for the lost children. Something like that might really help her. May God hold your family in the palm of His hand.

I have witnessed the effects of anxiety and depression. It’s self evident that emotive suffering may be as devastating as broken bones.

This is a terrible tragedy, her emotional hurt may actually be worse for her than a physical ailment. My thoughts are, just love her and help her heal. Discuss the situation with the priest and see if the priest will let you can bring her Holy Communion. That way, if she does not feel receptive, she won’t feel put upon because you have not had the priest, or someone outside brought in when she might not be ready. I think being sensitive to her at this time is very important.

When I wrote dimwits, I tried to change it to insensitive but they both posted. The dimwit comment was meant for the ones who sent Happy Mother’s Day texts to her. Not for those who thought maybe getting to church and getting communion would strengthen her. But, they always make a fuss on mother’s day. Some churches do:“How many mothers have more than 10 children. Little fun things unless you just miscarried.” I apologize for dimwit-not for insensitive but it was referring to the text messages of Happy Moms day.

Please forgive me for my insensitivity. I am a nurse-retired-48 years. Some OB and nursery time. I held this 4.5 month baby in my hand and covered it till it died. It was before NICU’s. I worked in them too. So tiny. Holding the mother’s as they sobbed. So, with my own 3 miscarriages and the memories of the pain and agony of those who lived this journey, my response would be passionate. Of course, you love your sister. I can see you on your knees holding her in your arms as she sobbed. Every time she sees a new baby, it will be a knife in her heart. Make sure she carries kleenex. Wait for the first Baby Shower invitation, if she hasn’t gotten pregnant, again. It is true that there is usually something wrong w the baby when we miscarry.One of mine was an incomplete egg. Blighted ova. No baby. I worked w a nurse who had a gene that meant she was going to miscarry frequently. God gave her the grace to endure the frequent miscarriages. She has 2 children. The next one should be fine. But you’ll worry non-the less. Private message me if you can forgive me and why those texts. Didn’t they know she miscarried??

Dear St. Anthony,God wants us to see Christ our brother, in every person, and to love Him, truly in thought, word and deed, God wills that we share with others the joy of His boundless love.St.Anthony, generator of Charity, remember us in the Father’s presence, that we may be worthy of sharing the joy of His love. Remember now the intentions I now entrust to you.
That I may not react from the pain of my experiences when someone comes forward for guidance in a new situation for them. Please let his sister heal from her miscarriage and the family draw close in unity and love. The future holds beautiful things for them. The past is over and forgiven ,the present.is just for us to deal with by your grace, The future we trust in your hands. Amen

in Christ’s love
tweedlealic e:o:(:blush:

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