Please help - Family obligation vs holy day obligation


#1

Questions like this pop up from time to time, but I need help making a decision.

Today is a holy day of obligation. My wife and I are/were planning on going to evening mass. Now she emails me asking to have dinner with her mother and grandmother instead. Her grandmother's 80th bday is this weekend, and her mother can't attend because she is going overseas for a few weeks tomorrow. So they are having a dinner tonight. All her brother's and sister's are going, and I'll look like a big jerk if I say we have to go to mass...so I'm needing some help here! I'm not sure if this is cause to forgo mass.

Thanks guys.


#2

Have dinner with grandma as a couple on another night.

Your MIL's failure to plan is not a reason to miss mass, IMHO.

If you have time to arrange another mass-- say noontime or right after work, then do so. If not, then go to the evening Mass and show grandma a good time later this week or on her birthday, Saturday.

If the objective is to celebrate grandma's birthday, then you need not do it when everyone else does.


#3

A family celebration is not a serious reason to miss Mass.
Perhaps you can catch a short lunch hour Mass somewhere?
Even if your wife does not care to go, you need to go.


#4

I appreciate the responses and all level-headed advise that people on this forum provide.

It didn't go over too well. I know its the right thing though. I JUST went to confession for the 1st time in a long time yesterday, and I'm doing my best to avoid sin....so I just know this is some kind of "test" or something, you know? Ugh, sometimes it's hard...

If i knew ahead of time I totally would have went to mass this morning before work. Now I'm going alone. The thing is we've been planning and talking all week about going to mass tonight, all to have it fall through at the drop of a hat. I just don't get it sometimes... :(


#5

[quote="Garyjohn2, post:4, topic:295308"]
I appreciate the responses and all level-headed advise that people on this forum provide.

It didn't go over too well. I know its the right thing though. I JUST went to confession for the 1st time in a long time yesterday, and I'm doing my best to avoid sin....so I just know this is some kind of "test" or something, you know? Ugh, sometimes it's hard...

If i knew ahead of time I totally would have went to mass this morning before work. Now I'm going alone. The thing is we've been planning and talking all week about going to mass tonight, all to have it fall through at the drop of a hat. I just don't get it sometimes... :(

[/quote]

Sometimes it's just not easy, is it? Go to Mass, and then head over to the family celebration. Is there a parish nearby with a time that might be more convenient?

At any rate, you'll be doing what you know you should (and likely making the rest of them squirm a little, but that's not always a bad thing...)

God bless!


#6

[quote="Garyjohn2, post:4, topic:295308"]
I appreciate the responses and all level-headed advise that people on this forum provide.

It didn't go over too well. I know its the right thing though. I JUST went to confession for the 1st time in a long time yesterday, and I'm doing my best to avoid sin....so I just know this is some kind of "test" or something, you know? Ugh, sometimes it's hard...

If i knew ahead of time I totally would have went to mass this morning before work. Now I'm going alone. The thing is we've been planning and talking all week about going to mass tonight, all to have it fall through at the drop of a hat. I just don't get it sometimes... :(

[/quote]

I think that you have understood exactly what is going on. We are not going to be tempted as long as we are not in a sate of grace, but just wait and see what happens after confession.:thumbsup:


#7

Your wife isn't as strict as you are about it since she doesn't appear to be worried about missing mass? Since you say you were both planning to go to mass this evening?

She gave you very little time to make alternative arrangements to what is in your diary. I tend to have a simple rule that I do what I've booked first if there are clashes. Harder with a family engagement I grant you but you have to politely stand your ground how you are committed to Church whatever your wive may think. If people are going away tomorrow then why was the dinner organised so late? Or had you both fogotten about the dinner and people going away in your excitment of a rewened commitment? I don't know.

Could you not go to dinner after the service ie do both? There may be a church near where you are going to dinner?


#8

Your priest, however, can give you a dispensation if you ask him and he agrees. Have you tried that route?


#9

[quote="OraLabora, post:8, topic:295308"]
Your priest, however, can give you a dispensation if you ask him and he agrees. Have you tried that route?

[/quote]

Can this be done over the phone? I've never done something like that before...


#10

[quote="Garyjohn2, post:9, topic:295308"]
Can this be done over the phone? I've never done something like that before...

[/quote]

Yes it can be done over the phone even if I do not think that it is the most appropriate manner to do it. Usually such requests for this kind of motives call for pastoral counseling and priests usually do that face to face.


#11

I wouldn't take that approach. He'll probably give you similar answers to here. Dispensations are for serious problems like health, not just because it conflicts with plans.


#12

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:11, topic:295308"]
I wouldn't take that approach. He'll probably give you similar answers to here. Dispensations are for serious problems like health, not just because it conflicts with plans.

[/quote]

You don't need a dispensation for health. If you're too ill, old or frail to attend the dispensation is automatic.

Dispensations by a priest are for pastoral reasons. Avoiding a family conflict is a pastoral reason, particularly when it involves someone elderly.

The Church is not a gulag. Family is very important to the Church. Remember the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around.

I'll bet the priest will give the dispensation but will say "remind your wife that going to Mass is a serious matter and to please respect the fact that you take your obligations seriously". The fact that the OP would ask the priest is indication enough that he takes the obligation seriously enough to ask for it. Most simply would just miss the Mass.

Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1245 Without prejudice to the right of diocesan bishops mentioned in ⇒ can. 87, for a just cause and according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, a pastor can grant in individual cases a dispensation from the obligation of observing a feast day or a day of penance or can grant a commutation of the obligation into other pious works. A superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of pontifical right, can also do this in regard to his own subjects and others living in the house day and night.

CCC:

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.


#13

As a Catholic Christian, our priorities are God first, family second and work last. We just need to prioritize our lives. It is very hard sometimes and people don't always understand, but we are called to "Follow HIM" and "Do whatever HE tells you". His commandments, His Church.:knight1:


#14

[quote="Cath4life, post:13, topic:295308"]
As a Catholic Christian, our priorities are God first, family second and work last. ..................

[/quote]

I keep telling my manager that work is my last priority but he keeps insisting that at least it should still come before golf. :D:D:D


#15

[quote="OraLabora, post:12, topic:295308"]
You don't need a dispensation for health. If you're too ill, old or frail to attend the dispensation is automatic.

Dispensations by a priest are for pastoral reasons. Avoiding a family conflict is a pastoral reason, particularly when it involves someone elderly.

The Church is not a gulag. Family is very important to the Church. Remember the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around.

I'll bet the priest will give the dispensation but will say "remind your wife that going to Mass is a serious matter and to please respect the fact that you take your obligations seriously". The fact that the OP would ask the priest is indication enough that he takes the obligation seriously enough to ask for it. Most simply would just miss the Mass.

Code of Canon Law:

CCC:

[/quote]

I would not agree that having a family dinner would ever warrant a dispensation from Mass obligation. Family conflict as an excuse. That is highly disrespectful. Personally, if it were me I would refuse the dinner and go to Mass and the OP should get his wife to see sense and have the dinner on another evening.
What is so vitally important that it must be on that evening and not on any other? Is there a medical emergency that it cannot be on the next evening?
Mass obligation comes before a birthday party.


#16

OP, what happened? I hope that you were able to find a Mass near the dinner place, or at an earlier time. My response would have been to tell family that you would meet them for dessert after Mass.

Keep your diocese website or masstimes.org in your bookmarks for situations like this!


#17

I was able to make mass. The family was totally understanding, so it was much ado about nothing. I did end up calling my pastor and he said it really wasn’t something he could grant dispensation for. He’s a great pastor, and I totally understand his decision. My SO did not attend mass or the dinner, but she is 8.5 months pregnant, not feeling too great, and decided she wasn’t going anywhere. :slight_smile: We were able to talk it all out later though, and all is well.

I appreciate all the feedback and advice! It really did help me. This is a nice community, even if it is a virtual one. I hope everyone was able to observe the holy day in a meaningful way! :slight_smile:


#18

[quote="Garyjohn2, post:17, topic:295308"]
I was able to make mass. The family was totally understanding, so it was much ado about nothing. I did end up calling my pastor and he said it really wasn't something he could grant dispensation for. He's a great pastor, and I totally understand his decision. My SO did not attend mass or the dinner, but she is 8.5 months pregnant, not feeling too great, and decided she wasn't going anywhere. :) We were able to talk it all out later though, and all is well.

I appreciate all the feedback and advice! It really did help me. This is a nice community, even if it is a virtual one. I hope everyone was able to observe the holy day in a meaningful way! :)

[/quote]

Wonderful! I'm very glad to hear this. Dear wife being pregnant and not feeling well is an acceptable reason for missing Mass, so all is well. I hope Granny's dinner on her actual birthday works out just as well!

We were able to be at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for Mass so it was a lovely day for us too!


#19

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