Should I relax about going to Mass while on vacation?

Our family vacations on an island in a lake in Maine. We drive five hours to get there on Saturday and cross over on the ferry ($35/car). Everybody relaxes and then complains when on Sunday morning I insist, as their father, that we make the trip back for Mass in the next town, a trip of 45 to 75 minutes one way, depending on the ferry schedule. And at a cost of another $35/car (there could be three or four carloads of us). Some family members think I am being too rigorous about Mass. Does this meet the travel exemption rules or am I right in insisting that we attend Sunday Mass? Now my wife is balking, and I don’t know what to do.

It sounds to me like your family’s main problems with the Mass arrangements are personal inconvenience and expense, and not an inability to get to Mass. If that is the case, then you need to be stern with them. Mass is a non-negotiable. If something must give so you can get to Mass, then it should be the travel arrangements and not the Mass. So, give them a choice:

“Look, Mass is a bottom-line non-negotiable for our family [convince your wife to back you up here]. If it is too much trouble and expense to get to Mass from this location every summer, then we need to figure out another place to go to for our family’s summer retreats. [Wait for the chorus of protests to die down.] Okay, so I take it this place is important to you. Then let’s brainstorm on how we can get to Mass each and every Sunday without complaint.”

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