Sunday Mass vs. being with one's parents


I have been a Catholic for one year, but my parents and my sisters are protestants (Lutheran Church of Sweden). They use to go to church most Sundays, but not the first every month when there is no sunday service at the parish they use to go, and they do not go at all during summer when that parish has summer holiday. I use to go to the Catholic Mass on a daily basis, and have so far only missed Sunday Mass once after becoming a Catholic, when I sat on the bus to Taizé and didn’t know that they also celebrated a Sunday evening Mass.

My parents would be very happy if I would come with them for a couple of days to our summer house in Finland, when I am free from my summer work. Problem is, they want to go with the ferry to Finland Sunday morning. The ferry departs from Stockholm before the first Mass on Sunday and arrives in Turku after the last Sunday Mass. And since we are going on a wedding on Saturday, Vigil Mass isn’t an option either.

When I told my parents that I just can’t skip Mass just like that, they were really upset. They think that it’s sick of me to even consider staying home in order not to miss Sunday Mass. Since I will be there for only two days plus they day together on the ferry, they were really upset even about the thought of me coming one day later. And even after I, after thinking over it a bit, said that being with one’s family after all probably is a serious reason that excuses one from the Sunday obligation, they still thought that I was just coming with them out of a sense of obligation and not of love. They think that I am too fanatic. Since they are protestants, they don’t understand the importance of Sunday Mass and why it wouldn’t be the same to pray alone just this one Sunday.

Now I have promised to come with them, so this will be the second Sunday Mass that I miss. I can’t see how this would be a sin, since I have to choose between obeying the Sunday obligation and honouring my parents, and they would be really upset if I wouldn’t do this for them. But would it have been a sin if I had said that I would come one day later in order not to miss Mass?


I don’t know if a Saturday vigil Mass is as prevalent in Europe as it is in the U.S., but that may be a possibility so that you wouldn’t have to miss Mass. The other possibility is to talk with your pastor and ask for a dispensation for that Sunday. Then you could go with your parents with a clear conscience.


There is an exemption when someone is in transit and cannot get to a Sunday liturgy. Talk with your priest and explain your situation because it sounds like it might be excused. I understand not wanting to ever miss mass, but occasionally a person cannot help it if they are stuck in airports or otherwise in transit.


One is not obligated to “honor” your parents when what they are asking you to do is to break a divine precept. In other words, you do not honor your parents when they are asking you to sin.

Your first obligation is to God, not your parents.

You need to talk to your parish priest– who is the only one who can dispense you from attending mass for the reason of traveling.

You can’t just “decide” it’s not a sin to miss mass.

No, absolutely not.


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