Sunday Mass vs. "Family Activity"


I’ve been encountering friction with my “Catholic” parents as I’ve become more actively immersed in following Christ, but it seems that one of the hotter issues is Sunday Mass.

Today they decided to go meet my aunt and uncle (and their children, one of which is my God child) at a fishing camp they have. Since they don’t regularly go to Mass, I asked if we could be back before 7:30pm to catch the late Mass at my parish.

However, they decided that they would not be back specifically because they wanted to force me to decide between Mass and family time.

Am I, as they insist, supposed to miss Sunday Mass to spend time with family? To me, that’s a no-brainer, but I’ve had it shoved down my throat for the last 48 hours, so I just wanted to get others’ advice on the issue since I’m more-than-objectively involved.

Thanks for the replies!


Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Obviously this doesn’t mean we should literally hate them (Jesus forbids us from even hating our enemies), but it does mean that if their is a conflict between Jesus and our family, we must choose Him.

Especially in your situation where it’s possible for you to spend some time with them and go to Mass, your parents’ demands are pretty unreasonable.


Thanks for the quick reply!

I hesitated to post anything at all since I really do not want to “whine” about my parents in an immature way, but as I’m sitting at home alone, I can’t say that I’m not completely rid of a sense of distaste for their decisions.

The most irritating part is that they will likely, now, come back safely before 7:30 just to prove their point that I should have gone. Ah well… :shrug:


If you’re a minor still living at home, there’s not much you can do when your parents act unreasonably in this manner. Their house, their rules, especially if they’re your sole mode of transportation. If they will permit it, you could stay home and walk or bike to Mass. If you’re an adult, try securing your own transportation to and from such family activities. Either way, if you have an inkling that such an activity will occur on a Sunday, try and get to Saturday vigil Mass. That way you can enjoy your Sunday while knowing that you have fulfilled your Mass obligation, and it won’t be a source of friction with your parents.


Well, I’m 19, but I’m living at home during the summers.

I would have, of course, driven to and from the event, except that it’s over 2 hours away and I haven’t the slightest idea how to get there. They likely wouldn’t have allowed it anyway.

Maybe driving there and coming back early would have been the best solution despite the long drive and all… too bad I didn’t think of it before.




I have to say that when I read the title of the post all I could think of was Sunday Mass isa “family activity”. There is the possibility of going to the earliest Mass too and then going to visit with the rest of the family.

You are right though, a family activity should not take precedence over Sunday Mass obligation. Much of what I do and how I plan my families activities include going to Mass. As a matter of fact I attended a family reunion once that included a Sunday obligation Mass on a Saturday evening separate from the regular Mass times at the Parish where the Mass was said. This was specifically so all the out of towners could get Mass in and still travel home on Sunday! It was well thought out and the Priest was nice enough to do it for the planners.

Prayers for you and your family.

Brenda V.


Am I missing something, or is there no Saturday Vigil Mass in your parish?


Am I missing something, or is there no Saturday Vigil Mass in your parish?

Actually, I didn’t find out about all of this until Saturday afternoon and had to work that evening.

However, I’ve always been a bit confused on the issue: is it actually fine to go to a Saturday Vigil Mass instead of a Sunday Mass for a “non-grave” reason?

Anyway, I’ve been thoroughly unable to get my parents to come to Mass. They are both, as I mentioned before, nominally Catholic, but have a notion (probably from some distasteful encounter in the past) that people who go to Sunday Mass are all of the “holier-than-thou” stuck-up sort. At least that’s the reason they cite for not going. Actually they seem to be under the impression that anyone who actively lives our their Catholic faith is doing so under some misguided, pompous world view.

I find it greatly troubling that I am able to help peers and others in their spiritual journeys but have been totally unsuccessful to offer anything to help out my parents - whether by my own fault, theirs, or both. They are not the sort to respond well to theological or logical points, and I often get an irritated dismissal and rude comment at the first hint of anything slightly philosophical.

It’s not that I have a terrible relationship with them; we enjoy many great times and often have an exceedingly good day-to-day “family life,” so to speak. But there are many things that I simply cannot compromise on, namely on issues of faith and morals. This has been a source of much friction in the house, but I don’t see it going away anytime soon.

Anyway, I hate to whine and complain as I said before, so I’ll stop for now! :blush: :shrug:


Canon law says:

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

Nothing there about a vigil Mass being only for grave reasons.


C Bautista, Trust that you’re doing your best to plant the seeds of Jesus’ truth in the hearts of your parents. Continue to be a light of His love for them. Any rudeness they direct towards you is a very small way of being persecuted for your faith Read Matthew 10.
Remember that even Jesus’ kinsfolk in His hometown, Nazareth, rejected His words and “took offense at him” and “drove him out of the town” (read Mark 6 and Luke 4:16-30). Your parents’ irritation is minor compared to this. : )

Matthew 10:32: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”


If they try to lay a guilt trip on you, you gave them an option that could have solved it all. If they wanted you there, you were accommodating, it’s their fault. If they want to force you between Sunday Mass vs. “family activity,” they should be prepared to be disappointed.


Somebody beat me to the reference, but anybody can go to Saturday Vigil Mass any time and fulfill their Sunday obligation.

In fact, I watching a show on EWTN called “Web of Faith”. A person emailed a question, asking if it was wrong to use the Saturday Vigil Mass to also fulfill the requirement for First Saturday of the Blessed Virgin. Both Father Levis and Father Trigilio not only said it certainly counted toward both, but Father Levis told the emailer she could also round up the husband and kids, and go to Confession before the Vigil Mass, and have everything done for the month!


Sounds like you’ve gotten plenty of good responses. Especially the option to go to a Saturday vigil Mass (although the 7:30 Sunday evening Mass was agreat suggestion also).

I just want to caution you on the tone you use with your parents when talking about their faith. Please be careful not to sound holier-than-thou with them or to point out or make a big deal about your faith and commitments to the Church.

For example, instead of responding to a suggestion of a Sunday outing with, “But when will we go to Mass? How can we miss Mass??” try saying something like, “Hey great! That sounds like fun. I’ll bring my frisbee! Do you guys think we’ll be home by 7 or so? If not, I’ll drive behind you so I can get back by then.”


Good for you that you are charting your own more reliable course in your faith! :thumbsup:

As your parents age and face their mortality, they may come to you for answers and sustenance. Pray for them. God is preparing you to help them someday. Just have patience and keep the communications open with them. They will need your spiritual strength someday, so don’t close the doors to that by what you say now.

And those who let hypocrites stand between them and God? Well, the hypocrite is then closer to God than they are. (I knew a priest who got tired of the “Church is full of hypocrites” garbage. His reply was, “There is always room for one more.”)


I am so sorry that you have parents that aren’t as convicted about your faith as you are but it’s great to hear that a 19 year old feels so strongly about going to Mass.
I agree with Sr. about phrasing. With family members, (who will be your family for all of time so you don’t want to burn any bridges or hurt feelings unnecessarily,) it’s probably best to lead by example and not cause a “standoff.” If you phrase it right, they will be less likely to give you/put you in an ultimatum situation.
Pray pray pray for them! God can use you as a bridge to lead them back to the church and prayers work wonders we don’t realize at the time.
Good luck and be patient yet vigilant!


Thanks for all the solid advice and many replies!

It seems to me that my parents simply aren’t Catechized to the extent that I assumed, because I’ve been catching comments that suggest that they’ve been overrun by the secular humanism “just be a good person/Christian/insert-whichever-word-makes-you-feel-fluffy and it doesn’t matter if you go to Mass” sort of approach to Catholicism.

I’ve probably been more “arrogant-sounding” than I imagined by taking the attitude that Sr Sally suggested not to. It seems that they instantly “close up,” so to speak, and then I’ve no chance at all of settling the situation correctly.

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