This is a weird one--

I’ve got a serious question that I really need an answer to. Is it permissable to miss Mass if you are going on a youth group retreat that weekend?

I refused to go on a retreat last winter because we were not attending Mass. The leader was really mad at me. They planned on having a Communion service, but to me that’s just not acceptable. I really love going to Mass and I hate missing it.

This time around, the retreat is just for the youth leaders of the youth group, to bond and get to know each other. We are going to some fun activities and then attending a Christian music concert. Because it’s a secret what else we are doing, we don’t know if we are going to Mass or not.

I am really not supposed to miss this retreat. If I do, it is possible that I will be asked to resign my position as a youth leader. But if it’s not okay to miss Mass, my conscience will not let me go. Help! :frowning:

I don’t know the reasons why the organizers of the retreat could not find a priest available to offer Mass. They should have at least attempted to find a priest to offer the Mass. But I would bring this concern to my pastor and accept his advice. And should he advise you to go even if Mass will not be available, any fault for not attending Mass will not fall on you.

That just sounds so weird and inexcusable. There’s honestly no excuse to not have Mass on a CATHOLIC youth group retreat.

I have been on dozens of ecumenical retreats (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant mixes), and we ALWAYS have a Mass available for Catholics fit into the retreat schedule (while the non-Catholics go to other services/Bible studies). If a non-Catholic retreat can plan for Mass, then a Catholic retreat can do the same.

A Catholic retreat won’t have a Mass?! I’ve even been to secular events where they make sure there was a Mass.

These people obviously DO NOT have their prioirities right. If I were you I’d consider not even being a part of their group any more… how can they bring you closer to Our Lord when they’re not even close themselves? The Mass is everything Catholics are, it’s everything we’ve got. And they deny this and put the best of the youth at risk of MORTAL SIN?! That’s absolutely unacceptable. I’d tell the priest about this, this person should NOT be in Catholic youth ministry.

No it is not acceptable to miss Mass.

Any legitimate Catholic retreat is going to include Mass. I would report these antics to the pastor.

The previous posters have well made it known that there should be a Mass. But I would like to add that it’s odd that they are going to have a Communion service. To have a valid communion service, they have to have Consecrated Hosts somewhere near-by (I pray that they are not transporting the Hosts). If there are Consecrated Hosts nearby, then there must be a priest nearby. That priest should celebrate the Mass for these Catholic youths. What the people planning this event seem to get reversed is which is more important, attending Mass or receiving Christ in the Eucharist. The Church only requires us to receive Christ in the Eucharist once a year (this act benefits us), but requires that we attend Mass every Sunday (which honors, glorifies, and gives worship to G-d and also benefits us).

Perhaps there is only one priest nearby and he has an obligation to his own parish on Sundays and cannot make it to the Youth Retreat. Perhaps the retreat is in a remote area far from a Catholic parish. Perhaps the retired priests that are available have other commitments. Who knows?

But how are they getting the Hosts? They either have to go to a chapel where the Host already is, then there should be a priest nearby (it is a chapel) to give Mass. If they are “in a remote area far from a Catholic parish” then they would have to transport the Hosts to their location… which is an issue all to itself.

I am not aware of any rule that says that the Hosts cannot be transported. Hosts are transported to the homebound, to prisons, and to submarines where no chaplain is available.

I didn’t say that the Hosts couldn’t be transported. I said it was another issue, the issue being that there are rules governing where, when, how, and for what reason it can be done. Again, I did not say that it cannot be done.

I don’t think it is odd to have a Communion Service on a Sunday when no priest is available to offer the Mass. This is not to promote the overuse of Communion Services that are sometimes held on a daily basis. But if valid permission has been given for a Sunday Communion Service in this situation then it may be necessary to transport the consecrated Hosts if there is no chapel in the facility. I don’t know the reasons why a priest could not be found. It happened before and the OP has serious question if it will happen again. I just believe that every effort must be made to find a priest to offer Mass at the retreat including early planning many months in advance. The only thing I can recommend to the OP is to take the concern to the pastor.

How are they going to transport the Hosts? Where are they going to reserve the Hosts until they have the Communion Service?
The reason I think that it is odd is because I don’t see a way of this being licit. They might figure out a way, or already have a way, but I don’t see that being done.

They would transport them in a large pyx or ciborium. Perhaps an EMHC can bring the Hosts just prior to the Communion Service. It is possible that they may have access to a portable tabernacle. I don’t know. These are things that they would have to work out that proper care would be taken to care for or reserve the Hosts.

Or a deacon.

Tabernacles cannot licitly be portable, nor can they be transported by ciborium. If it is a large youth group (I don’t know if it is or not), it seems hard to carry a lot of Hosts by pyxes. Furthermore, I don’t think that bringing the Eucharist to a youth group counts as a grave circumstance, whereas the only way a prisoner can receive is by bringing the Host to them.

A deacon would definitely be preferrable in the absence of a priest, not only to bring the Hosts but to lead the Communion Service.


Do you have documentation for those statements? We have a portable tabernacle that we have used in our parish particularly on Holy Thursday. And we just used it recently when adoration was moved to a room in another facility so that the pastor could have a (I forgot what he called it) a teaching session for the altar servers in the church. Actually there are some very large pyxes. There are also some ciboria with covers but without the stem that could transport about 350 Hosts.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal under “The Place for the Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist” 314:

The one tabernacle should be immovable, be made of solid and inviolable material that is not transparent, and be locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is prevented to the greatest extent possible.

Also, a Ciborium is used to reserve the Eucharist, not transport it.

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