To what extent do I need to ensure my son fulfills the Sunday obligation?


#1

My son is 8 years old and made his first Holy Communion this past May, as well as first confession before that. This past Sunday he complained of having a stomach-ache, and was able to convince me to let him stay home as I and my younger son went to Mass. In the afternoon our family went out to eat and he was able to eat just fine. When I asked him how his stomach felt afterwards he said it was all better. Our parish has a 6pm Sunday Mass, so I told him we would go. He said ok, and then said he was tired, but he knew that wasn't going to cut it.

Luckily we didn't have any Sunday evening plans already, but what if we did? Assuming he truly wasn't feeling well at the time we went to Mass, what are our responsibilities if he feels better during the day? What if we had plans to meet someone for dinner or something? Am I obligated to cancel our Sunday evening plans in order to get him to Mass? Or would it be an "excused absence"?


#2

Use the best tool parents have. Guilt.

Explain to him how it is important and that if he truly wasn't feeling well that God knows the truth.


#3

If you had plans and your son still had not gone to Mass, you would be obliged to cancel the plans so he could go to Mass. Missing Mass on Holy Days and Sundays wihtout a valid reason or dispensation from a Priest is grave matter.


#4

How do you handle absences from school (if you don't homeschool?) My mother's rule while we were growing up: If we were sick, we stayed in bed, without TV, without friends, without going out later, no matter how much better we claimed to feel. On days we were actually sick, getting that much rest was wonderful, but if we were faking, we were bored to tears and quickly learned that it was better to just go to school even though we didn't feel like it.

If your son is genuinely sick, then of course he isn't required to attend Mass. But the circumstances you describe sound an awful lot like "faking" to me. At the very least, if he doesn't attend Mass, then IMO he is too sick to participate in any other activity for the rest of the day. If he says he's better, then Mass should be the priority (and if there aren't any close enough to you, I say stick with the "no other plans" rule). If you're consistent with this and don't let him get away with it, he'll see how serious Mass is to you and can begin to appreciate it as well. If you treat taking him to a later Mass as an inconvenience for you instead of a priority, he'll see it as something to avoid.


#5

I'm probably the wrong person to ask-- I make sure my kids attend mass (or are home by 5pm on Sunday so I can take them) if they spend the weekend with my non-Catholic family. I had a thread asking a similar question a while back, about what to do if for some reason my children missed mass while away for the weekend with grandparents. Luckily I was worried over nothing.

My children both know if they tell me that they're too sick to attend school or any other obligation, including mass, then they will be too sick to do anything but rest. No TV, no going outside, nothing. The entire day will be geared to making sure that they get better quickly, so laying in bed and reading are the only options. I wouldn't want them to be too tired. :D Works well for us! FYI, my children are 9 and 13.


#6

your obligation is absolute if he really is faking it. but also like a good parent when a kid always has a tummy ache or is too tired before an event you have to find out why. DD was expert at timing a throw-up half way through the school bus ride so they begged me to keep her off the bus. Turned out there was a bullying situation going on at school. Probably not the case at Mass, but there is something going on, perhaps the influence of another family member or friend.


#7

One thing to consider, if your Sunday morning Mass is really early, he might really not feel well. (Particularly if he stayed up late the night before or ate too much "weekend food".) If he wakes up, drinks some water, has a light breakfast etc, he might feel better quickly in time for Mass.


#8

It's an obligation, not a suggestion. So if he gets better (or was never sick to begin with) and can attend Mass, then he must attend Mass.

Obviously you know your son and we don't. Is he faking or not?

How do his parents set the example? Do you always attend Mass? Do you set an example of always telling the truth? Do you get things done that need to get done, even if you are not feeling well?

I am not accusing you of failing in these areas. I'm simply asking the questions I try to ask myself when I see my son do something wrong...did he learn it from watching me? If the answer is "no", then you need to get your kid doing the right things. If it's "yes" you need to correct yourself, AND get your kid doing the right things.

If you think he is purposely avoiding Mass, talk to him about it and get him to confession. Make sure he knows how important the Mass is to you and to God.

Pax and God Bless.


#9

[quote="Dan_Daly, post:8, topic:254170"]
It's an obligation, not a suggestion. So if he gets better (or was never sick to begin with) and can attend Mass, then he must attend Mass.

Obviously you know your son and we don't. Is he faking or not?

How do his parents set the example? Do you always attend Mass? Do you set an example of always telling the truth? Do you get things done that need to get done, even if you are not feeling well?

I am not accusing you of failing in these areas. I'm simply asking the questions I try to ask myself when I see my son do something wrong...did he learn it from watching me? If the answer is "no", then you need to get your kid doing the right things. If it's "yes" you need to correct yourself, AND get your kid doing the right things.

If you think he is purposely avoiding Mass, talk to him about it and get him to confession. Make sure he knows how important the Mass is to you and to God.

Pax and God Bless.

[/quote]

My wife is not baptized, so she usually stays home anyway. I always attend Mass unless I'm sick. I'm assuming he is no longer obligated if I'm too sick to take him and can't arrange for someone else to take him?

I think he really did have a tummy-ache this time since I saw the Mio drink sweetener in a different spot. I suspect he was sneaking some squirts of that. If he was faking, which he insists he wasn't, it seems that it would be grave matter anyway since he intended to miss Mass, even though I didn't let him.


#10

Our approach is "to as great extent as possible" Kids rarely have missed due to sickness. Evening masses are a must if anything was in the way in the morning; if a kid had not been to mass by the Sunday evening mass: nothing would getin the way. Vacations: get them to mass. They go, always. If they are younger than 4, they can stay home. Otherwise, they go. And we never have a kid complain, it is just what happens.

If there is every a thing to be scrupulous about, this is it.


#11

[quote="milimac, post:9, topic:254170"]
My wife is not baptized, so she usually stays home anyway. I always attend Mass unless I'm sick. I'm assuming he is no longer obligated if I'm too sick to take him and can't arrange for someone else to take him?

I think he really did have a tummy-ache this time since I saw the Mio drink sweetener in a different spot. I suspect he was sneaking some squirts of that. If he was faking, which he insists he wasn't, it seems that it would be grave matter anyway since he intended to miss Mass, even though I didn't let him.

[/quote]

Well certainly, if there is an option of staying home with Mom for a quiet morning without little brother, I can see that it would be tempting.

Discuss this with your wife again and see if you can rearrange your Sunday mornings to include her. Mass and then a nice family breakfast or visit to the park (or both!) could become a wonderful family ritual. If she is considering being baptized at all, starting to go to Mass now will be good for her. If she is against getting baptized, then it is very obvious where your son's reluctance comes from. Even if she doesn't say anything negative, your son can reason that his mom is a good person (you love her, etc.) and she doesn't go to church so why should he?

Another avenue, if family Mass will create it's own set of headaches, is to get him involved as an altar server or in a children's choir. He will likely to be more interested in going if he has his own role to look forward to.


closed #12

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