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She says: I want to make sure we get to Mass every week

He Says: I think we can miss Mass occasionally

OK, I admit, I feel a little lazy on Sunday mornings. I’m not saying we should never go to Mass, but Kim wants us to drive out of our way, even when we’re on vacation, just to make Mass at a strange parish. I think that’s carrying it too far. 

What do they do?

BECAUSE WE CATHOLICS ARE REQUIRED to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation (yes, Jack, that’s every), we may fall into the trap of viewing it as some sort of chore that needs to be checked off  a list before the “fun” part of Sunday can begin. It sounds as if that is where Jack is coming from, so perhaps it would help him to adjust his thought process a little and see if that helps him change his att itude toward summer Sundays.

The Church calls the Eucharist the “source and summit of the Church’s life.” It is our privilege to be able to gather to thank God (perhaps for that beau-tiful summer day, our spouse, our children), and to receive Christ in the reality of his body and blood. What better way to start a day!

Also, we have a tendency to think of our salvation as something that’s between us and God – that’s why you sometimes hear people saying that they can pray just as well in the woods or by the lake as in a church building. But the reality is that each in-dividual is part of the body of Christ – we are saved as a whole, not in parts. We are in this together.

If Jack comes to appreciate the beauty of the Mass, I think he’ll be happy to attend with his family. In order to do that, and also enjoy the beauty of the day, Jack and Kim may want to talk about whether a different Mass may work for them in the summers than during the school year. Perhaps the Saturday evening liturgy? Or early on Sunday if they are morning people (and their kids are early risers).

When it comes to vacation, we don’t take a vacation from God. Most places we travel are reasonably close to a Catholic Church, and it’s not too burdensome to work it into the schedule. You can visit to find a church near where you are traveling.

If you are genuinely vacationing somewhere so far from a Catholic church that you honestly don’t believe you can make it to Mass on a Sunday, speak to your parish priest before you leave and ask for a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass that weekend. He’ll be able to help you if it’s really not possible to get to church. If that’s the case, remember to take some time on Sunday to thank God for his blessings, including the ability to travel as a family and to enjoy God’s wonderful creation.