EWTN Catholic Q&A
Getting to Sunday Mass
Question from Diane on 08-18-2012:

I am a Catholic woman. I try to get to Mass when I can. I don't have a car, and a few Sundays the weather hasn't been that great to walk. I also have been sick on a few Sundays. I told my priest when I went to confession and he told me it isn't a sin. I feel horrible when I can't get to Mass. I say my prayers. I say my rosary five times a day and my Divine Mercy chaplet three times a day. I'd appreciate any help you can give me.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 08-20-2012:


Suppose you had a weekly doctor's appointment and faced the same problems you recount here in getting to your appointments. What would you do? Would you call up friends and family and ask them for help in getting to the doctor? Would you contact your community's social services and ask for information on community programs to drive indigent people to medical appointments? Or would you skip going to the doctor and let your illness get worse?

When a Catholic has done everything he reasonably can do to get to Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation but is unable to find any workable solution, or if he is genuinely incapacitated by or contagious with illness, he has just reason to miss Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. That feeling of horror at missing Mass on Sundays and holy days is a helpful thing though because it prevents us from becoming too comfortable with missing Mass.

In your case, you might ask yourself if you have tried to find rides with friends, family, or fellow congregants. Have you approached your pastor, explained your inability to get to Mass, and asked his help in finding someone with whom you can share rides (perhaps paying some of the fuel costs as a way to share expenses)? Some communities even have programs to drive the indigent not just to medical appointments but also to religious services and to other places necessary to ordinary living. If you have used due diligence to find options for getting to Mass and come up empty, then you have not committed sin. But you must use due diligence.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers