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Bobbie Klingensmith wrote:

Hi, guys —

I never miss Sunday Mass and now, since retirement, try to make daily Mass. I am interested in taking a bus trip to the Black Hills with friends and the bus leaves on a Saturday and returns late the following Sunday. I have checked with the bus company and it doesn't appear that we will be near a Church that I could attend.

  • Would I be committing a sin if I took this trip and was not able to attend Mass?

I plan on traveling during my retirement and I need to get this answered. A Catholic reference book I have says that it is not a sin if it is physically or morally impossible. When traveling by car, the first thing we do upon reaching our destination is to see where we can go to Mass, but this is different.

  • I guess in a nut shell, my question is — should I take this trip?

Bobbie

  { Would I be committing a sin if I took this trip and was not able to attend Mass? }

Mike replied:

Hi Bobby,

You said:

  • Would I be committing a sin if I took this trip and was not able to attend Mass?

I plan on traveling during my retirement and I need to get this answered. A Catholic reference book I have says that it is not a sin if it is physically or morally impossible.

Your reference book sounds correct but it appears there is no physically reason why you can't get to Mass seeing you appear, by your question, to be in good health. The choice you make is not morally impossible either:

  • you either go on the trip and miss Mass
  • keep researching until you find a time and place from Saturday evening through Sunday you can go, or
  • you don't go on the trip because you would miss Mass.

You should speak to the bus line directly and express your disappointment with them in not providing information on where Catholics can attend Mass along the way. Our faith makes up
at least (1/6) of the United States population and it's growing.

I like my colleague Mary Ann's straight answer to a similar question we received:

Karen —

If you missed Mass purposely and knowingly, without a good reason, you must confess. [Go to Confession.]

  • If you were sick or
  • needed to stay with a sick person or
  • had to stop and help someone in distress or
  • circumstances left you without transportation or in some other way unable to attend

then you have done nothing wrong, provided you did not ignore a later possibility to attend Mass.

It is only when we miss Mass for our own laziness or convenience that we have sinned.

Mary Ann

Canon Law

Canon 1246 §1. Sunday, on which by apostolic tradition the paschal mystery is celebrated, must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation. The following days must also be observed:

  1. ** the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
  2. the Epiphany
  3. ** the Ascension of our Lord
  4. the Body and Blood of Christ
  5. ** Holy Mary the Mother of God
  6. ** Mary's Immaculate Conception
  7. ** the Assumption of Mary
  8. Saint Joseph
  9. Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles, and
  10. ** All Saints.

§2. With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, however, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.

Note: There are six holy days in the United States, noted by **

Canon 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.

Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord's day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

Canon 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.

§2. If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Bobby —

I cannot put my hands on a source, but I have read that trips to areas where there is no Mass
(a cruise, an exploration, wilderness camping, etc.) are allowable.

Mary Ann

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