From a reader…
Never dreamed I’d be asking this, but I suppose I had better: Due to my current job or the job that I’m hoping to take soon, getting to Mass on Sunday can be difficult. If I’m up until 3, 4, or 5 AM at work, but must be at work by 4 or 5 on Saturday and Sunday, being at Mass at 9:30 Sunday–or Sunday evening–isn’t a practical option. I would, however, like to get to Mass during the week anyway.
Are we required to attend Mass on Sunday, in particular, or are we required to get to Mass at least once each week? (Within the next 5-7 years, it’d be nice to have a job that left evenings and weekends free, but right now, I need to be at work when we’re busy. (I hate that we’re so secularized!))
I’m sorry for your difficult hours at work. In our increasingly secular society, employers have little to restrain them from impinging on their worker’s obligations to worship God.
The Church’s law is clear. As Catholics, we are obliged to hear Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. We can fulfill that obligation by either attending Mass on the Sunday or Holy Day itself, or on the evening of the day before each.
If it is truly impossible for you to attend Mass on Sundays or Holy Days, because of work obligations or Mass times, then the obligation to attend Mass is lifted. Remember though, God is not mocked, nor is He deceived (Galatians 6:7). If it’s merely difficult to attend Mass, or inconvenient, do not skip Mass and then think you are justified.
Think of our brothers and sisters in other countries, some of whom travel many miles on their feet in order to hear a holy Mass.
If you truly can’t make Mass on Sundays or Holy Days, but you can make Mass on another day, it would be salubrious for you to do so. It doesn’t fulfill the Sunday obligation, but it would be a meritorious thing to do.
Finally, speak to your pastor about your situation. Do this for a couple reasons. Firstly, he may have good advice or direction for you. Also, your predicament may also be helpful to him in making adjustment to (the Scylla and Charybdis of parochial ministry) weekend Mass times!