From a reader….
I generally fulfill my Sunday obligation by assisting at a Mass said at a nearby SSPX chapel. We have an opportunity to attend a family reunion in a few months. Given how far away we live and how scattered the family has become, and how old certain members have become, we are not confident that we will have another opportunity to see all of them again. Here is the catch: it is over a Sunday, and the nearest Mass (TLM or NO) is over four hours away.
SSPX priests have chapels, and not parishes because they lack the canonical jurisdiction to establish parishes within dioceses. Is a dispensation to miss Mass required under these circumstances? Can the pastor of my SSPX chapel grant it, or must I go to the nearest diocesan parish to ask permission not to go to Mass from a place I never go to Mass?
Firstly, we have to clarify a couple of things.
You are correct on the point that the SSPX isn’t a parish and the priest in charge at that chapel, whom I’m sure is a fine, diligent priest, is not a pastor (parochus… “the parish priest… pastor”). Hence, the SSPX priest there doesn’t have the ability to dispense. The ability to dispense requires jurisdiction. Sadly, the SSPX priests do not have jurisdiction… yet. We can pray, hope and work towards that day, but for now they don’t.
The dispensation would have to come from your territorial pastor (or if you are a true member of a personal parish, from that pastor). REMEMBER: Being REGISTERED at a some parish that is not your territorial pastor does NOT make you a member of that parish! Registration provides little more than names and addresses for them to send you envelopes or perhaps to provide some services for you. This is part of the reality of having wildly differing priests and parishes in a highly mobile society.
Contact your local, territorial parish priest, the pastor. If he gives you any grief, contact your diocesan vicar general and ask for the dispensation. Not all of them are jerks, and you will probably obtain what you need.