Many a priest in Confession has heard the sin of missing Mass because of vacation time. Although some may look up upon this sin as not that big of a deal to miss, our faith teaches us something much different. Contrary to popular culture, if you are Catholic and you miss Mass because of a vacation, it is a sin which needs to be confessed in the Sacrament of Confession. Why? Because not observing the Lord’s day and choosing to forego weekly Mass is wrong and against our faith. Here is why.
Deliberately missing Mass
It is one thing to be sick or have a valid reason to miss Mass, but choosing not to find a church during vacation is poor choice and a sin of our faith. Attending Mass on Sundays is one of the precepts of the Church. These words in regard to missing Mass may seem harsh in terms of finding a way to attend no matter what, but it is true that missing Mass for the reason of a vacation is incorrect and against the faith. All of us deserve time away and a vacation, but as Catholics we are given plenty of options in most circumstances to find a way to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist. Although it may not seem deliberate in regard to reasoning, good planning will prevent any of us from having to miss Mass. If you plan to go on a cruise, a trip, or to a beach, be sure to think it through how you may not miss the Sunday obligation to go to Mass.
Why is it so important?
The reason is it imperative to attend Mass is that it is an obligation as a Catholic to attend weekly Mass. This does not mean when it is convenient only. It includes those times that yes, it may be difficult to find a church to attend. As Catholics, we don’t do this only out of “obligation” but more out of love for God and the desire to receive him. Once a week is the obligation, but our desire to receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ should be each day of our lives out of love for Jesus.
The antidote or answer to this question is to not let it happen again. If you are going away for any reason, find out where you may attend Mass. There is a website called MassTimes.org where you may find a Mass in your area. If your flight is on a Saturday or Sunday, then decide in advance to find out if you can attend Mass before you leave for your trip or when you arrive to your destination. If you are with family, remind your family members that it is of supreme importance to your family unit to go and receive the Eucharist and be present for Mass. Although this is an obligation as Catholic, more importantly, it is out of great love for our Lord and Savior in receiving him and in being present for the Mass.
Take these lessons not as a punishment but as a true gift. Later in life in the not-so-distant future, you will thank yourself for putting God first in a primary way in making it to Mass during vacation. Pray to the Lord to love and honor him more and in deciding to put him first in all circumstances and avoiding the sin of missing Mass because of vacation.