Some Thoughts About Mass
A continuation of last week’s column on questions I regularly receive as the Diocesan Director of Liturgy about Sunday Mass.
I can’t get to Mass on Sunday because of my work schedule. Can I make it up another day?
The obligation to attend and participate in Mass for the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and holy days of obligation (including Saturday evenings and Vigil Masses) is considered a minimum requirement for all Catholics. The law states that Catholics actively participate at Mass as well as refrain from unnecessary work. If the work is required for one’s employment, then a case can be made that this may be necessary work. However, the Church would encourage a person in this situation to see if the work schedule can be changed to accommodate participation at Mass for Sundays and holy days of obligation. The fact that the Church changed its laws in the 1960’s to permit both “Masses of anticipation” the evening before Sunday and other days of obligation — as well as Masses at other times than before 12:00 noon each day — was seen as the Church trying to adapt to the times.
When it is just impossible to do so because of work or even in the case that a priest is unavailable to celebrate Mass, Church law suggests that a person who, through no fault of their own, cannot attend Mass, then they are asked to keep the day holy by spending “an appropriate amount of time” in prayer and, if possible, reflecting on the Scripture readings assigned to the day.
So, going to Mass on another day does not “make up” for missing Mass on Sunday.
A family member cannot receive Holy Communion because a medical condition. What options are there to receive Holy Communion?
If the condition being referred to is Celiac-Sprue, than the Church permits the consecration of “low gluten hosts” so a person may receive the Body of Christ in the host. If a low gluten host is not available, then a person is permitted to receive the Blood of Christ from the chalice in order to receive Holy Communion.
When a person has an alcohol dependency, then that person should always refrain from receiving from the chalice when Holy Communion is being distributed.
[P.N. – At the Cathedral, we keep low gluten hosts available in the sacristy. Simply go to the sacristy before Mass begins and notify the sacristan of the need you have.]