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Karen H. wrote:

Hello —

I, unfortunately, missed Mass this past weekend and am not sure about the correct thing to do.
I know I have to go to Confession.

  • Do I just go before Mass next weekend?
  • Try to go right now?
  • Do I have to go to a daily Mass as well?

Please help!

Thanks,

— Karen

  { If I missed Mass, what should I do? }

Mike replied:

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the question.

You are absolutely correct. Just go to Confession, before next Sunday Mass, like on Saturday afternoon, when they always have confessions.

By the tone of your e-mail, it sounds like their was no malice or effort to purposely miss Mass.

If there was:

  • I would recommend you seek out a priest some time during the week. Just stop by any rectory and ask for a priest.
  • in addition, you should refrain from receiving the Eucharist until you've gone to Confession.

If a Catholic misses Mass for:

  • an emergency or
  • an illness

there is no cause for concern.

All of the team at AskACatholic would strongly recommend getting to daily Mass, when possible, and when one's work schedule allows for it.

Although getting to a daily Mass, if you accidentally missed Sunday Mass, would be a good secondary substitute, there is no obligation to go to daily Mass NOR should any one think that going to a daily Mass is a normal substitution for Sunday Mass.

We are to keep the Lord's Day holy.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Bob replied:

Karen,

Going to Confession before your next Mass is the ideal solution. I'm assuming you could have avoided missing Mass, but for whatever reason, didn't. (You knew it was wrong to do so, but did it anyway.) If it was not deliberate (you had to go the hospital or some situation you couldn't prevent), then you have no culpability. In short, confess it, if you own it, and move on. You could "make up" the Mass with a week day Mass (that seems appropriate) if that helps your conscience, but the priest will give you a penance anyway.

Welcome to the club: the church is full of saints in the making — lots of failings along the way. Don't let this weigh you down, but keep moving forward.

God loves you, and loves a repentant heart.

God bless you,

Bob Kirby

Mary Ann replied:

Karen —

If you missed Mass purposely and knowingly, without a good reason, you must confess.

  • 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

John replied:

Hi Karen,

One last point to clarify what others have said. If you purposely skipped Mass for no good reason, then you need to go to Confession before you go to Communion. If for some reason, you can't go to Confession before Sunday, you can, and must go to Mass next Sunday (or Saturday vigil), you just can't receive the Eucharist until you have gone to Confession.

Nevertheless, you can ask Jesus to give you a "Spiritual" Communion.

Spiritual Communion Prayer that can be said in the pew during Communion time.

O My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot receive You sacramentally,
at least come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace myself entirely to Thee.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Amen.

If you missed Mass for a legitimate reason, as my colleagues have said, you are still in a state of grace. 

If you missed Mass out of negligence, you were in the middle of something and you forgot, or you over slept, then you are less culpable than deliberately skipping Mass.

In any case, it's not a bad a idea to make frequent Confession a habit. We all have sins, be they serious (mortal) or minor (venial). Confession is an encounter with Christ. The more we go to Confession, the more Christ can show us our hidden sins. The bad attitudes we harbor can eventually lead to more overt sins. The sins of omission we commit by not showing charity when given the opportunity are just as important to confess. The point of our Christian walk on earth is to allow God to perfect us and mold us into the image of His Son.

So the answers my colleagues gave are very accurate, but even if you didn't skip Mass intentionally, you might consider examining your conscience to see if there are other things you need to tell Jesus about in the Sacrament; especially if it's been a while since your last Confession.

God Bless,

John

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