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Pam wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is it still a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass?
  • Can one go to a daily Mass to make up for it or do I first have to go to Confession?

Thank you,


  { Is it still a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass and can I make up for it by going to a daily Mass? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Pam —

Thanks for your question.

Yes, it is a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, such as:

  • being too sick to attend
  • being hospitalized
  • having a prolonged illness

Your pastor should be able to help you determine whether you have a good reason.

Sunday Mass is an obligation, not an option. It is the only day of the week that Our Lord Jesus asks us to renew our baptismal covenant with Him.

This is what is meant by the third commandment: Thou shall keep the Lord's Day holy.

The Catechism says:

The Sunday Eucharist.

2177 The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church." (Code of Canon Law, Canon 1246 § 1.)

"Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints." (Code of Canon Law, Canon 1246 § 2: "The conference of bishops can (abolish/suppress) certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See.")

You said:

  • Can one go to a daily Mass to make up for it or do I first have to go to Confession?

You must first go to Confession.

Daily Mass does not substitute for our Sunday obligation.

You can still go to daily Mass but, until you get to Confession, you can only make a Spiritual Communion.

Spiritual Communion

O Lord Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

I love you above all things, (with all my mind, with all my heart, and with all my soul).
I love you because you are infinitely good and worthy of all my love.

Since I cannot receive You now sacramentally, at least come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace myself entirely to You and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

Come Lord Jesus and glorify Yourself through my weak, broken body.


Getting to Confession usually isn't a problem as most Catholic parishes have Confessions every Saturday afternoon. Still, if you can't make it during the week or weekend, you can still go to Mass for the coming week, but because you aren't properly disposed to receive Holy Communion, you should just stay in the pew and say a Spiritual Communion (and/or) go up with your arms crossed during Communion time. This tells the priest that you only want a blessing and are not properly disposed to receive Communion at this time.

Being courteous, after Mass and after the parishioners have left, ask the priest if he can hear your small Confession. He may suggest making an appointment first, so do it.

I was visiting my teenage nephews one Saturday and somehow the topic of going to Mass came up.

One of them made the comment, "Mass is boring!"

I replied, "Sometimes it's boring to me too!"

He was a little surprised by my answer, but I elaborated that although the sermon a priest gives may be boring, the KEY reason I go, beside obeying the commandments of the Church, is to receive the Blessed Sacrament. It is through receiving the Blessed Sacrament in a state of grace that I will be able to make better moral decisions for the rest of the week.

  • Is your life chaotic and are you interested in making better moral decisions during the week?

Consider joining the Church . . . today!! It's as simple as making an appointment with the pastor at your local Catholic parish!

  • Do you have a priest at your Church who gives boring sermons?

Pray for him . . . daily!!

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