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How Late Can I Be For Mass?

In September of this year I began a short column in St. Michael bulletin entiteld Ask the DRE. More than a few folks have asked me to repost those questions and answers here on the blog. I'll begin posting them as my time allows.

ASK THE DRE – How late can I be for Mass and still fulfill my Sunday obligation?

For those of you who have read this section of the bulletin for a while, you will know my answer. The answer to this question, like so many others dealing with our Faith must be seen in the light of RELATIONSHIP. Our Faith is a relationship with the living God. If we have a loving, vibrant relationship with God the rules don’t apply. This doesn’t mean we don’t care about the “rules” but that the idea of not following the rules, never crosses our mind.

Let’s rephrase the question: To my wife: “How late can I be for our once a month date and still have a meaningful relationship with you? Can I show up just for desert? Do I have to be completely involved in the dinner conversation or can I text my buddies?” To my son: “How late can I be for your football game and still have you be happy that I showed up? What’s the minimum amount of time I have to put in to keep you happy?” As you can imagine, these relationships are, at the very least, heading down a rocky road.

The Church doesn’t offer a minimum clock-in and clock-out time for Mass. To do so would be equivalent to saying that one part of the Mass is more important than another. This, by the way, brings up another Catholic phenomenon: the Judas shuffle – leaving early. Again, look at this in light of relationship. Would you leave early, for no good reason, from an important business meeting with a client, before the end of your daughter’s piano recital, or abandon your wife in the theatre, leaving before the end of the movie? Hopefully not! The Church is a place for you to build a loving relationship with One who loves you more than you can imagine. So why not come early and stay late!


Katy said…
What a great answer! I'm always shocked when I hear people ask similar questions. Mass, in most cases, is only an hour to begin with - isn't that enough of a minimum already???

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