“Ask a Priest: Am I Obliged to Get My Grandson to Mass?”

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Q: I am my 16-year-old grandson’s confirmation sponsor. My son and his family stopped going to Mass ever since the lockdown from COVID-19. I have tried different ways (many little hints) to get them to come back. My prayers have not been answered yet. My question is: Am I responsible for getting my grandson to Mass even if it could cause a break in our family? This has been extremely stressful and troubling for me. – R.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I’m sorry to hear about the situation. It might be good to analyze your question a bit.

First, you ask whether you are responsible for getting your grandson to Mass. It’s his parents who have the main responsibility.

You also ask whether you are responsible for getting the teen to Mass “even if it could cause a break in our family.”

To forgo or overlook religious practice to avoid a “break” in the family would be a false peace. Families that don’t practice their faith have their priorities out of line.

It would certainly be good if you could help your grandson attend Mass.

You might offer to do that. If the parents refuse, the onus is on them. Since the grandson is old enough to decide on his own to join you, his parents will have to face their son’s justified pushback.

In one sense, your prayers are being answered: God might be using you to draw your grandson back to Mass and, in turn, give the rest of the family something to ponder.

In any case, offer prayers and sacrifices for the family. And keep up a spirit of hope.


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