“Ask a Priest: Could I Be a Catholic If I Can’t Get to Mass?”

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Q: I was baptized as a Christian in 2014 along with my husband. We have been unable to attend church due to caring for my intellectually disabled twin sister who has severe behavioral issues. Our caregiver who provides relief attends our church so we cannot go on Sundays. My sister acted up the first Sunday we went and won’t go back. I have been watching Mass and Mother Angelica on EWTN and I feel drawn to the faith. Can I become a Catholic if I cannot attend Mass? I understand if your answer is “no.” – L.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good to hear that you and your husband chose to be baptized. It is good to hear of your interest in the Catholic faith, too.

Attendance at Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation is normally one of the basic duties of a Catholic, though on special occasions, if a Catholic cannot attend for reasons of sickness or serious duties (such as caring for a relative), then the obligation isn’t binding.

Personal situations can change. Things at home might change over time. For now I would encourage you to pursue your interest in the Church. If EWTN helps you, by all means watch it. If you enjoy spiritual enriching videos, you might also want to check out our retreat guides here at RCSpirituality.org. (When I Am Week, Then I Am Strong: A Retreat Guide on the Anointing of the Sick you may find particularly helpful at this time.

Try to learn as much as you can about the faith. Helpful resources include the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium ONLINE HERE.

Your loving care for your sister is a powerful Christian witness, and it might be one of the great means of preparation for your entrance into the Catholic Church and the treasury of spiritual helps that it can give you and your family.

Perhaps you could contact a local Catholic parish sometime and ask about the RCIA program, which is the normal route for someone who wants to enter the Church. And cultivate a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She can intercede for you in a powerful way in heaven. I hope some of this helps.

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One Comment
  1. I am sure there are many Catholics who are unable to attend regularly do to life’s happenings, I feel in my heart that Our Heavenly Father will not hold it against us.
    I stay sick a lot, and with virtago it is at times impossible to attend… I have cronic allergies with alot of draining which keeps me coughing
    with Bronchitis and virtago on top of that, so to respect others and not disrupt Mass I stay home alot. I do watch Mass on EWTN, Mother Angelica,and Pope on TV.. that does not make us less Catholic than the others that makes us respectful towards others so not to disrupt Mass… Like I said I don’t think we are sinning if we are unable to attend.. Just keep praying,and talk to Our Heavenly Father, he knows why we are unable to go… He Loves us..

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