How to Make it to Weekday Mass (Even With a Crazy Busy Schedule)
“The Eucharistic Celebration is the greatest and highest act of prayer, and constitutes the center and the source from which even the other forms receive 'nourishment': the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic adoration, Lectio divina, the Holy Rosary, meditation,” Pope Benedict XVI once said.
As Catholics, we have a unique opportunity to attend Mass, not just on Sundays, but throughout the week as well. Obviously, schedules, work commitments, and family life can make it difficult at times to make it to daily Mass even just once a week.
Our family has been attending daily Mass at least once a week since before our oldest, age 7, was born. Currently, we have three kids seven and under with another on the way. Throughout the years, I have noticed a difference in my internal peace and my prayer life when I make a concentrated effort to get to daily Mass at least once a week. Obviously, sickness or other ailments don’t always make this possible, but I strive for that as often as our family’s circumstances allow.
Here’s some tips that we've used in the past to make it happen:
Check Out All Nearby Parishes’ Daily Mass Times
We are blessed to be in an area that has at six parishes within a ten to fifteen minute drive. While most have 8 am Masses (we joke that’s the Mass for retired people), various parishes over the years have also offered a noon Mass or an evening Mass once or twice a week. Also, when our oldest was a baby, I would take him to the parish closest to us for 8 am Mass instead of having to get up extra early to add the fifteen minute drive for our home parish. In some rural areas, that’s not possible, but can be an option for some.
Rearrange Your Schedule
Justin is blessed to have the opportunity for a fairly flexible schedule. When possible, he arranges it so he doesn’t have to be into work until after daily Mass once or twice a week so that either he or I can go. This can be a sacrifice as it means he either doesn’t take a lunch that day or is home later.
Consider Leaving Some Kids at Home
This one is controversial since all children should always be welcome at Mass. However, for years I brought all of our children to daily Mass with me and found it incredibly difficult and detrimental to my prayer life. Within the past year or so, I began to realize how draining it was to wrestle three children through Sunday Mass. Each week I felt like I barely got to pray. After some reflection, Justin and I both decided to go to daily Mass once a week alone while the other one stays home with the young children. This really helps us be more patient at Sunday Mass (when we usually miss half of it taking care of our children) knowing that later in the week we’ll each have the opportunity to pray at Mass uninterrupted.
Accept That Your Kids Will Make Noise
If you do decide to bring your children with you, realize it’s normal for little children to make noise, and be okay with that. My children are not perfect, and can be both loud and distracting at Mass to me (and probably others). We choose our pew accordingly, and I have seen the fruits of taking our children to daily Mass throughout the years, especially with our seven year old.
Commute to Mass
Many people commute into the city for work each day. The downtowns of most big cities have multiple parishes within blocks of the business district and often times a cathedral is located at the heart of the city. Many of these downtown parishes offer noon Mass and cater to working Catholics attending Mass on their lunch hour. If you work in a large city, take a moment to look for a church near your place of work. Chances are you’ve been driving right past one. Then attend Mass on your lunch break.
These downtown parishes can also allow you to attend Mass while travelling. I often attend conferences for work out of town. Generally, these conferences are held in downtown hotels in large cities. Whenever I travel I always look for a parish nearby and there is usually one located within walking distance of the hotel. I like to sneak away on our lunch break to attend Mass. It is a great way to see the city and you are likely to run into some of the most beautiful churches in the country.
Ask for an Evening Mass Times
If all daily Mass times are at 8 am (or another time when people are typically working), ask your pastor if he would be willing to offer an evening Mass once a week for working people, and then support it. If he is hesitant to offer it long term, ask him to start by offering it in Advent or Lent, so it’s a set amount of time to gauge interest. Be sure to attend, and invite all your friends.
Take Advantage of Liturgical Seasons
Many parishes will offer an evening Mass during Advent and Lent, even if they do not do so throughout the rest of the year. For instance, our parish offers a Wednesday evening Mass followed by soup supper during both Advent and Lent, but offers only 8 am Mass throughout the rest of the year. We generally take advantage of these seasons to either attend Mass an additional time each week or just to make it easier to get there in the first place. The soup suppers also offer a great opportunity to connect with our fellow parishioners and it is always nice not to have to cook for a night.
Make it a priority
At the end of the day, this is the tip that really matters. Very early in our marriage, I realized it was very easy to always have an excuse of why praying or going to daily Mass was too difficult. I could always say, “It will be easier when….” However, when that set day/event came, there was always some other challenges that made it difficult to pray or attend daily Mass. Realize that daily Mass is something that’s worth the sacrifice. We make time for what’s important. Pick a trial period, perhaps a certain month or liturgical season, to start going to daily Mass and see how it changes your life.
While there are situations where it is very difficult to attend daily Mass, I really encourage you to try to attend as it will change your life!