Ask a Priest


Oct 31, 2017

Hello! My husband and I are living on the West Coast of the United States for just a little while longer, and we have always wanted to see Alaska. We decided that now would probably be the best time to do it (logistically and financially), before leaving the West Coast. We are looking in to a cruise, and we found one that is affordable and will work with our schedule. However, because it will leave on a Saturday afternoon, I do not know if we will be able to attend Mass that weekend. The cruise ship does not have a priest onboard. We always make sure to go to Mass when we are on vacation, but I don’t think we’ll have the option if we book this cruise. Would it be a mortal sin if we booked this cruise, knowing that we probably won’t be able to go to Mass?

Thank you, and God bless you!

Asked at 04:27 am on October 31st 2017

Hi Nicole, you’re never bound to do what’s impossible, so there’s no obligation to attending Sunday Mass when travel makes it impossible. What I often suggest to people travelling on cruises as you and your husband will be doing, is on the Sundays you’re onboard, to give God the time you’d have given at Mass. So you could read the readings of the Mass for that day (easily available, for example on Lectionary/1998USL.htm), possibly pray through the principal prayers of the Mass, including the Our Father, make an act of spiritual communion by inviting Jesus to enter more deeply into your lives, make a short thanksgiving, possibly pray the Rosary together.

And remember what Jesus promised in Mt 18:20, ‘where two or three are gathered in my name (that is, ready to give all for each other, as you promised on your wedding day!), there am I among you.’ That promised presence of Jesus in your midst is a real presence, different from the Eucharistic presence, but still a real presence.

I’ve only once been a little bit up Canada’s West Coast (a drive up Vancouver Island to Port Hardy, then across to Bella Coola) but even that glimpse of the inland passage was beautiful, so best wishes for a great trip! Fr Brendan

Replied at 11:33 pm on November 06th 2017

What a fine responce. Yet it seems the Church has much to do that the question is still being asked? Attending Mass is our choice of worship form, not a to do list item.

Replied at 03:18 am on November 13th 2017

If I have to travel for work or personal reasons and can’t make it to Mass, I take my missal with me and at least read that. I know its not the same but it helps me feel better about missing church.

Replied at 01:30 am on November 25th 2017