Our family just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving at my sister’s house about 6 hours from our home. We delayed looking for a Sunday mass until Sunday morning and experienced a minor setback. The campground’s wifi was down so we could not check for mass times. I called my brother who checked the yellow pages and found us a couple of masses nearby. We were a few minutes late for the 9:00 mass at a parish we had gone to last summer, so my brother suggested that we go to the 9:30 mass at the cathedral. We arrived there right at 9:30 only to see a sign on the door stating that mass was actually at 10:30.
Without access to the yellow pages or wifi, we got back into the van to drive over to a parish in the neighbourhood where my other sister lives, only to find that that church had recently closed, so we popped into my sister’s house to borrow their internet. We found a 10:00 mass across town which we were able to get to just a few minutes after 10.
For those of you keeping score at home, it took us over an hour, 2 brothers, the phone book, and the diocesan website to find arrive at a Mass at the fourth church we investigated.
This is not the first time we have had an adventure seeking an out of town mass. This summer we drove 25km to find a mass, only to see the church locked up, On the way back to our campsite, we happened upon a Catholic church 5km from our campsite that didn’t have its mass times listed on the diocesan website.
We did not always go to these lengths to ensure we got to Mass every Sunday, especially when we were away from home. However as we have grown together in our faith as a family, we have made it a priority to fulfil our Sunday obligation and to worship along with our worldwide family of faith. This weekend will mark one year since we missed a Sunday mass.
Please do not mistake this as a rant about the state of tools used by travellers to find mass times. Quite the contrary. These tools make it incredibly easy for people away from home on Sunday to find a way to participate in ‘The Mass’. Yes, I capitalized, ‘The Mass’ . One of the things I am coming to understand by attending mass away from home is that I am truly part of, ‘One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’. Part of the mystery of the Eucharist is that we are all part of the Body of Christ, and wherever or whenever we participate in the Mass, we are given the gift of being present at the one sacrifice given to us by Jesus on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Part of the mystery of the mass is that wherever we are, whether in Canada, The United States, in India, or at any Catholic Church throughout the world, we are united in “The Mass” through the merciful sacrifice of Jesus.