Friday, February 21, 2014

When is too sick for Mass?

I was recently asked a question about when is ok to miss church for sickness.  The person in question was physically able to get to church but was getting over a recent illness and was worried about infecting others. He had grown up that you should only miss Mass if you're physically unable to attend.  So when is it ok to miss Mass and what obligation do you have to protect the health of your fellow parishioners?

I am not an expert on this but neither is anyone else.  You could ask 10 people and get 10 different answers and a lot of them are dependant on how you feel, which only you can decide.

First and foremost 

If you are physically ill and cannot get to church PLEASE STAY HOME

Otherwise conscience is key

With borderline illnesses or getting over something recently you need to follow your conscience.

What are your motivations for not going.  Are you skipping mass but still plan to go out shopping later this afternoon?

If it were Monday instead of Sunday would you call out of work for the same thing?

Does your church have an area (lobby, vestibule etc.) that you could not be close to others but could still hear the Mass.  

Many people would say if you might be sick stay home and spare the rest of the congregation the chance of getting sick.  

This problem is compounded when you have children.  Children catch germs and spread them easily so if your child feels ok but has a runny nose is he leaving that in the pew after you leave.  But with some children having a runny nose from October till March it is not feasible to take a six month hiatus from Mass. So plan and pack accordingly. 

Hand sanitizer is your friend

Many churches are installing hand sanitizer dispensers right by the front door.  This helps to stop the spread of germs to hands.  Using this can help kill germs.

No peace for you

If you are, were or are becoming sick.  It is ok to not shake hands during peace.  People would rather be offended than sick.  If you mumble something about a cold they will be glad to not shake your hand.

Bottom line

If you are sick stay home.  If you are borderline sick follow your conscience on your motivations and abilities.   The Mass should be the pinnacle of your week and missing it should never be taken lightly.  But we should also be aware of those around us especially the young and the elderly who if they caught something could be deadly to them more than a normal healthy adult.     

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