About missing Mass, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin” (No. 2181).
Under particular circumstances, a bishop or pastor can temporarily lift this obligation, although that decision is never taken lightly. Circumstances for such a decision could be when a place is under a weather emergency or at the time of war.
The Church’s faith is built upon faith and reason. While we are called to give our all to God, certainly life can present us with a variety of complex situations. It is up to us to determine, honestly and within reason, which complex situations may prevent us from attending Mass. The Church never asks anything unreasonable of us, therefore one should never seriously risk one’s life to make it to Mass. We should be careful, however, to not make such an exception the rule. We should always do our absolute best to fulfill our Sunday obligation.
Nevertheless, however justified we might feel in missing Mass, we cannot exempt ourselves. It’s best to confess missing Mass, especially expressing to the Lord that you felt His absence in not attending Mass and/or receiving the Eucharist.
Michael R. Heinlein is editor of Simply Catholic. Follow him on Twitter @HeinleinMichael.