As the head of your household, you’ve got a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You’re tasked with protecting and nurturing your family. You’re also responsible for their spiritual well being. As husbands, we need to do all that we can to keep our family together.
A few months before we got married, Alison and I moved to Grand Rapids. We found a local parish and started going to Mass together on Sundays. I’d get up a little bit earlier, pick her up at her aunt’s house, and then drive her to Mass. I really enjoyed going to Mass with her, since I was used to going alone.
Our families have many demands on our time. This is especially true if you have older children who are involved in many different activities. Yet, despite this busyness, we need to set our priorities. We need to block out time that’s reserved for the family. This is definitely going to conflict with sports, school events, and social calendars. Yet, this is the essential challenge of the family today: we need to claim time that is our own and defend it vigorously.
Sunday Mass for Catholics isn’t optional. Each Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation. Mass is non-negotiable, but we go out of love and necessity, not duty. A week in the world is draining and the Eucharist is the fuel we need to live another week faithfully. The Mass is a safe haven where we can stop worrying, relax, and rejoice in the love of our Father.
So when calendars conflict, plant a flag. Declare that your family goes to Mass, together, every Sunday. It’s not open for discussion.
The great thing about being Catholic is that with the variety of parishes and Mass times, you can actually still have your children participate in activities or hang out with friends and make it to Mass together. Each week’s schedule can determine which Mass you attend. I will point out, however, that there’s something fun about going to the same Mass each week. You get to know the people who also attend that Mass and they become your Church family in a real way. My family has found many great friends through our weekly Mass.
There are certain times when we need to rise above the pressure and assert our role as caretakers for our children. It might not be popular among our peers, but it’s the right thing to do. Our children need the sacraments and our family needs to celebrate the Mass together. Make it a priority!