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Does the Church excuse people from Sunday Mass obligation based on their age?

Full Question

My elderly mother was told that when you reach your golden years you are excused from attending Sunday Mass. Does the Catholic Church excuse people from their Sunday Mass obligation based solely on their age?


No. The Sunday obligation can be dispensed for just cause, which may include physical illness or an inability to go to Mass, but there is no age limit on the Sunday obligation.

Perhaps there has been a confusion of the Sunday obligation with the fasting obligations during Lent, for which there is an age limit after which the person is automatically dispensed.


  1. Judy Reply

    When the weather is icy, I stay home. The risk of falling or getting into an accident is too great.

  2. Noel David Reply

    The Lord himself said that : The Sabbath was made for man and not the other way about…. Likewise, Sunday Mass was made for man and not man for Sunday Mass….Therefore this Sunday obligation needs to be excused for all people – old age or no age (who could have many a reason for not attending Mass – the Church/Clergy needs to understand their reasons for not attending Mass and take corrective measures accordingly instead of being rigid with its stand and faulting people…. If God was also rigid with the Laws that HE laid down – NONE of us would be left standing or breathing on this earth…..)…. And actually speaking there are thousands of Catholics all over the globe who do not attend Sunday Mass regularly….

    1. Susan Schneider Reply

      God was referring to the fact the for 6 days He showed Moses how the world was created. On the seventh He rested because it was for Moses to rest. God does not need to rest, but Moses a man needed to. The Commandments says you will keep Holy the Sabbath. If you are sick you
      are excused of course. My 90 year old mother and my 94 year old father attend Mass on their own every Sunday. They live in Washington, DC and go to the Monastery, or to St. Anthony Catholic Church or the Shrine.

  3. elias h attea jr Reply

    the Sabbath is a day of rest u attend church out of love and no other reason
    faith without love means nothing

  4. Elizabeth Hilprecht Reply

    I heard that in the Archdiocese of Detroit there was an automatic dispensation after age 85, but a lot of people older than that still go if they are able to.

  5. Judy Alciatore Reply

    Sundays are Holy Days of Obligation, just as Christmas is. Remember to keep Holy the Lord’s Day. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, as He arose from the dead on that Day. Go to Mass and worship the Lord.

  6. Dottie Hashman Reply

    I am 79 and want to go to Mass. I have walked the over a mile to church, But in the cold weather and rain I can;t. I have asked the office to help me to get a ride and they have told me there is no one at church that could give me a ride to church. I have gone there for 16 years. My car has been broke down sense last Christmas. There are no other Catholic Churches close enough to me to walk to.I miss going to Confession and Mass so very much. Why don’t the churches provide rides for the elderly??????????

    1. Linda Reply

      Dottie, have you called the rectory? I’d be amazed that there is no one to take you to church. Most churches can’t afford a bus etc, but there are plenty of volunteers like me, who would do anything for a parishioner. Call and ask, I’d be willing to bet there are plenty of people who would be all to happy to pick you up Sunday or any day of the weelk

  7. Joan Dunlap Reply

    Who in their right mind would WANT to miss Mass??? I will do anything to avoid missing Mass!

  8. Linda Reply

    Why would you want an excuse to not worship the Lord? I really don’t understand trying to find an excuse to miss Mass.

  9. Carrie Roth Reply

    I agree, Linda! Going to Mass is a privilege! It’s to our advantage to go and receive God’s graces and blessings!

  10. Charito Marbella Reyes Reply

    If you decide to be excused in sunday mass expect that you are exempted from the graces of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  11. Marie Reply

    Why wouldn’t someone want to go to Mass as often as possible, not just Sunday’s, to receive the Eucharist and the grace of God? You do yourself a favor by going. However, if someone misses, they should watch it on TV and ask the parish to bring them Eucharist during the week.

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