All for One Sunday Mass?

“I can’t do this Sam.”

I feebly utter this line to my wife every time we return from a Latin Mass trip to Saskatoon. And no, her name isn’t Sam, but Becca. That would be weird having a spouse named Sam.

As I am sure you remember, Frodo spoke this line first to Samwise Gamgee while he carried the ring towards Mordor. When I repeat these words to my wife, somehow I picture her responding with an inspirational, “I know, it’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are…” Instead I’m given the look of, “stop moping and help get the kids out of the van.”

So yesterday we returned from another trip to Saskatoon. To attend a Latin Mass is a three day process. First, on the Saturday all preparations must be made. Food. Clothes. Vehicle maintenance. Sleep strategy. The second day is the actual trip; more on that later. The third day involves dealing with overtired kids on a Monday. Which is where we're at as I write this.

You see, as responsible parents, we make plans. And then, as happened this past Saturday, all those plans inevitably get thrown out the window…

Our little 7 week old boy (Jude) had a bad fit of crying on Saturday around 6pm. I wasn’t there to witness it. I was in the basement lifting weights. When I came upstairs my wife told me Jude was not at all happy. Me, being the generous and loving husband, responded with some good news to cheer her up: “Well, I just bench pressed my new personal record!” I think she was so amazed that she didn’t even respond. Speechless, I guess.

So we panicked and quickly rushed off to our usual Saturday evening Mass (we go on Saturday nights because there is no – or not much – hippy singing). If Jude was to cry all night, then we would be unable to go to Saskatoon, and so our Sunday obligation would be covered by the Saturday night Mass. Unfortunately, this little Mass add-on to our plan messed up the sleep plan.

The kids went to bed later than what is needed. We had our two youngest up for long stretches of the night. I finally gave up sleeping at 4am. Becca, being a quitter, gave up on sleep much earlier. 2am.

Nevertheless, we dragged ourselves out of bed at 5:15am, prepped for Mass, then prepped the kids (who were delighted to be dragged out of bed in the cold darkness…), and drove 2.5 hours to Saskatoon.

The Latin Mass was worth it. It always is.

Afterwards we chatted with many friends in the basement of the church. It always amazes me how you can talk with people who are so joyful and excited, then you start scratching the surface and find out they are going through horrific sufferings and trials.

After the Mass and coffee time we stopped by to watch a niece do her tryouts for the Saskatchewan gymnastics team, before hitting the road. There was much whining and complaining the first part of the trip home, but eventually the parents settled down and let the kids fall asleep. Total exhaustion.

Becca and I prayed another rosary, always thinking about the Mass we left behind, the people too, and their suffering. Somehow, we dream of one day joining this?

The kids were amped up when we got home. Eventually the evening wore on, and we all tumbled into bed exhausted. This morning there are many tears. I might have to sneak away and lift weights. It’s hard. In fact, I’m not sure how long we can keep trucking four young children around on Sunday mornings for one Mass. I… I can’t do this. And the stories of sufferings people share with us... Do you understand?

Then I hear Samwise’s words echoing back… “But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding on to something.”

Right you are, Mr. Gamgee. Right you are. We are holding on to something indeed.

Our Lady of Czestochowa Church - Saskatoon, SK


  1. It would seem that our insanity (driving a distance for mass with a family )
    may actually bring perspective and maybe even "sanity" to our lives. What do you sacrifice for? If it is the Mass, ones time cannot be better spent. Especially since one gets to look past the veil and peer into eternity if only for a moment.

    1. As with most things, there is a balance needed. Excessive travel can be hard, and even harmful, on a young family. Yet often we are starved for the graces gained from this Mass. It's always a matter of prudence!


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