Tip from Tiff: Finding Catholic Masses When Traveling

If you couldn’t figure it out by the title, our family is Catholic. When we travel we try to attend Mass in whatever country we’re in. Sometimes this has worked well for us, other times we have failed spectacularly.

If you’re traveling in a traditionally Catholic country (Italy, France, Spain, etc.) you’re not going to have a problem finding a Catholic Church. Your problem is finding a Mass in English. If you missed or can’t find a Mass in English, I still recommend attending Mass even if it’s in a foreign language.

How do I find where/when English Masses are? If you’re traveling in the U.S., I would start with http://www.masstimes.org/. You can input your city/state or zip code and it’ll give you a list of the closest parishes to you and Mass times. I recommend then following up by going to the parish website of where you think you’ll go to Mass. When parishes change their Mass schedule it doesn’t get updated right away to masstimes.org. We’ve made the mistake of not double-checking the parish website and we’ve arrived to Mass as it was ending, etc.

Traveling outside the U.S. gets a little trickier but it’s still doable! If you have a local travel book, many include a list of English speaking religious services in the city/area you’re in. If you don’t have one, check out the website: http://www.tourama.net/englishchurches.php. That isn’t a comprehensive list, but it has a list of cities with English-speaking Mass in popular tourist destinations. Then go to the parish website where the English-speaking Mass is held to double-check that the Catholic Mass times haven’t changed.

catholic mass times

Some cities, like Paris and Rome will have one church in the city that conducts all their Masses in English. Other cities will have one, maybe two English Masses. That was our fail. When we went to Venice we didn’t double-check the Mass times online. We were getting our info from a guide book written a year or two previously. Sure enough, we show up, it was the correct church, but we had missed the English Mass for the day. Another Mass (in Italian) was about to start, so we went to that. Mass is in the same format no matter where you go, so you’ll know what’s going on even if you can’t understand the homily.

If you can’t find a Mass in English don’t be afraid to go to a Mass in the local language. It is an amazing experience to attend Mass in different places. Yes, it’ll probably force you out of your comfort zone, but those are the experiences that make the best memories.


About Tiff

Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 10 and 6, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

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  1. I agree with you to not be afraid going to mass hearing the local language. It’s humbling and at the same time makes it feel you’re part of something worldly. From the times I’ve gone to a local mass, I normally go online before or after the mass to read the first/second readings and gospel for that day. Just google for the first/second/gospel readings online and you’ll find it.
    Back in pre vatican II when most if not all masses were spoken in Latin, international travellers wouldn’t have had this problem.
    In addition, I find it interesting to see different customs of the Catholic mass around the world. When I was in Israel, I noticed most if not all locals would kneel before taking communion. Such a drastic difference from the norm here in the USA.

  2. i always attend mass when traveling and usually have a great experience. my recent fav was attending mass in Reyjkavik – the cathedral had 4 Sunday masses in 4 different languages (Icelandic, Spanish, Polish and English!) i attended the Spanish and it was a fantastic experience! They were so excited to talk to me. I use masstimes.org for domestic churches and just use google for international ones. I have the Catholic app called laudate on my iphone so i can follow along with the reading in English. I’ll be attending mass this weekend in Arabic in Nazareth.

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