Dispensation from Sunday Obligation?

Q. I am in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults class and was told by the instructor that the parish priest is able to give dispensation for missing Mass — not being sick but missing for other reasons. This doesn’t sound right, but maybe it is.  

S.H., via e-mail 

A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D:

The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and other holy days is a serious duty since it is based on the divine command, “Remember to keep the Lord’s day holy.” Nevertheless, life can be complicated and members of the faithful can find themselves in a predicament. No pastor casually dispenses the faithful from the Sunday obligation, but he does have that right in law. 

According to the Code of Canon Law, “Without prejudice to the right of diocesan Bishops in can. 87, a parish priest, in individual cases, for a just reason and in accordance with the prescriptions of the diocesan Bishop, can give a dispensation from the obligation of observing a holyday or day of penance, or commute the obligation into some other pious works” (Canon 1245).