Sunday . . . a day to prepare for the week ahead, tie up loose ends, finish the weekend’s to-do list . . . right? Wrong! To Catholics, Sunday is the Sabbath, a day to keep holy, praise and worship God. Amid this busy world filled with got-to-get-done distractions, here are four ways to keep Sunday holy.
by Regina Lordan
Sunday . . . a day to prepare for the week ahead, tie up loose ends, finish the weekend’s to-do list . . . right? Wrong! To Catholics, Sunday is the Sabbath, a day to keep holy, praise and worship God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses the dignity of the day with these beautiful words:
Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:
We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.
Amid this busy world filled with got-to-get-done distractions, here are four ways to keep Sunday holy. And as a bonus, at the end of this article, we’ll share some of the ways parents in our PB & Grace Facebook group like to keep Sunday holy. You’re going to love their ideas!
1. Celebrate each Sunday as a little Easter by going to Mass … and adding a special treat.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says Christians celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday because of Jesus’ resurrection, which is why Sunday is known as the Lord’s day. Like many parents on the PB & Grace Parents Facebook group asked to share how they keep Sunday holy, Martianne Stanger said her family has a special treat after Mass to “extend the sweetness of having been with our Lord.” So go ahead, “cook up a big feast” like Erin Kilkeary Davoli or get a cup of fresh coffee and bagel from the bakery—it’s Easter (again).
2. Extend family time.
It’s right there in the Catechism: Sunday can be fun day . . . a day of “rest and leisure.” Visit new playgrounds like Michelle Cochran’s family does, or go for a family hike (h/t Andrea Lucero-Watje). While you are on that hike, help your kids encounter God in nature.
3. Read, listen to and talk about the Scriptures.
Jessica Freyne uses the drive to Mass to talk about the readings. “This helps us better prepare and it also ensures that we all hear the readings even if little ones are wiggly during Mass,” she said. Use Breaking Open the Bread at Home to help guide family discussions about the readings; and CathFamily offers an excellent animated resource for breaking open the Scriptures with younger kids.
4. Ditch work.
Here’s a challenge, especially for parents. But the Catechism reminds us to keep Sunday holy by avoiding work that can become a distraction to worshiping God. So have a little fun (see the second idea) or use Sunday chores as a way to do service for one another. Andrea Lucero-Watje says her family sometimes extends family time by working around the house together: “Cleaning is not always work—sometimes it is a real act of service to each other.” So play hooky from work and instead be with friends and family to help keep your Sunday holy and the Lord’s day for the Lord.
More ideas about how to keep Sunday holy
- “A treat after Mass (to extend the “sweetness” of having been with our Lord…. Family time—preferably outside…. Of course, Mass, with children serving and singing.” (Martianne Stanger)
- “I have the older kids look up and read the Gospel in their Bibles before Mass…. We cook up a big breakfast after Mass…. I try to do no shopping or laundry myself ….take a break from chores!” (Erin Kilkeary Davoli)
- “We get donuts (or bagels) after Mass!” (Maggie Jennings)
- “We try to go over the readings before Sunday Mass so that we are familiar with them before Sunday (need to be more consistent with this). Our parish provides doughnuts or bagels and cream cheese following the Sunday Masses.
- “We make Mass #1 priority even when we are traveling out of town for vacations/soccer tournaments. Even when we had 2 children playing in out of town soccer tournaments with 6-7 games total, we always make it to Mass when it best fits the hectic game schedule. Visiting other parishes as a family is one of my favorite parts of traveling.” (Tracy Bua Smith)
- “We usually get breakfast after, either a sit down or quick stop depending on the week. Lately we’ve been going to different playgrounds, too. It’s a nice way to extend our family time.” (Michelle Cochran)
- “We do family ‘Sunday School.’ We learn a new hymn each month using Traditional Catholic Living and review the readings using CathFamily (and your Breaking Open the Word). This always spurs some really great questions and discussions!
- “We also make sure to spend some time together as a family. Some weeks this might look like a board game marathon or a nature hike, and some weeks this might look like working together to clean out a problem area in our house or yard together. Cleaning is not always work—sometimes it is a real act of service to each other!” (Andrea Lucero-Watje)
- “When Sunday Mass is over we all kneel and give thanks for the graces received and pray the St. Michael’s prayer. By the time we leave Church we are pretty hungry so, usually my husband treat us with brunch at our favorite restaurant in town. Yay! to not cooking and cleaning up til dinner time. In the afternoon, depending on the season, we try to do an activity as a family like a bible study at church, go over the children’s catechism or jump in the couch to watch a movie together.!” (Libia Rios Dudzinski)
- “We read the epistle and Gospel on the way to Mass and talk about them in context (what was happening before it, why would those specific words need to be said, where did it take place, etc). Usually after Mass, our 2 year old plays with other kids. She always asks for pancakes so if she doesn’t fall asleep we go out to breakfast. Usually we all end up taking a nap in the afternoon.” (Rebecca Nieser)
- “Mass is the most important thing in the day. Afterward, we have a special brunch either at Grandma’s (my mom’s) house or out at a restaurant. We visit for several hours. On Sundays when my husband has to work, we go to Mass and have dinner at my mom’s.” (Nina Polchlopek-Gardner)
- “When I was working as a DRE starting in the year 2000 and had to work on Sundays my husband started a tradition of going through the Wendy’s drive-thru on the way home from Mass. Seventeen years later (and eleven years since I left the job), we still drive through Wendy’s every Sunday.” (Maggie Scheck Geene)
- “Sunday is dessert day!” (Claire Poppe Clemens)
- “Mass for the win! We usually have a sort of treat, score if the church has donut Sunday! Family time all day long, reconnecting and not feeing rushed. Plenty of time in the week for a rigorous schedule. We try to talk about mass readings in the car while we have their attention (screaming 2yo and 3mo sometimes interrupt), a rosary, just try to focus on being present with each other.” (Erica ‘Perla Severini’ Lichter)
- “Sunday is always our take it easy family day. We vary the activity but usually something outside and then a nice family dinner.” (Laura Kazmierczak Austin)
- “We read the readings for Sunday’s Mass on the car ride to church. This helps us better prepare and it also ensures that we all hear the readings even if little ones are wiggly during Mass.” (Jessica Freyne)