Respect the Lord's Day

Let us continue this week to reflect on the message of Archbishop Alan Vigneron of Detroit on the importance of reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day.  He writes,

“Keeping holy Sunday also reminds us of our eternal destiny; it allows us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.  We put aside the worldly pursuits which are necessary for this life but too often become a distraction from what is ultimately important: ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.’  Sunday is a day to rest from work so that we have the time and leisure to pursue things that do not have worldly utility.  Unless we take this regular time away from these matters, we will easily and quickly lose sight of our ultimate destiny.  Our attention needs to be intentionally interrupted from our earthly work to call to mind that we are joint heirs with Christ of the things of heaven.”

“For our Church to be faithful, we also must commit to seeing Sunday as a day when families can be together.  The vision for families requires time set aside from many other good activities so that families can be together, free from other distractions.  Some of the particular aspects of Sunday family time include family Scripture time, the family Rosary, making use of parish activities together as a family and ‘reclaiming Sunday’ through Mass and a shared meal.  For some families, this time together has been marked by ‘technology-free family time’ on Sunday, when parents and children set aside their phones and other devices and commit to spending uninterrupted family time together.”

“Finally, Sunday is the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out in power upon the disciples of Jesus.  In fact, John Paul II called Sunday a ‘weekly Pentecost.’  Therefore, Sunday is a fitting day to grow in our faith.  Catechesis for young people and for adults is not out of place on this day.  It is also a day to witness to our faith. That first Pentecost saw the apostles boldly proclaiming Jesus as Lord.  As we seek to live a new Pentecost, we should be witnesses to God’s mercy, particularly on the Lord’s Day.  This means we should look for opportunities to share our faith with others on this day.  We do this in our words of kindness, by sharing our faith with others and through works of charity, especially to the less fortunate.”

“We are called to a countercultural way of living.  Living Sunday more radically and intentionally as God’s people will help us do this.  It will help us to root our lives in prayer and the sacraments.  It will create the space for us to demonstrate unusually gracious hospitality and to include those on the margins.  And it will remind us of God’s presence even in difficult and stressful times, so that we can be Jesus’ band of joyful missionary disciples.”

The archbishop, after consultation with his priests, made the decision that one way to commit to living this “countercultural way of living,” to help reclaim Sunday as the Lord’s Day, will cease to hold sporting events on Sundays.  “This means that competitive athletic programs in the grade school and high school levels are called to no longer play games or conduct practices on the Lord’s Day.”

“In shifting away from the hustle of required sporting activities on Sunday, we will reclaim this holy day and create more time for families to choose activities that prioritize time spent with each other and our Lord.  As the Catholic Church, our primary role is to form disciples.”

— Fr. Dennis, June 30, 2019