Keeping Sunday Holy
Emphasizing Mass as Center of Christian Life
ROME, FEB. 27, 2005 (Zenit) - Trying to ensure Christians celebrate Sunday as a special day is one of the aims of the Year of the Eucharist the Church is now observing. In his apostolic letter on the year, "Mane Nobiscum Domine," John Paul II wrote: "In a particular way I ask that every effort be made this year to experience Sunday as the day of the Lord and the day of the Church" (No. 23).
The Pope also called upon priests during the special year, which continues through October 2005, to pay more attention to the celebration of Sunday Mass as an event that unites the entire parish.
During his homily last Oct. 17 at the Mass held to mark the start of the special year, the Pontiff noted that particularly on a Sunday the Church lives the mystery of the Eucharist. Moreover, through the Eucharistic celebration the Christian community is called to a greater brotherhood and service to others.
The Holy Father's call to reinforce the importance of Sunday Mass has been followed up in a recent meeting of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, held Jan. 18-21. The commission issued a series of pastoral recommendations on how to maintain the Sunday Mass as a central feature of Christian life.
When Sunday loses its special meaning, it becomes absorbed into the generic concept of "weekend," the commission observed. Christians, instead, need to keep in mind that Sunday Mass should be at the heart of their religious life. Sunday Mass attendance is also an important means to ensure the Church maintains its missionary fervor, which is strengthened through a regular contact with Jesus in the Eucharist.
The commission insisted on the need for a dignified celebration of the Eucharist. This covers everything from the ornaments used by the priest, to the music used in the ceremony, to the way the liturgy is organized. This dignity must be safeguarded even in circumstances that present special difficulties, such as prisons, hospitals and nursing homes.
The Lord's Day
Another recommendation concerns the need for an active participation by everyone in the celebration. To ensure this, the commission called upon priests and laity alike to meditate on the meaning of Sunday Mass as the central moment of the Lord's Day.
The commission urged priests to increase their reverence at Mass, reflecting in their words and acts the great value of the mystery they are celebrating. The panel also recommended that adequate care be given to the preparation of the Sunday homily, basing its content on Scripture, the Tradition of the Church and the magisterium.
For those who participate in some way in the liturgical celebration as acolytes, readers, Eucharistic ministers, etc., the commission asked that they be given a careful preparation in the roles they carry out.
Another way in which the Christian community can value better Sunday Mass is through an adequate catechesis. The commission called for an increased effort in communicating the value of the Mass. Part of this involves a greater awareness of the connection between the sacraments, for example, baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. As well, a more-frequent participation in the sacrament of reconciliation is suggested in order to ensure worthy reception of Communion.
The commission also noted the importance of ensuring that the whole family participates together in the Sunday Eucharist. Related to this is the need to teach within the family the importance of the Eucharist.
In Australia and Ireland
In recent weeks other countries have also responded to the Pope's call to reinforce Sunday Mass during the Year of the Eucharist.
A Jan. 20 press release by the Australian bishops' conference announced a program prepared by the National Liturgical Commission. The initiative will get under way during the Sundays of Easter and is linked with a proposal for a period of Eucharistic devotion from Trinity Sunday to Corpus Christi.
In the introduction to the program, the chairman of the episcopate's Committee for Liturgy, Bishop Kevin Manning, recalled the invitation of John Paul II for Catholics to dedicate the current year to the Eucharist.
"The Australian bishops have responded to the Holy Father's invitation and now offer the program, 'Sunday: Sacrament of Easter,' to the Australian Church as a means of enlivening our celebration of the Eucharist and to encourage devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament," Bishop Manning wrote.
In Ireland, meanwhile, the Diocese of Down and Connor announced last Monday that it will be starting a series of lessons in its parishes on the meaning of the Eucharist, reported the Irish Independent.
Launching the campaign, Bishop Patrick Walsh warned that Sunday is no longer a family day, let alone the Lord's Day, for many people. "The purpose of the Year of the Eucharist is to open the eyes of our faith so that we will come to recognize Christ more fully in the breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist, and stay with him in his presence in the Blessed Sacrament," he explained.
This is not the first time John Paul II has insisted on the need to ensure that Sunday remains a special day for Catholics. In his 1998 apostolic letter, "Dies Domini," he noted that the Church has always given the Lord's Day special attention. On Sunday we recall Christ's resurrection and celebrate his victory over sin and death. "It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to 'the last day', when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Revelation 21:5)" (No. 1).
The Pope commented that until recently is was easier to preserve the special meaning of Sunday, because in most Christian countries it was practiced by virtually all the population and was also a part of civil society. Now, however, Sunday is submerged in a series of cultural and sporting activities that can cause us to lose sight of the day's spiritual meaning.
"The disciples of Christ, however, are asked to avoid any confusion between the celebration of Sunday, which should truly be a way of keeping the Lord's Day holy, and the 'weekend,' understood as a time of simple rest and relaxation," the Pope added (No. 4).
Achieving this requires a greater spiritual maturity and for Christians to act in accordance with their faith. Sunday should be a day that is at the heart of the Christian life, the Pope urged. "Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction" (No. 7).
Moreover, he added: "Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human." A lesson that the Pope hopes many will learn during this year dedicated to the Eucharist.
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Sunday, Holy, Mass, Eucharist, Christ, Church
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Sunday, March 18, 2018
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 34
- 'Living Lent': Sunday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 33
- Saint Patrick Calls All Christians to be Missionaries to this Age
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 19th, 2018 HD Video
- St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Saint of the Day for Sunday, March 18, 2018
- advent prayers
- St Joseph
- ten commandments
- Pope Francis
- saint agnes
- St Anthony
- 10 commandments
- mary magdalene
- Patron saints
- st bernadette
- pope francis
- St. John
- holy spirit
- morning prayer
- Saint Elizabeth
- St. Augustine
- Saint Anne
- st agnes
- saint monica
- saint catherine
- Saint Lucy
- saint clare
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 18th, 2018 HD
- The Earth is Dying: Human impact continues to shape the future of the planet HD
- Thousands of students walk out of schools to protest gun violence HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, March 17th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education