Random Musings of Faith, August 2, 2014

On keeping the Lord’s Day …

When I was a pastor of a suburban parish just outside of Boston, Sundays were busy. There were three Masses, two in the morning, one in the evening. One of our religious education sessions was scheduled in between the two morning Masses. There were baptisms in the afternoon.  Two Sundays a month we had an afternoon Confirmation session which started at 3:00 PM and ended at 8:00 PM (Mass included). Oftentimes there were all kinds of pre-Mass and post-Mass activities. There was the collection to be deposited and folks to meet who just asked “for a minute of your time.” So, it wasn’t, at least for the busy pastoral staff, what one could call a “day of rest.” Yet …

I made it a point to try and do nothing else: no extra meetings, no extra work, no food shopping or other shopping, no menial labor (in as much as that actually happened to me), nothing that couldn’t be done on another day. I even avoided cooking. Most Sunday evenings after things were over, I would join a couple of the other priests in the area down at one of the local restaurants for what we always called “a burger and a brew.”

In the parish, I always encouraged families to try and keep the Lord’s Day as His day and as a family day. For many, it was easier said than done, especially if the kids were involved in sports, but for some of the families that tried, they managed to keep the day separate from errands and work and things that could just “wait for another day.” When the Sunday morning Masses became too crowded and I added the 6:00 PM Mass, I suggested that if families were looking for a Mass to attend together, the 6:00 PM might work for them as normally sports and other activities were usually over by then. I began to see a lot of families coming together to the 6:00 PM and then going out for a pizza or picking up some take-out so everyone got a break. My suggestion to parents was to begin to say to their kids, “Remember it’s Sunday, a day to rest in the Lord and in re-Creation’s fullness. Turn off the distractions to tune into the Lord.”

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