This should probably be quick. After my current seasonal job, I will return to a job where I work at a nature center. I often work there on Sundays. Typically it’s families or school kids who are visiting to go for a ride on a zip line, climb a tower, or do an environmental education activity.
Should I tell my place of employment I cannot work on Sundays? It is a mortal sin to work on Sundays, is it?
To be honest I like working those days, they are fun (it’s a fun job) and I am happy to help other people have a fun day, and see my friends; but if that’s not the way the Church sees it, please inform me.
We are not to do any servile work on Sundays, that is the Lord’s Day. I would advise you to ask your priest. I know it is okay for some to work on Sundays: doctors, bus drivers, etc. Whether your job would fall into one of the service job catagories or not, I don’t know. Also, do you have the option of not working? Do you still make your Sunday Obligation? All those things are probably factors as well. Your priest can best advise you.
This is a question often asked during our RCIA classes (I’m a team member), because many of our local employers are manufacturing or processing type operations that have 7/24 shift type work. Working on the assigned shifts and days (including Sundays) is certainly required to maintain employment with these companies. We have a lot of what I like to call 7pmSatCatholics. These people have to work Sunday so they attend the last Mass on Saturday evenings, even the teenagers - nothing better than a full Church on a Saturday evening if I am covering for someone to Lector!
Thus we answer the question within the light that when one must work to maintain employment (lively hood), the health and welfare of self or others, emergencies, or other such situations then we look to our Lords own actions (to follow) to justify the need to work in these situations.
Certainly, one should, if possible, avoid servile work on ALL Holy Days of Obligation (not just Sundays) and we should seek to attend Mass either during the vigil or on the day of the obligation or seek a release from the Pastor (yes such is possible if the situation is reasonably serious - or say you have a very small Parish that is served by a Pastor that must also cover two or three other Parishes as often happens in Rural America; thus, you might not have the privilege of a vigil Mass - mind you, I know of people that drive an hour into town every Sunday to attend Mass!)
Now as for our Lord’s own words:
Health and Welfare of others and of ones own goods
(note the following are from the RSV Catholic:)
Luke 14: 1 - 6:
1 One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him.
2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy.
3 And Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not?”
4 But they were silent. Then he took him and healed him, and let him go.
5 And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?”
6 And they could not reply to this.
Once again to maintain one’s own goods… could be stretched a tad for employment given that most people of this time frame were farmers, ranchers, and herdsmen
11 He said to them, “What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?
12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.”
Clearly the work to be done here must be done for the good of the family, to maintain employment (even if one works for themselves), and the animals are within our care right from the point of Genesis.
Luke 13: 14 - 17
14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his *** from the manger, and lead it away to water it?
16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?"
17 As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
There are many other passages that support this position.
One can (should) certainly ask of the employer if it is possible to work around Sundays and other Holy Days of obligation; however, something to consider, nothing good comes except thru our Lord. The fact that you are interacting with Families, helping them to have a positive experience is a good thing! You also have a chance to Evangelize… wear a cross, have a thumb/finger Rosary and pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy (people will ask - they ask me quite often, a simple I’m praying the Rosary - no huge explanation needed), give a “Bless you.” Just such small things may be just enough grace to get someone to open the door. You never know - does Mom/Dad there have lung cancer and no-one knows it and will be gone in a day or two, perhaps this is a foster child that has never had a day like this before, someone might be suffering from depression and your smile and “God Keep You” may be what saves them that day.
Offer the day to God - thru your actions, your work, your words, your prayers.
Also, if you do have to work that Sunday… remember, try set aside another day during the week to honor the Lord. You might also check into Adoration with your Church.
Thanks. I will certainly check with my priest on this matter. I can always go to Mass when I’m back home where that job is located (it’s offered at a variety of times in a variety of places that I can access, from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon). I will check with my priest on whether or not he thinks it is permissible for me to work on those days, though, before or after Mass.
CCC 2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.
The charity of truth seeks holy leisure- the necessity of charity accepts just work.
You should at least ask your employer if you could have Sundays off. Think of Our Lady of La Sallette weeping the way she did over the people who work on Sundays. If your employer says no and you truly need the money, and if there is no other work you can obtain after a good job search, then the Church wouldn’t have a problem with you working this job on Sundays. God bless you. I hope you do the right thing … to comfort Our Lady and for the sake of your own soul.