Doing chores on Sunday


I’m visiting my grandmother while on vacation and staying in her apartment. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wanted us to do chores, which would be a sin since it would be on a Sunday. What would be the best way to go about this? I don’t want to sin, but I don’t know what would be the right way to go about this.


Doing some housework on Sunday is not a sin.


It’s only a sin if it precludes you from attending Mass on Sunday. As long as you attend Mass on Sunday, then it’s okay to do some chores around the house, especially daily chores like doing the dishes and sweeping the floor.


Do you love her? Charity allows, even demands such. Are you demanding pay?


Then, don’t worry about it!


A completely incorrect assumption.


As long as she doesn’t ask you to paint the house or mow the back 40 acres on Sunday I see nothing wrong with helping out with a few chores. Why would you NOT expect to help out? It’s OK for Granma but for you, it might be a sin? Nope, no excuse acceptable in this case.


Instead of worrying about doing chores on Sunday, what you need to do is get help for your scrupulosity. Find a regular Confessor who can assist you.


I have a spiritual director, but right now I’m away from home. I would like to ask him about this type of thing when I return


You base a lot of your questions on assumptions that are totally incorrect.


Can you explain how that relates to my question?


You just threw out the idea that doing chores on Sunday is sinful as though it were a universally accepted truth, when in fact no one believes that. Another post casually asserted that NFP is sinful, which is also incorrect.

You’re building your analysis on a faulty foundation. You need to re-examine some of your premises.


I think (since I’m probably your grandmother’s age) that I see what your problem is. You are equating ‘chores’ with ‘servile work’. And my dear, that is not necessarily so.

Back in the day, before malls, TV, internet, etc., a lot of people worked 6 days a week --Mon-Sat (yes, even Saturday). Sunday was a big ‘rest’. Stores weren’t open. People went to church, and then tried to spend time with family and in prayer and quiet.

But. . . cows still need to be milked on Sunday, for example. And that big family dinner that Mom made. . . wasn’t cooked, or cleaned up after, by elves.

On a winter Sunday, driveways and walkways needed to be shoveled so people could get to church. The old woodstove needed to be fed. Water needed to be pumped. Etc. Etc.

But now we have 24/7 stores available, we have all kind of labor-saving devices. With intelligent planning, a lot of the ‘activities of daily living’ on a Sunday can be done the day before; meals cooked and frozen and only needing reheating in the oven (or microwave), dishes put in the dishwasher, hot and cold ‘running water’, etc.

So we’ve lost the kind of common sense knowledge that would be able to see, "Grandma’s in her 60s/70s/80s, and it’s harder for her to do some things, so when we come to visit, even on a Sunday, if she asks us to run the vacuum, or sweep the porch, or rake leaves, it isn’t sinful to do; it’s a charity to help someone who is not able to, or has difficulty with, doing things that need to be done. ’

And if Grandma has to rely on an able-bodied teen on a summer Sunday to do heavy chores, like painting the porch, or shingling the roof, because she’s short-funded and/or less physically able, if there’s an urgent need (there’s a leak in the roof), do the work; if not, get the family together and contribute the funds and call the professional to get the work done.


Excellent reply. And the younger generation calls the older generation expecting to enjoy the fruits of their labor’ entitled.’ My father was a farmer and worked seven days a week putting food on your table, milk in your fridge, and bread on your table. So many of our parents and grandparents never got their 'entitlements 'cause they were working on Sundays for your benefit. You feel doing a few chores on Sunday is servile work? Grandma should let you go hungry on Sunday so that SHE can sit back and take the day off. Now you got me started…again.


@SebastianMary, I used to have the same mindset as you in this case, however, I asked Fr. Hugh Barbour about this on CA Live. You can check it out on the CA website: “The Chaplain Is In, July 11, 5 pm.” Basically, this is how it went:

Question (paraphrased): Why is it required to rest on Sunday?

Answer (paraphrased): As St. Thomas Aquinas tells us, “The ritual requirements of the old law are no longer binding.” The moral requirements can depend on a person’s judgement (prudence). No Catholic is under any obligation whatsoever to avoid work completely. Your schedule for the Sabbath should include going to Mass. Then you can go play a game, go out to eat, watch a show, et cetera… the people that allow other people to relax or enjoy themselves on Sunday are allowed to work. In some cases, however, people don’t have a choice; their job doesn’t allow them to rest on Sunday, so they are excused from this. Basically, go to Mass and be nice to people on Sunday and you’ll be fine.

The fourth commandment also says “Honor your father and mother”. This entails THEIR father and mother, too. I, too, have to do chores on Sunday, but it’s perfectly normal for me. It makes my parents happy, and it allows them to take care of other things.

Doing chores for your grandmother would not be sinning.


You are incorrect. It’s not a sin to do chores on Sunday. It would be wrong to refuse to help your grandma on the flimsy excuse that it’s Sunday. If your grandmother is elderly and needs help, you should be happy to do it.

Helping her would be charity in action. Do everything you can to help her while you’re staying in her home. Look for extra ways to help by getting difficut tasks done for her. It would be immature and ungrateful to do otherwise.


I have no problem with the work on other days, but I hate sin (as everyone must) and wish only to do what is not sinful. I also suffer from scrupulosity, so this can also cause anxiety. I’m not trying to be “immature”.


I think Charity would demand that you do the chores.


I commend you for trying to avoid sin, but if you are suffering from scrupulosity and are suffering anxiety over helping your grandma with her chores on a Sunday, I would strongly suggest you talk to your priest about it soon, before your trip, and let him help guide your thinking about this.

As others have pointed out, we are not bound to the Jewish observation of the Sabbath. I believe Jesus would rather have you show charity and love for your grandma by helping her. We show our love through our actions, not just words.


Well, as long as you only cut some firewood, mow the lawn, wash the cars, paint your fences, power-wash the house, vacuum, do the laundry, the dishes, clean the bathrooms, and take out the trash, there’s still time to go to Mass. So, what’s the problem? You should have that done by 0700, soldier. :sunglasses:


I’m glad you’re visiting your grandmother - that is so important. Reframe your thoughts on chores during this time - Thank God that you can help your grandmother and relieve some of her burden of chores by helping her. As long as you take time to go to Mass, you’ve fulfilled your obligation. This isn’t something you do every Sunday, so help her with joy and thanksgiving.

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