Should my teenager stop working on Sundays?

My 15-yr-old son is excited to have his first job and not too many businesses hire 15-yr-olds. When they asked when he could work, he said anytime, and so he works at various times, including a couple hours on Sunday morning. We plan ahead and attend the vigil on Saturday if he works on Sunday. Now that school has started, he can continue working, but only on Saturdays and Sundays. Cutting out Sunday would reduce his hours in half, from 4 to 2 each week.

Should I have him stop working on Sundays? Am I allowing him to break the 3rd commandment?

Edited in case this helps:
My son is a “sign twirler” for a local bakery. He wears a costume and dances with a sign to advertise the business.

Also, 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.

1 Like

What is the nature of his job?

The Church doesn’t forbid us from working on Sunday. If your family is stil fulfilling the Sunday obligation by attending the Saturday Vigil, it’s fine.


Catholics are not forbidden to be employed on Sunday. Servile labor is not something for which someone gets paid.

A job is an invaluable experience for a teen. Thank you for caring enough about your son to encourage him to work!

The Third commandment forbids servile work on Sundays.

I would say, if it’s possible for him to not work on Sunday and still keep his job, that would be better. Otherwise he will get an idea that working on Sunday is no different than Saturday. Often though businesses won’t keep you as an employee if you are only available 2 hours a week. The important thing is that he knows that working on Sundays is not ideal and should only be done out of necessity.

Exactly. Servile work and getting a paycheck are two VERY different things.

1 Like

I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.

Do you mean the Sabbath?

There is a difference.

1 Like

Although the Sabbath is technically Saturday, it is observed on Sunday, so it does forbid servile work on Sundays.

NOT necessarily. The Sabbath has been replaced with the Lord’s Day. That doesn’t mean the same laws apply. It’s not merely a switch of days.

1 Like

The Third commandment now applies to Sundays.

To honor the Lord’s Day, yes! That doesn’t necessarily mean an absolute prohibition of work.

But I think we ought to try to avoid it. Yet there are justified situations. Probably unlike the Sabbath.

As long as he is meeting his Sunday Mass obligation and spending some family time on the Sunday, I don’t see a problem. The idea is to spend some special time with Jesus and your family that day.

1 Like

Servile labor is not limited to the jobs which you have listed. Servile labor is defined as work of a physical nature. It involves the use of the body more than of the mind.

I’m not suggesting an absolute prohibition of work. I am suggesting a prohibition of servile work.

Is that how it was before Christ?

How do you know what the teens job is?

The Church forbids unnecessary servile work on Sundays on Holy Days. Servile work is work which is physical in nature.

I would talk to a priest, you will only get different opinions here. I am if the opinion that one should not work on Sunday if they really do not have to. In other words, since i am not in danger of being homeless or starving if I refuse to work on a Sunday I won’t do it. My job also does not require working on Sundays. Construction work does not need to be done on Sunday like how cities need to be policed on Sunday.

Being that your son does not support himself yet it is not a necessity for him to work on Sunday. I am not sure if that makes it a sin for him to do so or not because perhaps his job is not strenuous at all and he loves it. That is why I would talk to a priest if I were you.

i too would suggest setting your mind at rest by talking to a priest.

Let’s put it this way: if the kid doesn’t do his shift on Sunday, then he is not likely to spend the entire day of Sunday praying, meditating, having family time, and studying for school. Is it better that he work a couple hours and learn some responsibiliy, or that he sit around the house watching TV and playing video games and poking his phone?

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit