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.


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.


If he’s able to attend Mass, either at the Saturday anticipation or on Sunday, it’s fine. Many people work on Sundays, including Church staff. Finding a job for a teen outside of the service industry is hard and other than Hobby Lobby or Chick fil a, they may have to work on a Sunday. He’s not doing servile work in the fields and he’s able to attend Mass. Worry not!


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.


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


Do you mean the Sabbath?

There is a difference.


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


Servile work: Is my Sunday job considered servile work?

The OP’s son is a minor, but obviously old to have a job permit. Given that having this job allows him to save money towards schooling and purchase things for himself (taking some financial burden off of his parents) I would suffice it to say, especially that he IS able to attend Mass, it’s not an issue of “servile” work on Sunday. (It would be a rare teen in this country that is paid to do servile work on Sunday.)


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.


The Third commandment now applies to Sundays.


Unless this kid is toiling in the fields, laboring on The loading docks, or is the starboard lookout on a garbage scow, he’s not in violation of working on a Sunday. (If he had any of those jobs, he’s probably supporting his family, anyway). He’s likely employed in the service industry and he’s attending Mass at the anticipation Mass on Saturday evening. It’s fine. We must be cautious not to ask more of people than the Church does, just because our personal preferences lean towards an older definition or understanding.


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.


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?

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