The Sabbath vs. The Weekend


In the Saturday Vigil Mass thread, someone mentioned that this topic deserves its own thread. I agree.

A few of the posters mentioned keeping Sunday the way it is intended to be kept. They cited a letter by Pope John Paul II decrying the loss of Sunday.

My question is, “How is Sunday to be kept by Christians?”

Or is this question totally wrong? Should it read “How is the Sabbath to be kept by Christians?”

Isn’t the Sabbath Saturday night through Sunday night? Or is it Friday night through Saturday night?

Is gardening allowedt? Visiting relatives? Watching the game (Go Bears!)? Going to to a movie or concert? Ice skating? Going out to eat? Shopping? Making love? Taking the little ones to a museum? Writing novels? Reading novels? Doing homework?

Are we supposed to be just going to Mass, reading the Bible and other spiritual books, and sitting and thinking about God and spiritual things?

Where is the list of “approved activities for Sunday” posted?

P.S. I would appreciate it if this topic was kept CATHOLIC. I realize that the Seventh Day Adventists have their own beliefs about the Sabbath, but since I and many others are not SDA, could we please leave this topic for Catholics, and start another topic about SDA beliefs about the Sabbath? Thanks so much.


From the Catechism;

A day of grace and rest from work

2184 Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,"121 human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.122

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.123 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.

Just as Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” So, we are to refrain from work and spend out time in worship and rest. Family time is especially important!

Watching football games on Sunday or participating in your activities of leisure, such as gardening, painting, or whatever, are part of rest.



If I may, what I have come to understand is the following: One who attends the Saturday vigil and then spends Sunday loving your neighbors (all our brothers and sisters) is the key…

So for me personally, if I attend a Saturday vigil, then I want to make sure that somehow consciously I give Sunday the reverence it deserves. Reverence in how I treat my brothers and sisters on this day shouldn’t differ from any other day but somehow I need to make sure that I go beyond what I normally do (especially if I haven’t been to generous during the week)…for instance, am I celebrating His resurrection? am I bringing light where there is darkness? am I being neighborly? am I promoting the catholic lifestyle? am I giving my little ones the attention they seek? am I preparing myself for the upcoming week by living out the homily given by Father? …it isn’t difficult to practice this when I’m genuine in my desire…

All these things should, yes, be done every day. But on Sunday I should want go beyond this expectation for myself…I don’t ever want to view Sunday as just another day of the weekend…no, I want it to be the light at the end and the beginning of the tunnel for me…I will always want Sunday to be the day He set aside to welcome me into his home with the most joyful anticipation possible…

Am I always successful in my intentions? No, but if I can make it beyond the church parking lot without wanting to go home and lock myself in a closet just to get a moment of peace…well then I say I’m off to pretty good start.


anniemart, could you give some specific examples of "celebrating His resurrection, bringing light where there is darkness, promoting the Catholic lifestyle, etc.?

I like the thought of what you are saying, but I’m not sure how this translates into practical living experiences.

Do you visit a nursing home or a prison? Take a casserole to an elderly neighbor? Invite a friend over to watch the game and have pizza with you?

I’ll be honest, even though it doesn’t look too good for me! I like the idea of visiting nursing homes, etc, or making something for a neighbor, or having someone over to my house, but to me, these things are WORK, and I think I would find myself tired and frazzled at the end of Sunday if I spent my day doing this kind of stuff.

I usually spend my Sunday mornings either working (hospital) or playing piano for several Masses, and then by the time I eat dinner (usually out) with my husband, it’s 3:00 pm, and the day is almost over. I love to watch football and usually watch a game or two while reading the giant Sunday paper. I try to go to the gym to work out, because it’s empty on Sunday afternoon. I usually go to Holy Hour on Sunday evening because it’s a great way to end the weekend. And I often spend Sunday evening with my husband, watching Fox TV (very relaxing for us) and eating snacks rather than real food. It is often a time when “love” happens!

It’s a relaxing day, definitely different than the rest of the week, and my conscience is clear before the Lord.


Looking up at the quote from the CCC that Jim gave, you don’t seem far off the mark. :slight_smile: It does suggest works of mercy, and visiting the sick is literally defined to be one of the corporal works of mercy. Yet it also warns that doing social service is a legitimate excuse, but also that legitimate excuses ought not interfere with health, for example. Since it sounds like you work during the week, being frazzled and tired every Sunday could well interfere with functioning during the week.

But something about how you said it makes me wonder if just an hour doing that type of stuff might still appeal to you. If we were talking face to face, I’d be able to tell. You could just have one person in a nursing home that you visit. That could be under an hour. It all depends on where you live.

Just to share some thoughts, I had a friend who had her family complain that she was doing too much “church” stuff and not spending time with them. I think she did the right thing to give up some of her Sunday morning commitments at church. She’s a grandmother now, and that is time to spend with her grandchild and eat with the family that she doesn’t always see during the week. More grandma time is good for the kids.


My husband and I both work 7 days a week, multiple jobs, just to survive. We live very simply, so this isn’t to support any sort of luxuries – we have none. My “break” is a few minutes on this board and a bit of reading before bedtime – we have the “luxury” of internet connection so I can work out of the home and still home school and do therapies with my son with Down syndrome.

I have been struggling with this very question, but from a different slant than the rest of you. I cannot afford to rest one day a week. Yes, every so many weeks I collapse and “only” work 4 or 5 hours, but then I have to make it up on the other days. And the day I finally collapse is whatever day it falls on.

So how do I fulfill the commandment to rest? Our Priest has given us permission (forget the formal word - discompensed?) to skip Mass since I have no vehicle and my husband nearly lost his main job when he asked for a schedule change to allow us to attend one Mass a month. We live in a rural area, so there’s limited Mass times. But there’s no special permissions for folks who can’t rest on the Sabbath.

For now, I try and take a few moments from work on Sundays to say a Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Have to admit, I’ve even tried to say a Rosary or Chaplet while I still worked, sort of going in and out of it (I listen to EWTN on the computer while I work). Pretty awful, huh?

Sometimes I read these boards and just shake my head… we have prayed for 3 years for the Lord to provide us with one day a week of family rest time to enjoy – any day – we aren’t picky!! Sunday would be wonderful, but we could make do with a Tuesday Sabbath, or a Thursday – any day we could attend a Mass and relax together. Only someone who never has a day of rest, never has a vacation or a sick day could possibly understand how unimportant this question seems.



I went back and read my initial post after reading Cat’s reply. And then I thought, did I portray myself as a “Susie Homemaker” or a "Betty Crocker dressed in a habit? :blush: Truth be told if I could roll around on the floor without cramping I would do so in laughter…I’m not the Bionic Catholic Evangelist (BCE) in disguise by any means.

What the Sabbath means to me is practicing mercy which includes taking my disabled brother who lives 25 minutes away dinner…without complaining about the gas expense and then inevitably, going back again later because he forgot to ask me to bring him a few grocery items and I failed to anticipate it. It means listening to my mother complain that my other siblings don’t call her nearly enough. It means my blessing my self with sincerity when in public. It means biting my tongue because I know my husband is frustrated and needs just to be heard. It means seeking what St. Paul wanted to teach us. It means taking the time to talk with my kids about our Lord and the day’s homily and finding a way to do it that keeps their interest peaked. It means offering silence when shouting would instantly bring false gratification. It means audibly giving thanks to Him for all things and understanding that I have a long way to go. Including loving my neighbor…

Don’t get me wrong…I am not the “Great Distributor of Mercy” but how can I practice catholicism without recognizing the need for grace and mercy in all situations? Is it always easy? No.

And so, I am grateful to those of you who haven’t fallen asleep or taken out the violin. Bottom line for me is that on all days, especially Sundays, I try my absolute best to keep from pushing that darn “DISCIPLE DENIED” button.


My husband and I both work 7 days a week, multiple jobs, just to survive.

I cannot afford to rest one day a week.

So how do I fulfill the commandment to rest?

For now, I try and take a few moments from work on Sundays to say a Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Hi Sojo

It seems you are trying to “rest in the Lord” on Sundays when you try to release yourself from the cares of the world and pray the rosary. Read bible stories with your children, talk to them about God and pray with them. When your husband is home on Sundays, pray and read scripture together.

You didn’t say how severe your son’s needs are, but have you thought of asking your parish staff if someone in the parish would be willing to pick you and your children up for mass one Sunday a month? Perhaps for confession one Saturday (or other day) a month? People with Downs Syndrome are children of God, and can attend mass – some even receive Holy Communion. I have relatives with Downs Syndrome. They love the music at mass, and have made friends in the parish. I hope you’ll consider these ideas.


I do not wish to sound insensitive, but this one got me a heads up.

This is very unwise, even if you need to work for survival. One always needs to rest.

Unless you take days off, I’m afraid this kind of stress will take its toll on you, and you stand a bigger chance of dying early. Health experts will confirm this. Stress-related illness is the biggest killer in modern society today.

Take one day off, no matter how much you feel you need the money, for your own sake and that of your family. Your health is no less important then your finances.


Thank you, if there was any way to take a day off, we would. But right now we are trying to save our home. Our well has gone dry (literally, not figuratively) so our home at this time has no value – if we lose it to foreclosure, we will be homeless as we are unable to sell it without water (no city water where we live). We are hoping the water crisis will resolve with a city water extension, but in the meantime, if they foreclose we will be on the streets. Its only a tiny home, but it is the only thing we have.

We have already declared bankrupcy, so the remaining debts are solid – mostly medical and legal (we adopted a special needs child who turned out to be severely emotionally disturbed – she false allegated and with legal help were able to prove our innocence, but in the meantime the debt…)

Even taking 1/2 day off once a week has meant a huge dent in our food budget – and my husband and I already do a lot of fasting, LOL. I tried taking a full day off about 6 weeks ago and it was a disaster. I missed an 2 important emails from a customer and ended up having to refund or risk losing my ebay privileges (one of my 2 jobs). I ended up spending hours straightening it out and spent the next day in tears.

Seriously, I have lived a comfortable life before our troubles, so now its my turn to experience what many, many people in this world have experienced all their lives, so I try not to complain. But you are right – its been a long time since I can remember not being exhausted, and it does catch up on you. Add to that the stress to get the medical care and therapy stuff for my son with special needs to say nothing of putting together a Christmas of sorts for him – well, it can be put a strain on one’s ability to parent.

I try to remember that lots of other folks work 7 days a week out there who do it out of necessity, not to pay for boats or 2nd cars or cell phones.



sojo, here are some prayers for your family. :gopray2:


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