Club Sports v. Sunday Mass

"Creation is oriented to the sabbath, which is the sign of the covenant between God and humankind. . . . Creation is designed in such a way that it is oriented to worship. It fulfills its purpose and assumes its significance when it is lived, ever new, with a view to worship. Creation exists for the sake of worship." 

-Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger), from his In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall

Advertisement

When it comes to honoring the sabbath, I am an amateur. I often direct my Sundays not to honoring God, but to honoring myself or the many tasks and commitments I have assumed. I'll send email, work on a few essays, jog, read the Sunday New York Times or grade. Sunday, in fact, is often not a day of rest and worship, but a day of anxiety, a day to fret about the things that have to get done. I attend Mass, but in a strange paradox, the day that should most remind me of my -- of humanity's -- supernatural destiny is the day that makes me feel most earth-bound. 

I realize, however, that I am not alone. Over the last few years, one of the most common objections that students offer for not attending Mass is their schedules, especially now that club sports require year-round training and participation. Many students play games or tournaments every weekend, and some have to drive great distances to reach them. Sometimes they can make Mass, sometimes they cannot. For them and their families, Mass becomes optional, one of a number of priorities that competes for attention.

For these reasons, I welcome recent news out of Louisiana. According to The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond is requiring all Catholic schools to stop scheduling activities and programs on Sunday. No more practices, no more meetings, no more special events. The goal is to give families a break so that they can focus their Sundays on faith.

Though families will still be busy, this is an important move, even if it remains (in effect) mostly symbolic. How, after all, can Catholic schools expect families to honor Sunday if our schools make it more difficult? Archbishop Aymond's decision could have a really freeing effect, not only for parents and their children, but also for faculty members.

"Creation exists for the sake of worship." How do our plans and schedules change once we internalize that truth fully? I'm not sure exactly, but I know my Sundays would look much different.  

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.
I found my voice in the cries of the ancient psalmist.
Sophia SteinOctober 20, 2017