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366 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

2174). By their Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, the Catholic faith-

ful fulfill both the Third Commandment to “keep holy the Lord’s day”

and the words of Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper: “Do this in

memory of me” (Lk 22:19).

The Third Commandment has been concretized for Catholics by one

of the Precepts of the Church.

Because the faithful are obliged to attend Mass unless there is a

grave impediment, pastors have the corresponding duty to offer

everyone the real possibility of fulfilling the precept. . . . Yet

more than a precept, the observance should be seen as a need

rising from the depths of Christian life. It is crucially important

1. What is our Sunday obligation?

Sunday “is to be observed as the foremost holy day of

obligation in the universal Church. On Sundays and other

holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to partici-

pate in the Mass.” (CCC, no. 2192, citing CIC, cann. 1246

and 1247; see Glossary in this book for list of Holy Days of


2. May we work on Sunday?

On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faith-

ful are bound . . . to abstain from those labors and busi-

ness concerns which impede the worship to be rendered

to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the

proper relaxation of mind and body. (CCC, no. 2193)

3. What Sabbath principle governs rest and relaxation?

The Sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides

a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of

work and the worship of money. (CCC, no. 2172)