Chapter 27. Third Commandment: Love the Lord’s Day • 367
that all the faithful should be convinced that they cannot live
their faith or share fully in the life of the Christian community
unless they take part regularly in the Sunday Eucharistic assem-
bly. (DD, nos. 49, 81)
For a Catholic, the Sunday Eucharist must be the most important
religious exercise of the week. In it, we offer our lives in sacrifice with
Jesus to the Father, thereby participating directly in the great mysteries
of our faith.
The Catholic parish, shepherded by the priest under the authority
of the diocesan bishop, is the ordinary setting for Sunday worship and
is central to the preparation for and celebration of all the Sacraments.
While Sunday is the time for worship, it is also an occasion for rest
and relaxation. We should make time to be with one another in meals,
conversation and activities that deepen family life. “Every Christian
should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hin-
der them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities (sports,
restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require
some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to
set aside sufficient time for leisure” (CCC, no. 2187; cf. no. 2186). The
Eucharistic celebration does not stop at the church door. Those who
participate at Mass carry their joy, faith, and concern for others from
the Mass into the rest of the day, and indeed into the week that follows.
After the Christian religion obtained its freedom under the Roman
emperor Constantine in the fourth century, civil laws were passed to
limit unnecessary work on Sunday. The greatest beneficiaries were the
poor who otherwise worked long hours every day of the week. Centuries
later, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, sweatshops were estab-
lished in large cities where men, women, and children worked fifteen
hours a day, often on Sundays.
Today in some places in our country, those seven-day sweatshops
have returned. This is both an injustice to the poor and also an abuse
of Sunday rest, and we need to find ways to correct this. “God’s action