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370 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

• For Christians, the observance of the Sabbath has been transferred

to Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead. On Sundays and

other holy days of obligation, the Catholic faithful are bound to

participate in the Mass. A Catholic who deliberately fails to partici-

pate in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation commits a

serious sin.

• Sunday extends the celebration of Easter throughout the year. It is

meant to be illumined by the glory of the Risen Christ. It makes pres-

ent the new creation brought about by Christ.

• Sunday also recalls the first creation as well as the new creation. The

Genesis account of creation, expressed in poetic style, is a hymn of

awe and adoration of God in the presence of the immensity of cre-

ation. On Sunday, we remember the wonder of what the risen Son of

God has done for us in his new creation.

• While Sunday is a time for worship, it is also an occasion for rest and

relaxation. We should make time to be with one another in meals,

conversation, cultural and social growth, and the deepening of fam-

ily life.


Church attendance and participation in worship has tended to decline

in the modern industrial democracies, including the United States.

However, there is still reason to have hope. There are more Catholics

at Mass on a single weekend than all the fans that go to major league

baseball games in an entire season. Maintaining and even increasing this

level of attendance at Mass will be helped by a more fervent and active

participation in the Eucharist.

Here are ways to help people prepare better for Sunday Mass:

• Go to Mass prepared to worship God.

• Approach the Mass with the intention of participating fully and

actively in the celebration, singing the hymns and psalms and recit-

ing the prayers with conviction and faith.

• Enter into the mystery of faith in the Mass. The sacrificial self-gift of

Christ to the Father is made present through the Holy Spirit. If we