Kathy Hendricks offers talks and retreats across the country and overseas on spirituality and family, and is a contributing writer for many of the programs published by William H. Sadlier. She and her husband, Ron, live in Larkspur, Colorado, and are the parents of two young adults, Eric and Anna.
The Roman Missal: Celebrating the Lord’s Day
The Sacred Significance of Sunday
Since the earliest days of the Church, Sunday has been the preeminent time to gather together with other members of the Christian community for worship. The name was originally coined by the ancient Romans, who named each day of the week in honor of a heavenly body or one of their gods. Christians took the name Sunday and renamed it the "Lord’s Day" as a way to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, which, according to all four Gospels, took place on the first day of the week.
While the revised Roman Missal will affect all celebrations of the Mass, we may be more conscious of the changes at Sunday Mass. Although we gather for Mass on other days of the week, the Sunday celebration stands apart in its solemnity and its festive nature. The entire community is called to gather on this day to sing hymns, chants, and prayers, to hear the Gospel proclaimed, along with other readings from the Sunday lectionary, and to gather at the eucharistic table in an act of solidarity and faith that joins us with believers across time and space.
Just as our weekly worship centers on the Sunday Eucharist, so, too, does our movement through the Church year. The seasons of Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, and Lent are counted, Sunday by Sunday, as we retell the sacred stories of our faith and celebrate its mysteries. All of this culminates in our celebration of Easter, the great feast of the Resurrection of the Lord. For this reason, every Sunday of the year is a re-enactment of our Easter joy and a proclamation of our Easter faith in the victory of Christ over death, sin, and darkness.
5 Ways to Keep Sundays Sacred
- Make participation at Sunday Eucharist a priority. Go over the readings in advance and offer a prayer for those who will be celebrating the Mass in your parish and around the world.
- Dress with care. As you get ready for the day, consider what thoughts and attitudes you will wear that reflect the mind and heart of Christ.
- Allow enough time to arrive at church early in order to greet others in your community. Consider what offering you can bring to the parish to help it grow and flourish as the people of God.
- Take time after Communion to thank God for the gifts in your life. Center on one or two, and bring that prayer into the week ahead.
- As you get ready to retire for the night, go back over the day and reflect on one way Christ has been revealed to you through prayer, community, and your faith.
One of the changes in the Roman Missal entails the first word of the Creed. Instead of saying "We believe…" the prayer will begin with "I believe," which is a literal translation of the Latin word Credo. We still profess our faith together as a community, but the change reflects the importance of our personal conversion and commitment to Christian faith and discipleship. Each time we offer a profession of faith, we are invited to consider what it means to turn our minds and hearts to God, to model our lives on Jesus, and to allow ourselves to be guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit.