Monday, January 19, 2009

Reader bleg

On the one hand, there is the example of some young Churches, which show how fervently Sunday can be celebrated, whether in urban areas or in widely scattered villages. By contrast, in other parts of the world, because of the sociological pressures already noted, and perhaps because the motivation of faith is weak, the percentage of those attending the Sunday liturgy is strikingly low. In the minds of many of the faithful, not only the sense of the centrality of the Eucharist but even the sense of the duty to give thanks to the Lord and to pray to him with others in the community of the Church, seems to be diminishing.
[John Paul II, Dies Domini]

For the last few years I've been tossing around the idea for a book about the celebration of Sunday around the world. People often think of Sunday as having two historical extremes. There is the Laura Ingalls Wilder version where all people did was go to church and read the Bible, with no manual labor or play allowed. The other version is increased secularization, the idea that Sunday is simply the second day of the weekend, either for pure leisure or whatever work needs to be done.

At the same time, in an increasingly homogeneous Church, we are challenged with losing our respective heritages as we belong to parishes that are more territorial and less ethnic. As we move further and further away from our immigrant roots, we risk losing a part of our identity. Yet the truly celebratory Sunday of yester-year has the potential for someone being over-worked to provide the entire family with a special Sunday dinner.

I'd like to examine the celebration of Sunday from a Catholic perspective. Each chapter would consist of a brief history of the Catholic experience in a culture, and combining that with a recipe from that culture adapted for easier preparation.

But I have been struggling to find sources (preferably primary). Ideally, I'd like to have 30 cultures to examine, and right now I only have information for a few countries (Austria, some Germany, some Ireland, and Sri Lanka).

If you have stories to share about your or your family's celebration of Sunday in a different country, I would be really interested to hear them. Also book recommendations on the subject would be much appreciated. You can share this information via email: sanctalucia(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks in advance!

[image source]

1 comment:

Seraphic Single said...

I am a 37 year old Canadian in a big Ontario city that used to be majority Protestant but now is at least half Catholic. In our archdiocese there are 1, 600, 000 Catholics. I'm not sure what percentage attend daily Mass.

My mum is a convert (1969) and my dad is an Irish American cradle Catholic who still has the opening of the Usus Antiquor off by heart. In the 1950s he went to a Jesuit boarding school in the American midwest, too, so that may be an explanation of why he is so Old School.

Anyway, my parents always brought their children to Mass, and my mum frightened us kids into behaving, which brought her the heartwarming praise of old ladies.

We were brought up to believe that shopping on Sunday was WRONG, but many years after the law against Sunday shopping was relaxed, my parents reluctantly did a little Sunday shopping themselves. As a teenager, I felt badly about going to my summer job on Sundays, and got out of it when I could. My parents said, however, that schoolwork and any kind of study on Sunday was okay.

I would be astonished if my mother or father ever deliberately skipped Sunday Mass. They always dress up for the occasion, and only in about the past ten years has my mother ceased to always wear a hat.

I can't think of any recreation that we are/were not allowed on Sundays. We always have Sunday dinner, which consists (as it did in most Anglo-Saxon households across the British Empire) mainly of a roast.