Bishops’ statement: Honouring Sunday

I shall not put the entire substance of this statement here, on our website. But let’s run through it really quickly. Please find the original text by clicking here. The bishops are moving slowly towards restoring the Sunday obligation. Although the availability of watching televised Masses on the internet has been a great comfort to many and a convenience to many more, the bishops wish to emphasise that participation at Mass is essential and cannot be replaced by viewing videos. First, they note the homesickness of those who would like to come to Mass but feel that they cannot:

“We have heard of the longing which some express as a “homesickness”. We want to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We yearn to celebrate the sacraments together, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We desire to be nourished by our Lord in Holy Communion.”

The bishops then identify the Mass as the centre of the Christian life, as given by the documents of the second Vatican council, and declare that there is no substitute for it:

“The central appeal of the Mass, its beauty and its transcendence, raises our minds and hearts to God in an unambiguous and compelling manner. Our Lord Jesus invites us to receive anew the gift of Sunday as the preeminent day, the day of the Resurrection, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Eucharist. Here we stand together before our heavenly Father, offering our thanksgiving and prayer, through our Saviour in the Holy Spirit. Here we receive Christ in his Word. Here we are nourished by Christ in his precious Body and Blood. This is our primary joy, for which there is no substitute, and from which we draw our strength.”

Finally, Sunday Mass is described as a divine gift, and the bishops wish us to examine how we spend our Sundays, given that we must respond to this gift.

“We now encourage all Catholics to look again at the patterns which they have formed in recent months with regard to going to Mass on Sundays. This would include consideration and reflection about what we might do on Sundays, such as sports or shopping, or other leisure and social activities. This review, and the decisions which arise from it, fall to every Catholic and we trust this will be done with honesty, motivated by a real love for the Lord whom we encounter in the Mass.”