The restoration of Sunday as the Lord's Day needs the attention and involvement of all Catholics as well as of other Christians. In our Australian society the importance of Sunday as the Lord's Day tends to be diminished if not altogether ignored. The "weekend" culture needs to be re-Christianised, with its God-given prominence restored.
In order to make Sunday central again to our religious practices I have asked the Religious Education personnel of both the Catholic Schools Office and the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine to prepare a four-week course for use in Catholic schools' Religious Education lessons and in Special Religious Education classes in State schools across the diocese.
Homilies and sermons on the Sundays within the four weeks will reinforce what is being offered in the school-based program.
The program is based on John Paul II's Apostolic Letter (31 May 1998), Dies Domini, "On Keeping the Lord 's Day Holy".
While participating in Mass and receiving Holy Communion is the high point of every Sunday, keeping the Lord's Day holy entails more than this, e.g., resting from servile work.
The program focuses on the four main points taken from the document, Dies Domini.
The Day of the Lord
This focuses on the celebration of the Creator's work. Sunday is "time out" to remember that God is God - creator of all and that we are his special creation. To put it another way, God loves all of his creation with infinite love and desires all creation to come to fulfilment in Him.
The Day of Christ
This section focusses on the eschatological aspect of the Eucharist. Eschatology refers to the "Last Things" - the fulfilment of all things in Christ at the end of time. At the celebration of the Eucharist the whole Christ's salvific role is remembered: his coming into the world, his life, passion, death and resurrection, and his coming again in glory. In the celebration of the Eucharist "we receive the pledge of the glory to come".
The Day of the Church
This section focuses on the Eucharistic Assembly as part of the life and mission of the Church. Jesus Christ established his Church on Peter and the Apostles to continue his mission of bringing people to the Kingdom of God.
The Day of Man
This section focuses on Sunday as a celebration of God's gift of creation. It leads us into a prayerful reflection of the importance of Sunday as a day of re-creation and rejoicing in all of God's bountiful blessings.
As more and more people are required by their occupations to work on the Lord's Day the importance of Sunday grows daily. This program is a step towards reclaiming Sunday as a day set aside by God for the beneft of the human person so that all people may grow in faith, hope, and love; and achieve their maximum potential for the greater glory of God. The wisdom of God is clearly visible in asking his human creatures to rest of the seventh day of the week.
It is my wish and I direct that every parish, and school offering religious instruction in the Diocese of Armidale adopt this program. I ask that every effort be made to promote this program in a positive way among the faithful.