Family Resources for

Keeping the Lord's Day Pastoral Letter

We put together some resources on this page to help families engage with Bishop Johnston's new pastoral letter Keeping the Lord's Day: Pastoral Letter on the Importance of Sunday. 

Click here to download a PDF version 

Scroll down to find reflection questions and concrete ideas for connecting more spiritually on Sunday as a family. 

As well, here's a link to the apostolic letter referenced multiple times in Keeping the Lord's Day, Pope St. John Paul II's Dies Domini.

As we begin to return to our public celebrations of Mass, I wish to invite all in our diocese to reflect more deeply on the value of Sunday, why God made it and what it means in the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Watch Bishop Johnston's video

introducing  his new pastoral letter

Reflections on Keeping the Lord's Day

Part I: Pilgrims on the Way

“[The two disciples] recounted what had happened on the road and how they had come to know him in the breaking of the bread.” (Lk 24:35)

In his pastoral letter, the Bishop talks about the importance of celebrating Sunday Mass. It is important that we prepare for this special day.

Before Sunday and in preparation for Sunday:

  • Clean and straighten the house, fuel the car and prepare clothes, wash clothes, do shopping, etc.
  • Buy or cut fresh flowers on Saturday to decorate the house during the week
  • Prepare Sunday meals in advance if possible.
  • Avoid going to bed too late on Saturday night so you don't get tired on Sunday. Read Sunday readings and discuss as a family

Questions for reflection

  • Have you  become distracted in your spiritual journey?
  • Have you felt distanced from God, failing to recognized Jesus waiting along side as you travel on the way?
  • How might a renewed appreciation and commitment to Sunday Mass help?

Part II: The Value of Sunday Celebrated Well

What was it that Jesus observed in Mary that was so worthy of praise??

From the pastoral letter:

“All she did was stop what she was doing and make herself present to him.  Unlike Martha, Mary focused on the person rather than the thing or the activity, and persons take priority over things”.

Questions for reflection

  • Is Sunday just a part of your weekend?
  • By looking closely at Sunday, how could it help you feel less disconnected and/or isolated?
  • What have you discovered during this time of "stay home" that you would like to continue when things return to normal?

Part III: Some Ways to Celebrate Sunday Filled With Grace

“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers…. All who believed were together and had all things in common…They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart.”

 (Acts 2:42, 44, 46)

From the pastoral letter:

“This passage from the Acts of the Apostles is the earliest description of how to celebrate Sunday filled with Christ’s grace.  It describes the disciples celebrating the Holy Eucharist together, then exercising charity and sharing common life together around the dinner table. “

Questions for reflection

  • How can you and your family intentionally celebrate Sunday?
  • By resting?
  • Strengthening family relationships?
  • By celebrating faith?

Ideas for Celebrating Sunday

  • Participate in activities that contribute to greater spirituality. 
  • Go to Mass; Especially as a family. Dress well, like before the King of Kings. Arrive a few minutes early and stay a few minutes later to share personal time with God.
  • Dedicate an hour on Sunday, outside of Mass, to prayer.
  • Spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Pray the Rosary (as a family).
  • Dedicate time to read the Scriptures.
  • Offer expressions of praise and thanksgiving to God.
  • Make Sunday a special day for the family, something your children look forward to. Create Sunday traditions that children will remember when they grow up and have their own children.
  • Share a special meal on Sundays. Set up the dinner table nicely, especially Sundays.. Pray before and after meals.
  • Play cards or board games together.
  • Take a Sunday walk as a family and enjoy the scenery.
  • Sing together.
  • Participate/create craft activities together.