I like Sundays. For me, they are the one day of the week that is all about rituals—rituals sacred and ordinary.
Since childhood, Sunday has meant eating a big breakfast at a leisurely pace while reading the Sunday comics. As an adult I’ve added watching “CBS Sunday Morning” to the breakfast ritual because I like the interesting mix of news and feature reports offered by host Charles Osgood and his team of seasoned reporters.
When Charles signs off, I head for the shower to get ready for Sunday Mass at St. Boniface Church, an inner-city parish in Cincinnati of which I have been a member since birth and of which my great-grandfather was a founding member. Noon Mass is my preferred time to gather for Eucharist, prayer, and fellowship, and once a month I serve as lector to proclaim the Word. I enjoy catching up with a handful of fellow parishioners after Mass, especially a young couple who adopted a child a year ago. We stand in the aisle as others leave the church, and we laugh together about little John’s “talk” during Mass. In a parish of mostly older folks, it’s easy to pick out John’s young voice in our large church!
“It’s OK to do nothing on Sunday.”
For many years I devoted Sunday afternoons to visiting my elderly parents in their home and then, after Dad died in 1998, to visiting Mom in a nursing home. My spring-summer Sunday afternoon routine would be to drive to Putz’s Creamy Whip after Mass, grab two hot dogs and two large chocolate sodas, one each for me and Mom, and then head to the retirement community to spend the afternoon with her. We’d slurp sodas together, and if the weather permitted, we’d sit in a lovely gazebo surrounded by a large garden blooming with colorful perennials. In cold months, Mom and I would sit in a living room area of the nursing home and gaze at the large fish tank and indoor bird house and wait for two resident felines to saunter by. With Mom’s death in 2005, my Sunday afternoons became time for me to spend with my husband at home or in our gardens or to take a ride in surrounding counties or visit a local art exhibit or see a new film or just sit and relax reading a book.
For us, Sunday supper is often grilled steak as a special treat or something a bit fancy that takes more than 30 minutes to prepare. This is the time of the week when I try out new recipes viewed on the TV cooking networks or spied in the lifestyle sections of the various periodicals that I subscribe to. I often post my Sunday supper menus on Facebook!
My husband and I seldom entertain on Sundays, preferring to keep the day quiet and with few obligations. It’s our day to relax, to rejuvenate, and to be open to spontaneity—a day to get in the groove for the coming week. I tell myself on Sundays: “It’s OK to do nothing.”
Sunday evening is, by far, my favorite time of the week. This is when I finish reading the thick Sunday paper at the kitchen table or in an overstuffed armchair meant for comfy reading. By 9 p.m., I settle snugly in a recliner—afghan over my lap in winter months, cold drink next to me on the end table with perhaps a light snack as a treat. I am perfectly positioned to watch PBS’s “Masterpiece,” my favorite TV show. My husband prefers bed to “Masterpiece,” so my 9 to 11 p.m. shift in the TV room is uninterrupted.
The winter months definitely offer the best “Masterpiece” shows, including adaptations of classic novels by writers such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and mysteries by such literary legends as Agatha Christie, P. D. James, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Like millions of others across the globe this winter, I’m watching season 2 of “Downton Abbey,” perhaps Masterpiece’s greatest period soap opera yet! (Don’t you just love the costumes?)
The rituals of Sunday help me make the transition from one work week to another, to ease out of an errand-driven Saturday and ease into a frenzied Monday office routine. These Sunday rituals remind me to slow down, take time for what is important to me and my husband, and to thank God for all the blessings in my life.
Sunday is a perfect day to recognize the sacred in the ordinary and the ordinary in the sacred.
What is your Sunday ritual?