Sunday Rituals

Sunday Rituals

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?

Featured photo © Kheng Guan Toh/PhotoXpress
Girl watching TV © Monkey Business/PhotoXpress


About the Author

Lisa Biedenbach, director of product development for St. Anthony Messenger Press books, works to identify great writers whose insights and experiences can inspire and inform us about the Catholic faith and help connect people to God and each other. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University, she is married, and loves to cook, garden, read books, and entertain family and friends.
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  • Robert LeBlanc

    “It’s OK to do nothing on Sunday.”

    I certainly wish more people felt this way. Our family also relishes in having nothing to do on Sunday’s besides being with each other. A great moment to reconnect with each other and with ourselves. A true moment of grace.

    • Lbiedenbach

      Robert, thanks for your comment about doing nothing on Sundays. I grew up with this Sunday ritual because both my parents advocated–and practiced–keeping Sunday holy, a day for family and peace and grace. I believe it is important that parents, when possible, commit to setting this behavior as the norm for the family.

  • Tstager

    My Sunday Ritual
    Sunday is my one day to sleep late–I rise at 8:30am and dress and prepare for Sunday Mass at Mother of God Church in Covington KY.  I like this inner city parish for his diversity, homilies and music (not the best, but good).  We always take part in Coffee and Donuts, an important part of Sunday gathering.  We sit and talk with each other, catch up on what is happening and sometimes make plans, works out to be a great small church communities. 
    Usually Sunday afternoons are relaxed, read the newspaper or a book and plan a nice Sunday Dinner.  I like to cook and bake, so a nice dessert is in order for Sunday and a special dinner.  Last week it was Beef Wellington–it was very good if I may say so.  Our Sunday Evening usually involves British comedies and Masterpiece Theater. 
    I love Sundays and I hate Sundays.  I love Sundays because they are a relaxinng lovely day –for me one of joy.  I do not like Sundays because it means going back to an a regular week of work and a fast paced routine.  So savour Sundays.

    • Lbiedenbach

      I agree about the love-hate relationship with Sundays!! Thanks for sharing your Sunday rituals.

  • Rsalerno

    Thanks for including our parish in your Sunday ritual.  My family truly enjoys spending Mass with you.  Really enjoyed the article.

    • Lbiedenbach

      Thank you. It is a great Sunday ritual for your family when you and your daughters serve Mass and your wife lectors. This is a great way to model how to be Catholic as a family.

  • Lpinson

    Enjoyed your article, Lisa. I feel so blessed that you have started our Spiritual Book Club at St. Boniface. Will see you on the 29th.

    • Lbiedenbach

      Thanks! You bring much to our spiritual bookclub discussions!