When I was a little child, my mother used to take me to Sunday morning Mass. We did not own a car, so she and I would take the 15-minute walk to St. Joseph’s Church on Cottage Street in Middletown, New York. We would pass a restaurant, and it would be closed, because it was Sunday, and most businesses were closed on Sundays in those days. However, after Mass, we would often stop into a little convenience store to buy a newspaper for my non-Catholic dad. The lady in this very tiny store would stand behind the counter and solicitously listen to little ol’ wide-eyed me as I told her which of the numerous penny candies in their respective bins I had selected. While I did not come away with too much, I was happy with my treats.
Over the years, I have seen how the Lord’s Day has gotten so much busier. Gradually, stores and restaurants opened seven days a week. More and more people were needed to work on Sundays. The economy was getting more robust. Retailers were getting busier and busier. Vigil masses became popular to help the Sunday workers more easily attend Mass.
So now, in this busy 21st century, how do we keep holy the Lord’s Day? I know that during the pandemic many people wisely stayed away from indoor crowds and perhaps watched liturgies online. Now life is getting back to a semblance of normal, and churches are open with fewer or no restrictions on attendance.