Sunday: The Day of the Lord
Six years ago, in 2011, the European Sunday Alliance (ESA), which brings together trade unions, political parties, civil organizations and religious communities throughout the European Union, proposed that on the first Sunday in March the public should be encouraged to respect Sunday as a work-free day, a family day of gathering and socializing, a day of cultural and social activities, and the Day of the Lord, when Christians commemorate and celebrate Christ’s victory of the glorious Resurrection. Twenty years ago, in 1997, the Croatian bishops issued a pastoral letter, in which they wrote of Sunday as the day of the Lord and the holiday of rest. On several occasions, in 2000, 2004 and 2012, the Justice and Peace (Justitia et Pax) Commission of the Croatian Conference of Bishops has advocated the legalization of a work-free Sunday in Croatia, the promotion of that day as a family holiday and, especially, as a liturgical day for gathering around the table of the Lord when the faithful listen to the Word of God and celebrate the Holy Mystery of Salvation.
Referring to the pastoral letter by the Croatian bishops from twenty years ago on Sunday as the day of the Lord and a holiday of rest, the Permanent Council of the Croatian Conference of Bishops supports the campaign by the European Sunday Alliance. We urge Christ’s lay faithful, Catholic societies and movements, and all the social institutions and associations that are committed to man and his dignity, to contribute through their activities to the preservation of Sunday in its historical significance, as a work-free day that provides the opportunity for a family to gather together. It is understandable that there are some services in society, such as healthcare, security, traffic and others of general and public interest that must be performed on Sundays and holidays. However, there are also jobs and duties that do not have to be performed on Sundays. Here, we are primarily referring to jobs in which workers, owing to weaknesses in Croatian legal protection, are forced to work without having Sunday as a day of rest. Owing to this, they remain outside the circles of their families and children, while it is a day of rest for others. It is no wonder that owing to this obvious discrimination, working Sundays bring a certain emptiness and gloominess.
Therefore, we are issuing this short statement to the public and urge all people of good will to join in this noble civil, human and Christian campaign of solidarity for Sunday. In recent years, it has assumed a European dimension, under the title of the European Sunday Alliance. We, therefore, also urge the Croatian media to support the initiative of this movement for a free, family-oriented and, especially, a human and Christian Sunday, which the faithful call the “Day of the Lord,” according to its root meaning.
The Permanent Council of
the Croatian Conference of Bishops
Zagreb, March 1, 2017