Sundays and Solemnities

All of our answers to help you honor the Lord's Day

Stephen Zepp avatar
Written by Stephen Zepp
Updated over a week ago

Celebrating Sundays and Solemnities During Exodus 90

Sunday, celebrate the Lord’s Day.

Every Sunday your fraternity is permitted to relax one discipline together to remind you of the glory of God and of heaven. All Solemnities are celebrated with the same principle. Choose the discipline you relax as a fraternity so as to preserve fraternal unity and accountability. 

Suggestion: allow one dessert. It is strongly recommended that you do not relax technology-related disciplines.

Be prudent on the discipline you choose to relax. For example, if someone in the fraternity struggles with a dependency on alcohol, avoid choosing alcohol as a fraternity and instead choose a warm shower.  Note that there should also still be moderation. Showers shouldn't be long just because you have the discipline relaxed. Dessert shouldn't be consumed at every meal if you choose dessert. Decide as a fraternity and hold each other accountable. 

If a solemnity falls on a Wednesday or Friday:

In addition to relaxing one discipline you are free from the discipline of fasting on that day as well as the discipline to abstain from meat.

Holy Leisure on Sundays and Solemnities

Rest is a great thing to do on Sundays and solemnities. However, being slothful is not a healthy means of resting.

Holy leisure is almost always active, not passive. Watching movies on a couch is passive and not often an expression of holy leisure. Contrarily, going on a hike engages the mind and body. It is almost always an expression of holy leisure. Much falls in between. Playing catch with your buddies, board games with your wife, or exploring the nearby forest or park with your children are all great expressions of holy leisure. Though these forms of activities take more energy than watching a game or another TV series, when done right, they actually rejuvenate you for the next week far more than simply sitting on the couch. They give you memories filled with awe, and a new gratitude for life to carry with you into the new week.

Glorify the Lord with your time on Sundays and solemnities. Get up and give yourself to God through your time with him, your friends, or your family. Sunday is the Lord's day. Now you are ready to live it accordingly. 

What about other feast days?

All the different feasts days fall somewhere on a hierarchical spectrum. This spectrum or gradation of feast days is known as graduated solemnity. The Church holds solemnities above all other feast days and even grants special rights on solemnities. For example, see this excerpt from the Code of Canon Law:

"Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday ... " - Code of Canon Law #1251

For this reason, you should relax one discipline on solemnities, but not on other feast days. 

What are the Solemnities?

Feast of the Mother of God (January 1st)*

Epiphany (January 6th)

Feast of St. Joseph ( March 19th )

Feast of the Annunciation (March 25th)

Easter Sunday*

Ascension Thursday (40 days after Easter, Usually celebrated on the following Sunday)*


Trinity Sunday (first Sunday after Pentecost)

Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord/ Corpus Christi (the Thursday after Trinity Sunday now moved in the USA to the next Sunday)

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the Friday after the second Sunday after Pentecost)

Feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24th)

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29th)

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 15th)*

Feast of All Saints (November 1st)*

Feast of Christ the King (last Sunday of the ecclesiastical year)

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary (December 8th)*

Feast of the Nativity of the Savior/ the Christ Mass (December 25th)*

*Denotes a Holy Day of Obligation

Why can't we take a break from everything?

The simple answer ... because we are human. As much as we are a people living post-Christ's resurrection, we are still a people longing for heaven. We are still a pilgrim people. We are still Exodus Men. 

Just as religious brothers, sisters, and priests don't ditch their habit and jump into civilian clothes every Sunday or solemnity, neither do we ditch all aspects of a disciplined life. 

In these 90 days your brain is being rewired. Science shows us that you can break old neural pathways that lead to bad habits, and form new ones, in time. How long though? Research on rehab centers reveal that it isn't until 90 days of time free from a habit that one can expect to see results that last. And even then, the researchers push for longer periods of time when possible. If we take a break from our detachment each Sunday, it will be far less likely that at the end of these 90 days, we will really be free men. 

Relax one discipline on Sunday and solemnities. Choose it prudently as a fraternity. And honor the Lord with all your mind and heart in doing so. 

What if we are doing Exodus 90 over the Octaves of Christmas or Easter?

"...It will simply look a little bit more like the way contemplative monks celebrate than the way popular culture does."

The octaves of Christmas and Easter are times of great celebration, and thus should be treated as such. Each of the eight days of the octave of Easter are defined as solemnities. For each of these days treat them as what they are, solemnities. Relax one discipline, do not fast, and do not abstain from meat on Fridays. The Octave of Christmas is slightly different since not all days are solemnities. Only Christmas, December 25th, and the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, January 1st, are solemnities. The guidelines for Sundays and Solemnities apply on these two days.

At the same time, Exodus 90 employs truths about, neuroscience, brain plasticity, addiction recovery, habit breaking, and habit forming. Research has proven that results for the breaking of old habits, and the forming of new neural pathways in the brain for the implementation of new habits, takes effect most often at a minimum of 90 days; this suggests that it would be counter intuitive to take a break in the midsts of Exodus 90. Thus, we do not recommend men take breaks for the octaves. 

This isn't saying that men should not celebrate the octaves. We should, without a doubt, and with great joy. For men on Exodus over the octaves, it will simply look a little bit more like the way contemplative monks celebrate than the way popular culture does. Be assured by the way of the monks, that this way of celebrating is absolutely a God honoring thing. 

"Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,

There's always laughter and good red wine.

At least I've always found it so.

Benedicamus Domino!”

-Hilaire Belloc

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