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Should We Fast On Sundays and Feast Days?
Should We Fast On Sundays and Feast Days?

One discipline should be relaxed every Sunday and major feast day.

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

On Sundays and important feast days, it is our custom to relax one discipline. Each Sunday is a "mini-Easter," commemorating the Resurrection and offering Christians a weekly reminder of Christ's victory over death and sin. This practice is rooted in the earliest days of Christianity and reflects the importance of the Resurrection as the cornerstone of the Christian faith.

This article will address the frequently asked question about fasting too much. For ideas about how to celebrate, check out this article:

Why can’t we take a break from everything?

Great question! If Sundays and feast days are so important to us, why don't we drop all of our ascetic practices?

Asceticism is a lifestyle. Just as monks don't leave their monasteries and head to Vegas every Sunday, we don't abandon our lifestyle and break every discipline each Sunday. Sunday should be a day of rest and celebration. Celebrate by relaxing one discipline.

Isn't Ascetism on Sunday against Church Law?

By continuing to observe our disciplines on Sundays, we are not turning Sundays into penitential days. The Code of Canon Law says:

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

The obligation is to 1) "participate in the Mass," 2) "abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God," 3) abstain from those works and affairs which hinder "the joy proper to the Lord’s day," and 4) abstain from those works and affairs which hinder "the suitable relaxation of mind and body."

Our disciplines--esp. silent prayer, examination, and abstinence from technology (during certain seasons)--help us live Sunday well. In fact, they help us live Christian joy every day of our lives. Our disciplines help us worship God. We should find joy proper to the Lord's day and suitable relaxation as we relax one of our disciplines each Sunday.

Take every Sunday as an opportunity for prayer. Enjoy your rest and free time. Be present to the men and women that the Lord has placed in your life.

A Few Quotes from "On the Lord's Day"

Pope St. John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter about faithfully observing Sundays. Here are a few of our favorite quotes:

52 Sharing in the Eucharist is the heart of Sunday, but the duty to keep Sunday holy cannot be reduced to this. In fact, the Lord's Day is lived well if it is marked from beginning to end by grateful and active remembrance of God's saving work. This commits each of Christ's disciples to shape the other moments of the day — those outside the liturgical context: family life, social relationships, moments of relaxation — in such a way that the peace and joy of the Risen Lord will emerge in the ordinary events of life.


82 It is with this strong conviction of faith, and with awareness of the heritage of human values which the observance of Sunday entails, that Christians today must face the enticements of a culture which has accepted the benefits of rest and free time, but which often uses them frivolously and is at times attracted by morally questionable forms of entertainment. Certainly, Christians are no different from other people in enjoying the weekly day of rest; but at the same time they are keenly aware of the uniqueness and originality of Sunday, the day on which they are called to celebrate their salvation and the salvation of all humanity. Sunday is the day of joy and the day of rest precisely because it is "the Lord's Day", the day of the Risen Lord.

Find the full text here.

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