Sunday is a day of rest for Catholics and starting this fall, that means no more youth sports, according to a new policy issued Wednesday by the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Youth sports under the Catholic High School League (CHSL) and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) will be set aside on Sundays to make more time for worship, officials said.
The policy was developed over the last two years and notifications to athletic directors about the change began in June 2017. But despite the change, officials said, youth sports are still a priority and athletes will continue to have a full sports schedule.
Officials said the sports schedule will be shifted to Monday through Saturday.
There are approximately 6,500 CHSL student athletes 7,000 CYO athletes in counties under the Archdiocese of Detroit — Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, Monroe St. Clair and Lapeer — as well as students in Washtenaw County who are not part of the archdiocese.
In his pastoral note, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said the focus is to “reclaim Sunday.”
“In shifting away from the hustle of required sporting activities on Sunday, we will reclaim this holy day and create more time for families to choose activities that prioritize time spent with each other and our Lord,” Vigneron said.
RELATED COLUMN: Archdiocese’s ruling is counterproductive
According to the news release, the decision for the policy stemmed from Synod 16, which is an archdiocesan-wide gathering “of clergy and lay faithful in 2016 to discern how to transform the local Church into a band of joyful missionary disciples.”
Vigneron said reclaiming Sunday is one of the “clearest calls” from Synod 16.
“The decision from Archbishop Vigneron, following an unprecedented level of consultation, marks a major shift for our Archdiocese. It is a time for us to see everything we do through the lens of forming a band of missionary disciples,” Father Stephen Pullis, director of the Archdiocese’s Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools, said in the release.
“It also is a strong commitment to support our families as they seek to raise their children in the Catholic faith and work to align their homes and communities with our shared mission to Unleash the Gospel.”
According to an article on catholic.com, the directive follows the teachings of Saint John Paul II, who as pope wrote about it in his July 1998 apostolic letter. Dies Domini.
“(Christians) are obliged in conscience to arrange their Sunday rest in a way which allows them to take part in the Eucharist, refraining from work and activities which are incompatible with the sanctification of the Lord’s Day, with its characteristic joy and necessary rest for spirit and body (67).”
Catholic.com noted that many people often ask whether participating in certain tasks on Sunday, such as doing laundry, is a sin.
Christians are urged to attend Mass on Sunday and arrange their schedules to refrain from work and mundane chores like shopping or cleaning the house unless it part of an effort to enrich family togetherness, the article noted.