DEFENDING HOLY SUNDAY
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ‘NIEDZIELA’
Definite action of the Polish Episcopal Conference, which got engaged in supporting initiatives of ‘Solidarity’, concerning restricting trade on Sunday, needs our strengthening. Specifically speaking – we must collects 100 thousand signatures. In Poland we have already been witnesses of an assassination on Sunday. In a relatively near future communists were trying to introduce a four-brigade system of work in Silesia. As a result, in practice it would be removing Sunday from a calendar. At the communist times Silesian bishops, including the bishop Herbert Bednorz at the helm, during pilgrimages in Piekary Śląskie, claimed for respecting Lord’s Day. The motto ‘Sunday of God’s and ours’, so definitely cried out, also got popular today and somehow returns more powerfully. These days, in a special message bishops of the Upper Silesian metropolis and the archdiocese of Katowice, at the helm with archbishop Wiktor Skwarc, the chairperson of the Pastoral Commission of the Polish Episcopal Conference appealed for supporting the legislative initiative restricting trade on Sunday. As for Sunday - we should accept solutions, similarly as in many modern countries of Europe – they write in the message. They emphasize that the legislative initiative defends about 1.3 million people, particularly women employed on Sunday and holidays. Bishops also ask believers to support actions of the Legislative Initiative Committee about restricting trade on Sunday and organize actions of collecting signatures.
In relation to celebrating Sunday and its role as the first day of the week, St. John Paul II edited a special apostolic letter: ‘Dies Domini’ in 1998. We read in it: ‘Resting on Sunday allows us to bring our everyday concerns and activities to a suitable proportion: material things about which we do care so much, give in a place to spiritual values; people among whom we live, regain a real image when we meet with them and start a calm conversation! It was already John Paul II who pointed out that civil legislation must consider a duty of celebrating Sunday. Not only should the Catholics or generally believers care about introducing prohibition of trade on Sunday. The respect of dignity of every man and festive character of Sunday was clearly expressed in an appeal in 2014 by the Holy Father Francis at a meeting with representatives of labour world and entrepreneurs at the university in Campobasso in Italy. He stated that our times require conversion into such a development which would be able to respect the created reality. In the opinion of pope Francis, the issue of work on Sunday concerns not only believers but everybody, as an ethical decision. This is a kind of a space of unselfishness which we are losing. – Maybe it is time to ask a question whether work on Sunday is a real freedom – Francis noticed then.
The significance of actions for the sake of Sunday free from trade is also strengthened by results of scientific studies carried out at Harvard University. It turns out that going to church prolongs life and reduces the risk of death even by 33 per cent. Hence in ‘Sunday’ there appears the title: ‘Holy Mass protects us from death’. It is only necessary to note this all in the context of the current civic actions in Poland concerning restricting trade on Sunday and returning the festive character of Sunday which is God’s and ours. Therefore, in the issue we edit an example of a list for collecting signatures in defence of the holy Sunday. It can be downloaded on www.niedziela.pl. Let it be in every parish and in every place where Catholics and people of good will be able to look at this civic project.