Sanctifying Sundays with Preparation

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Make the most of the beginning of the week by truly sanctifying Sundays. So, how do we keep the Lord’s day holy?

Rather than provide a list of must do’s or things to avoid, I wanted to share some highlights from the Von Trapp family, and a few things that we do to prepare for Sunday on Saturday.

Father offering Holy Mass on a Sunday in the church

Sanctifying Sundays – Preparing for the Lord’s Day

Recently I read through a chapter titled “The Land Without a Sunday” in the book Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family. By the way, I highly recommend this resource for planning out liturgical celebrations and activities inside of your home! It is truly a treasure.

After reading over this chapter, I found a renewed sense of trying to plan ahead on Saturday. So that I could truly Sanctify Sundays inside of our domestic church.

My goodness, how the times have changed! Back in those days it was a matter of routine and a cultural tradition to prepare for Sunday on Saturday afternoons.

Having the necessary work and preparations done ahead of time on Saturday helps us to focus on making Sundays focused and to keep holy the Lord’s day.

Sundays are spent with giving God praise and worship, time with family, and rest. Preparing the day before helps to eliminate all of the unnecessary distractions that can keep us from fulfilling our Sunday obligations.

Saturday Preparations

Here I want to share a little excerpt from The Land without a Sunday just to show how much preparation went into Saturdays.

First of all, it begins on Saturday afternoon. In some parts of the country the church bell rings at three o’clock, in others at five o’clock, and the people call it “ringing in the Feierabend.” Just as some of the big feasts begin the night before–on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Easter Eve–so every Sunday throughout the year also starts on its eve.

That gives Saturday night its hallowed character. When the church bell rings, the people cease working in the fields. They return with the horses and farm machinery, everything is stored away into the barns and sheds, and the barnyard is swept by the youngest farm-hand. Then everyone takes “the” bath and the men shave.

There is much activity in the kitchen as the mother prepares part of the Sunday dinner, perhaps a special dessert; the children get a good scrub; everyone gets ready his or her Sunday clothes, and it is usually the custom to put one’s room in order–all drawers, cupboards and closets.

Throughout the week the meals are usually short and hurried on a farm, but Saturday night everyone takes his time. Leisurely they come strolling to the table, standing around talking and gossiping. After the evening meal the rosary is said. In front of the statue or picture of the Blessed Mother burns a vigil light.

After the rosary the father will take a big book containing all the Epistles and Gospels of the Sundays and feast days of the year, and he will read the pertinent ones now to his family. The village people usually go to Confession Saturday night, while the folks from the farms at a distance go on Sunday morning before Mass.

Saturday night is a quiet night. There are no parties. People stay at home, getting attuned to Sunday. They go to bed rather early.”

“The land without a sunday” – Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family
home altar with crucifix and Sacred & Immaculate heart frames above, two pitchers of white and pink flowers on each side

Ideas for Planning Ahead

The above quote has been a source of inspiration for my family as we have been building liturgical celebrations in our home.

Before we worked on preparations, Sunday mornings were a little bit chaotic. Trying to get to mass on time with 4 small children was a bit of a challenge. And Sundays just felt busy instead of restful.

After making some changes to how we prepare, things run so much more smoothly. Of course, there is always room for improvement!

Here are a few things that we do on Saturday to prepare for Sunday.

The home is cleaned throughout the week. But on Saturdays, it is thoroughly cleaned. All clutter from the week is put away and the entire home is put back in order.

Personally, I can not relax or thrive in clutter and chaos. If there’s work to be done, I will be very distracted and it will be a little hard to truly sanctify Sundays.

I also like to meal prep for the week ahead on Saturday. This is my bread baking and sweet making day too. In the evening, I will prepare our Sunday dinner. Usually this is making small preparations to the vegetables or thawing meat. And anything else that I can do to simplify the process for Sunday.

The children’s baths are given on Saturday evening and they lay out their Sunday best! The adults also take their showers before bed to make Sunday morning easier!

We have been reading a short reflection from Divine Intimacy regarding the liturgy for Sunday. But I really do like the idea of reading of the proper from the Sunday Mass. Or taking time to reflect on Sunday’s liturgy readings – the Epistle and Gospel, especially.

I think that this is a great way to instruct and prepare the children for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Divine Intimacy book open with a coffee cup in the background

More Sunday Preparations

We also prepare for confession after lunch on Saturday afternoon. I only have one child old enough right now, but I help her to prepare herself by taking the time for reflection & examination of conscience. And ensuring that we are ready to go to confession before Mass.

It is also really helpful for the little ones to spend some time in examination of conscience each evening before bed. We usually do this right after our family rosary. But this will help them get into this good habit and also help them for confession each week.

Another thing that we do is set out our missals, prayer books, and chapel veils to ready to go in the morning.

And since we live at a distance from church, I pack a light breakfast snack that travels well for the children to enjoy after mass. This also holds over hunger while I prepare our big family meal when we return home.

Once we are back home, we enjoy a leisurely family activity. Sometimes it may be a nature walk, board games, or visiting with family.

And I am grateful for planning ahead to be able to truly sanctify Sundays!

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