Archdiocese of Detroit to cease Catholic youth sports on Sundays

'In our time, Sunday has slowly lost its pride of place'

Baseball bats (Pixlr)
Baseball bats (Pixlr)

DETROIT – The Archdiocese of Detroit on Wednesday announced a new policy to cease youth sporting activities on Sundays, in a renewed effort to “reclaim Sunday” as one for worship, rest and family time.

Here's the full news release from the Archdiocese:

In a new pastoral note titled “The Day of the Lord,” Archbishop Vigneron introduces the policy alongside a discussion of the scriptural and traditional foundation for Catholics honoring Sunday as a holy day. Dating to the early years of the Church, he said, Catholics set aside Sunday for rest and worship in recognition of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost Sunday, and the first “rest” of God after the work of creation.

“In our time, Sunday has slowly lost its pride of place,” Vigneron said in the pastoral note. “In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we are committed to setting aside this day as much as possible for God-centered pursuits” such as Mass, personal prayer and Bible studies as well as dedicated family time and activities centered on sharing faith with others.

Youth involved in sports through the Catholic High School League (CHSL) and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) will see the policy implemented this fall in their practice and game schedules. Officials with CHSL and CYO will ensure teams enjoy a full line-up of practices, scrimmages and games, taking advantage of a Monday through Saturday schedule.

“This policy will help reduce the distractions for families in their pursuit of reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day,” said Vic Michaels, Director of CHSL and of the Archdiocese’s Department of Health, Athletics, Physical Education and Safety. “In shifting our sports to Monday through Saturday, we aim to help our dedicated student athletes continue following their passions without sacrificing Sunday worship, rest and family time.”

This re-commitment to honoring Sunday is rooted in Synod 16, 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. One of the first fruits of the Synod, Vigneron’s Pentecost 2017 pastoral letter called Unleash the Gospel, has sparked a missionary movement by the same name and has been built upon in recent years by accompanying pastoral notes by the Archbishop.

“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,” said Father Stephen Pullis, Director of the Archdiocese’s Department of Evangelization, Catechesis, and Schools. “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.”

One of the “clearest calls” from the Synod was the faithful’s desire to rededicate Sunday to worship, rest and family time, Vigneron said.

“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 in the pastoral note. “As the Catholic Church, our primary role is to form disciples. Informed by Synod 16 and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we look forward to abundant blessings as we seek to abide by our God’s teaching to keep holy the Lord’s Day.”

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