The March meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Conference has produced an appeal to tone down Sunday morning sports, jobs, and similar busy activities.
“We wish to draw the attention of all parents and guardians to the conflict of interests this scheduling can cause for children and teenager,” said the bishops. “We wish also to bring this conflict of interests to the attention of officials and coaches, whom we recognize as persons of generosity and goodwill.”
The prelates noted that a young person, afraid of missing a game or practice for fear of losing their place on a team, could “lose the habit of going to Sunday Mass,” especially when a conflict occurs on a regular basis.
“Catholic parents and guardians too can lose sight of their responsibility of attending Sunday Mass because they may need to travel with young people to events or attend to support them,” the statement said.
Such an appeal in the US would also need to include Catholic schools. Most institutions I know respect Sunday morning Mass schedules, there are occasional games scheduled early enough in the afternoon so as to compromise our parish’s last morning Mass. Many of our parishioners are balanced young men and women who sing or volunteer in other ways as well as maintaining athletic commitments.
The institution of a community-wide “church night” is also a good thing. I saw more of it in Iowa–not so much in the larger cities I’ve worked in.