Vatikanets presentasjon og sammendrag av «Dies Domini»

Presentation of Apostolic Letter "Dies Domini"

VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 1998 (VIS) - The Holy Father's Apostolic Letter "Dies Domini," the Day of the Lord, was presented this morning in the Holy See Press Office by Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments.

Joining him to explain the document were Archbishop Geraldo Majella Agnelo, secretary of the same congregation, and Bishop Piero Marini, master of pontifical liturgical celebrations.

Cardinal Medina pointed out that "this Apostolic Letter is divided into five chapters which are rich in doctrine which, in turn, establishes many pastoral consequences and spiritual exigencies." He briefly highlighted the theme and content of each chapter and looked at what prompted John Paul II to write this Letter. He said that the Pope, looking at today's sociological realities, including "the lack of strong faith motivations," and low attendance at Mass, "saw the need ... to explain the deep raison d'etre of the celebrations of the day of the Lord."

Archbishop Majella focussed on that part of the document dedicated to the Sabbath precept, that is, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and to observe weekly rest. "We must say right away," he stated, "that the Holy Father has said nothing new concerning the seriousness and the possible excuses with regard to such an obligation. ... He reminds us what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: 'Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin' (n. 2181)."

Bishop Marini, pointing out that this letter "has its reference point in Vatican Council II, in particular on the conciliar liturgical reform," said: "'Dies Domini' on making Sunday holy, is placed above all in the framework of the preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. ... The Pope indicates Sundays as a qualifying element of the identity of a Christian and of the Church which is presented to the generation of the new millennium. ... The better one celebrates Sunday, the better the Jubilee will be celebrated."


John Paul II's Apostolic Letter "Dies Domini"

VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 1998 (VIS) - Today, the apostolic letter "Dies Domini", on the theme of keeping the Lord's day holy, was presented in the Holy See Press Office. Addressed to bishops, clergy and the faithful, it is dated May 31, and contains an introduction and five chapters.


The Lord's Day, Sunday, "has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery", in Christ's Resurrection.

The evolution of socio-economic conditions, the lower numbers attending Sunday Mass and the scarcity of priests make it seem "more necessary than ever to recover the deep doctrinal foundations (of Sunday Mass)" so that the faithful clearly see "the abiding value of Sunday in the Christian life."

I. Dies Domini - the Celebration of the Creator's Work

According to the account in the book of Genesis, when God completed his work of creation, he blessed the seventh day and made it holy. The Sabbath precept "is therefore rooted in the depths of God's plan." For this reason, it is in the Decalogue, and the Church does not consider it "not just a matter of community religious discipline but a defining and indelible expression of our relationship with God.

"Sunday is the day of rest because it is the day 'blessed' by God and 'made holy' by him, set apart from the other days to be, among all of them, 'the Lord's Day ... Man's relationship with God also demands time of explicit prayer, in which the relationship becomes an intense dialogue. ... 'The Lord's Day' is the day of this relationship par excellence."

II. Dies Domini - the Day of the Risen Lord and of the Gift of the Holy Spirit

The Christian Sunday leads "the faithful each week to ponder and live the event of Easter, true source of the world's salvation ... It was again Sunday when, fifty days after the Resurrection, the Spirit descended in power ... upon the Apostles gathered with Mary. Pentecost is not only the founding event of the Church ... but it also remains a part of the deep meaning of every Sunday, because of its intimate bond with the Paschal Mystery."

"Given these different dimensions which set it apart, Sunday appears as the supreme day of faith. ... This is stressed by the fact that the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy ... includes the Profession of Faith. The Creed declares the baptismal and Paschal character of Sunday. ... (whereby) the baptized renew their adherence to Christ and his Gospel."

III. Dies Ecclesiae - the Eucharistic Assembly: Heart of Sunday

Sunday, "is a celebration of the living presence of the Risen Lord in the midst of his own people. For this presence to be properly proclaimed and lived, it is not enough that the disciples of Christ pray individually", seeing as they "are not saved as individuals alone, but as members of the Mystical Body, having become part of the People of God. It is important therefore that they come together to express fully the very identity of the Church, ... the assembly called together by the Risen Lord."

"The Eucharist is not only a particularly intense expression of the reality of the Church's life, but in a sense its 'fountain head'... The Sunday Eucharist... because of its special solemnity and the obligatory presence of the community ... becomes the paradigm for other Eucharistic celebrations."

"For Christian families, the Sunday assembly is one of the most outstanding expressions of their identity and their 'ministry' as 'domestic churches' ... We do well to recall that it is first of all the parents who must teach their children to participate in Sunday Mass; they are assisted in this by catechists."

In the same way, Sunday Mass is an opportunity to find different groups, movements, associations and religious communities. "This allows everyone to experience in common what they share most deeply, beyond the particular spiritual paths which, by discernment of Church authority, legitimately distinguish them. This is why on Sunday, ... small group Masses are not to be encouraged."

"The hearing of the word of God proclaimed must be well prepared in the souls of the faithful by an apt knowledge of Scripture and, where pastorally possible, by special initiatives designed to deepen understanding of the biblical readings, particularly those used on Sundays and holy days. ... This is the value of initiatives in parish communities which bring together during the week ... priests, ministers and faithful ... in order to prepare the Sunday liturgy, reflecting beforehand upon the word of God which will be proclaimed."

The Second Vatican Council stated that the homily during Sunday Mass should not be omitted, unless for a legitimate reason. ";much depends on those who exercise the ministry of the word of the Lord by prayer and study of the sacred text, so that they may then express its contents faithfully and apply them to people's concerns and to their daily lives."

"The table of the word leads naturally to the table of the Eucharistic Bread. ... Sharing in the Lord's Supper is always communion with Christ, who offers himself for us in sacrifice to the Father. This is why the Church recommends that the faithful receive communion when they take part in the Eucharist, provided that they are properly disposed and, if aware of grave sin, have received God's pardon in the Sacrament of Reconciliation."

"It is also important to be ever mindful that communion with Christ is deeply tied to communion with our brothers and sisters. ... All this will be helped by gestures of welcome and by the tome of prayer, alert to the needs of all in the community."

"The Eucharistic celebration does not stop at the church door" as Christians "are called to evangelize and bear witness in their daily lives. Given this, the Prayer after Communion and the Concluding Rite ... need to be better valued and appreciated, so that all who have shared in the Eucharist may come to a deeper sense of the responsibility which is entrusted to them."

The Eucharist in being the true focus of Sunday requires the participation of the faithful. This necessity "has normally been understood as entailing a grave obligation." Nowadays, the hostility or indifference of this environment is an obstacle for many Christians who wish to live their faith. "If believers are not to be overwhelmed, they must be able to count on the support of the Christian community. That is why they must be convinced that it is crucially important for the life of faith that they should come together with others on Sundays to celebrate the Passover of the Lord in the sacrament of the New Covenant. It is the special responsibility of the Bishops, therefore, to ensure that Sunday is appreciated by all the faithful, kept holy and celebrated as truly 'the Lord's Day'. ... Pastors have the corresponding duty to offer to everyone the real possibility of fulfilling the precept."

"The provision which allows the obligation to be fulfilled from Saturday evening onwards ... consequently, the liturgy of what is sometimes called the 'Vigil Mass' is in effect the 'festive' Mass of Sunday, at which the celebrant is required to preach the homily and recite the Prayer of the Faithful."

"Pastors should remind the faithful that when they are away from home on Sundays (that) they are to take care to attend Mass wherever they may be."

"Given the nature of Sunday Mass and its importance in the lives of the faithful, it must be prepared with special care ... to ensure that the celebration has the appropriate festive character. ... It is important to devote attention to the songs used by the assembly, since singing is a particularly apt way to express a joyful heart. ... Care must be taken to ensure the quality ... so that it will conform to liturgical requirements, and be worthy of the Church's tradition."

"There is need too to ensure that all those present, children and adults, take an active interest, by encouraging their involvement at those points where the liturgy suggests and recommends it."

"(In the case) of parishes which do not have the ministry of a priest for the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist, ... the Church recommends that the Sunday assembly come together even without a priest, in keeping with the indications and directives of the Holy See which have been entrusted to the Episcopal Conferences."

"Finally, (for) the faithful who, because of sickness, disability or some other serious cause, are prevented from taking part, ... radio and television are a precious help, especially if accompanied by the generous service of extraordinary ministers to bring the Eucharist to the sick."

IV. Dies Hominis. Sunday: Day of Joy, Rest and Solidarity

"In virtue of its significance as the day of the Risen Lord, celebrating God's work of creation and 'new creation', Sunday is the day of joy in a very special way, indeed the most suitable for learning how to rejoice and rediscover the true nature and deep roots of joy."

"Through Sunday rest, daily concerns and tasks can find their proper perspective: the material things ... give way to spiritual values. ... Therefore, also in the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy."

"Sunday should also give the faithful an opportunity to devote themselves to works of mercy, charity and apostolate. To experience the joy of the Risen Lord deep within is to share fully the love which pulses in his heart."

V. Dies Dierum. Sunday: the Primordial Feast, Revealing the Meaning of Time.

"Since Sunday is the weekly Easter, recalling and making present the day upon which Christ rose from the dead, it is also the day which reveals the meaning of time. ... Sunday foreshadows the last day, the day of the Parousia, which in a way is already anticipated by Christ's glory in the event of the Resurrection."


"When its significance and implications are understood in their entirety, Sunday in a way becomes a synthesis of the Christian life. ... It is clear therefore why the observance of the Lord's Day is so close to the Church's heart."

LIT/DIES DOMINI/... VIS 980707 (1690)
av Webmaster publisert 07.07.1998, sist endret 07.07.1998 - 20:46