One of the first and most simple things families can do to Revitalise Catholic Culture and Identity is to enjoy Sunday lunch together. It sounds easy but try getting the family together for a sit down meal and it can prove quite difficult to accomplish. The following is taken from the March 2008 issue of Religion Teacher’s Journal by Catherine Ecker and gives ideas for helping families make the connection with the family table and the Sunday Eucharist.
Twenty-five years ago, Sunday lunch was a mainstay in many families. The Sunday meal often included extended family and most often the menu was predictable. Today, the changing shape of society has presented families and parishes with a new reality.
How can parish leaders assist families in recapturing an understanding of the family meal?
Will a renewed understanding of the family meal lead to a deeper awareness and appreciation of the Sunday liturgy as a meal shared with fellow disciples?
The first step is to note the similarities between what we do on Sunday and what we do at home. Remember what happened at liturgy?
We are fed. Fed from both the table of God’s word and the table of the Eucharist.
We proclaim God’s amazing deeds, and we remember that God is present and active in our lives
We pray together the great Eucharistic (thanksgiving) Prayer, and we are nourished with a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.
Nourished by the body and blood of Christ, we leave the liturgy to live as the body and blood of Christ for the world, regardless of the cost.
And what happens during a family meal?
We gather and tell the stories of our day.
We recall the ways that we are family, and we eat and drink nourishing food.
When we leave the family table we are strengthened in our bodies, and we are strengthened as a family.
Our relationships are renewed and we are reminded that we are called to live as members of one family.
Model eating together
Demands on family life have introduced many changes to the rhythm of family life. In some families the concept of sitting at the same table to share food without a television or movie playing is unfamiliar. Families with hectic schedules often think it is not practical to take the time to set a table, so let us lead by example.
Even families that ‘get’ Sunday do not always understand how every Sunday is part of a larger liturgical year. The family meal isn’t just connected to a single day of the week but to a grand story told all year long.
When we celebrate Sunday liturgy well, families will be formed in living a deeper life in Christ. When families eat together, they will begin to hunger for Sunday liturgy. Both tables form us and nourish us on our journey in faith.
It may be even more true to say that a family that eats together stays together. – Archdiocesan Catechetical Office