From Our Pastor: The Five Precepts of the Catholic Church (Part 1)
The Precepts of the Catholic Church are a description of the absolute minimum actions required of Catholics regarding the Church. If you haven't started these precepts, now is the time to start and never stop.
The Church uses these precepts to remind us that Christian life requires a commitment to prayer and active participation in the liturgy and sacraments. If we fall below this bare-minimum level, we can't rightly consider ourselves to be in full communion with the Catholic Church. We should continue to attend Mass, but we must right our situation immediately by confession or whatever needs to be done to get right with His Church.
Each of these precepts of the Catholic Church is a requirement. Together with the Ten Commandments, they represent the minimum level of moral living. Intentional violation of the precepts or the Commandments is a grave matter, meaning a mortal sin.
1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation and rest from servile labor.
We must "sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord" (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic Holy Days of Obligation. This requires attending Mass, "and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days."
This first precept is a reminder of what the commandment to Keep Holy the Sabbath means. Yes, it means Sunday Mass is an obligation, but also Holy Days of Obligation are as well. This means they are not optional for any other reason than illness. If you have questions about a specific situation, seek the counsel of your pastor individually. We also must remember that part of this precept and the commandment is that we must also refrain from work that shouldn't be done on a day of rest, as the Lord gave us the day of rest for us to rest in Him and be with our families. Sanctify Sundays, which means make them holy, which means different or set apart from the rest. Don't do your normal work of the week on Sunday. Make Mass the central aspect and then make time together as a family for meals on that day especially, as well as maybe some activity as just your family or your extended family or a group of families. See Sunday as the day to worship the Lord and rest in Him, not because He commands us to, which He does, but because we know in who we need it. We need to pause and thank Him for everything and to rest in Him to prepare us for the rest of the week, but also to spend that needed time together.
Rev. Steven Arisman