Reclaim your Sunday: Balancing God and sports

Our culture once recognized Sunday as a day of rest, but now, Sundays are just as busy as the rest of the week. Sporting events, birthday parties, chores and meal prep—how are we supposed to make the Lord’s Day about the Lord? Marisa Sandora, a New Jersey mom, author, and adjunct professor, spoke about how she’s taking back Sunday on Morning Air® on Relevant Radio®.

First, make Mass the number one priority. “With three kids running in three different directions, there’s always activities cropping up and that’s part of the problem. But we really like going to church on Sunday mornings and I’ve tried to really keep that time sacred and enforce the idea that Sunday mornings are for church and that’s what we’re going to be doing. And if something else happens to conflict, we’re going to have to nicely bow out, or occasionally I will try to find another time to go to Mass because we are lucky enough to have a couple of options,” says Sandora.

While they do attend a Saturday Vigil Mass occasionally, Sandora wants to stress to her kids that Sunday mornings are especially for Mass. “I really do try to protect those Sunday mornings and make it a ritual and make it something that hopefully will become important to my kids as they grow up and as they raise their own families.”

This has become especially difficult for families who have kids in sports that often have tournaments and games on Sunday. “It’s tough. Everybody wants their kids to excel in whatever they do. You want your kids to do well in sports, you want them to be a good teammate, you want them to be looked favorably upon by the coach, and it’s hard to sometimes go against the grain if everybody’s fine with going to that tournament on Sunday morning. It’s difficult to be the one person who says, ‘Hey, listen. You know, I’m so sorry but this is going to be family time for us. This is important; this is our day of worship. We’re going to have to bow out and we’ll be the best possible teammate and athlete that we can be the other six days of the week but it’s not going to happen for us on Sunday, or at least on Sunday morning,’” says Sandora.

In addition to be a successful athlete, you want your kids to excel as Catholics. What you make the most time for shows your kids what the priorities are. “You have to decide what’s most important to you. I feel like in our family I’m really trying to … make it clear that our faith is the most important thing in our lives and it is going to trump sports or birthday parties or anything else that happens to come up, at least on Sunday morning,” she explained. “And that’s really not asking that much because you’ve got all these other days of the week and you’ve got Sunday afternoons. I’m not a stickler for not doing anything on Sundays—I feel like you can keep Sundays sacred without missing out on all of the fun and things that come up. It’s just a matter of balance and deciding what’s really important to you.”

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.