For many families, the weekend has turned into a two-day free for all. Saturdays and Sundays are spent cleaning the house, picking up groceries, running errands, organizing playdates, and catching up on laundry. It’s also become a time to catch up with one another for fun and relaxing outings, sports activities, deep conversations, and opportunities to center ourselves.
Although Sunday has long since been a day designated to God, it rarely is. The Archdiocese of Detroit is trying to change that with its family resource, “52 Sundays.”
Now in its second year of publication, “52 Sundays” is a dynamic guide to help families reclaim the Lord’s Day with prayer, activities, food, and more. This resource, which also includes an online component, helps guide families through weekly exercises based on the Sunday Gospels. It includes reflections on saints, a prayer activity, and a recipe for each week.
“The idea for ‘52 Sundays’ came from the need to better equip our families to live as domestic Church,” says Tara Stenger, Family Evangelization Coordinator and a contributing author of the guide. “The domestic Church does on a small scale, what the Church universal does on a large scale. It makes disciples, answering the Great Commission given to us by Jesus himself, ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.’ (Matthew 28:19) No human community is better equipped to do this than the family.
“The home is a place for shared prayer, shared meals, and rest from the busyness of the outside world. ‘52 Sundays’ is a way to help make that happen,” she adds.
There are six main components to “52 Sundays.” The 2021 edition will also have some new features including Triduum Pages (reflections and activities for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday), Family Connections (a way to use 52 Sundays in the context of a family small group setting), and a Family Challenge (a way to put the Gospel into action).
Explore the Sunday Gospel
“52 Sundays” contains the Sunday Gospel for each Sunday in 2021 and the biblical citation for all the readings of the day. Exploring the Sunday Gospel each week will help family members encounter the risen Christ and help children grow up with a biblical world view.
Meet Our Extended Family
The book helps your family get to know our extended spiritual family by featuring one saint each week, including a picture of the saint. This year will introduce a saint that has made the ultimate sacrifice and laid down his or her life for Christ.
Take Time to Chat
“52 Sundays” provides discussion questions on the Gospel passage of the day or questions about the featured saint in order to stimulate discussion in your family.
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be hard to find time to enjoy being together; holy family fun makes the hustle and bustle worthwhile. Therefore, an activity has been included for each week to help you carve out some intentional time to have family fun.
Recipe of the Week
The New Testament attests to the fact that Jesus often used meals to engage with people and teach important lessons. As your family reclaims the Lord’s Day for faith and family, make Sunday meals a sacred time to connect with each other and with the Lord by making one of the weekly recipes included in the book.
Families that pray together, stay together. “52 Sundays” provides a family prayer each week. These prayers will not only help your family learn new prayers, but will also introduce your family to various forms of prayer.
Anita Houghton, Associate Director of the Office of Evangelization and also a contributing author of the guide, says she could never have imagined the impact it would have on families during this unprecedented time in our history.
“While preparing the manuscript for the first edition of ‘52 Sundays,’ no one could have dreamed nor anticipated what 2020 would bring. When the pandemic closed churches across the nation, ‘52 Sundays’ was there to help families celebrate Sunday. The response from families who have been using ‘52 Sundays’ has been overwhelmingly positive,” she says.