Since 2000, Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais has expressed his opinion on a variety of faith topics. These texts were initially published in the "Ask the Religion Experts" column which appears every Saturday in The Ottawa Citizen. As of June 2005, Msgr. Patrick Powers, Vicar General, will be taking on the responsibility of the weekly articles.

What is the significance of the sabbath for your faith?

For us, every Sunday is an Easter Day, a celebration of life in the Risen Lord by the people of his new creation. The Lords Day and the celebration of the Eucharist are at the heart of the Churchs life. As we read in the Code of Canon Law (canon 1246 [1]), "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church".

The evangelists remind us that it was "on the first day of the week" that the resurrection occurred (Mark 16:2; Mt.28:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1). It is clear from the New Testament that the celebration of the Lords Supper was central to the new creation renewed on the Lords Day. Remembering to delight in the Lord was a means to the renewal of the individual and of the community. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (no. 106), stressed the centrality of the paschal mystery in seeing each Sunday as the Lords Day, a "little Easter".

Since the earliest days of the Church, the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist accentuated the holiness of all life in Christ. A tradition developed, from the time of the Emperor Constantine to this day, to refrain from work, as much as possible - so as to allow ourselves to be transformed by its observance. Above all, Sunday is a day for the cultivation of our familial, cultural, social and religions lives! Here, as a community, we are invited into the new creation of Christ. Sunday is a day to delight in, and to foster, this new creation in which there are no divisions of races or creeds, where Christ is all in all.