Ways to Honor the Sabbath When You Can’t Really Sabbath

We know well and good that, as Christians, Sunday is the sabbath day, the day of rest, the day set apart for God and for family. Ideally, our Sundays would be spent going to Mass, spending quality, focused time with our families, and doing enjoyable tasks/hobbies that bring joy to our hearts and connect our souls with God.

But then there are those who’s sabbaths are interrupted by unavoidable tasks like work.

We’ve fallen into that category before. Up until recently, when Dave decreased his hours to┬ápart time at work, he had to work a 12-hour shift every Sunday due to his school schedule. In the past, I have had to use many Sundays as a work day since my parents are able to watch George on that day. Because of this, we had to find extra special and different ways to honor the sabbath and keep it holy. If any of you are ever in this tight bind, maybe you’ll find some of these helpful!


1. Get to Mass

We made this our absolute main priority. We are fortunate enough to live in an area with innumerable Mass times, including one at 8 p.m. on Sundays, an hour after Dave got off work. Most areas have a Saturday vigil Mass, too. The biggest way we can honor God on Sundays is by worshipping him in the liturgy. If we are able to only do one thing outside of work on Sundays, this is it.

2. Set aside another day of the week to rest

This one can be difficult, but so rewarding. When Dave worked on Sundays, he made a big effort to set aside one weekday afternoon to just relax. This only added up to an hour or two each week; but ideally, if someone has to work on Sundays, they will be able to set aside a full weekday to relax and recuperate.

3. Do something simple as a family

If you’re working on Sunday, chances are you’ll be exhausted by the end of the day. You may not be up for a multi-hour family adventure (or maybe you want that! then go for it!). Something simple like a family game, movie night, or puzzle (am I too lame?) can be a great way to unwind together without wearing you out even more.

4. Increase your prayer during your work

Hopefully, we are making all our work a prayer. We have plenty of opportunities to pause during our work for a minute of conversation with God. We have the ability to see God in our work and to devote our efforts to Him. If we work on Sundays, we can labor to be even more aware of this reality. For example, instead of eating lunch in the break room, we might eat at our desk and do some spiritual reading. We can offer up our time spent away from our family for the work that we’re completing. There are plenty of ways for us to continuously remind ourselves of the sabbath during the work day – find which one works best for you!

5. Make a big meal

This is my favorite way to celebrate Sundays, especially when one or both of us is working. Because of the work, some elaborate meal may not be feasible, and that’s ok! I usually just try to make something new to us, a favorite meal of Dave’s, or a yummy dessert. I’ve found that anything that is out of the ordinary helps us set that day aside as something special, even when it can feel like just another work day.

Have you ever been in a season of life when you’re not able to fully celebrate the sabbath? What did you do to keep that day holy?


  1. These are great missy. Especially the big meal part.

  2. This is great advice!

  3. Yes. I once talked a priest about this, because for several years, Sunday was the best time for us to do our shopping. It was so hard for me to reconcile that, but he helped me feel better about *our* particular circumstances because we were still together as a family, still at Mass, and really our options were limited as to when we could get our groceries.

  4. Yes! My current schedule allows for Sundays off, but for years, Sunday was a main ministry day. Sure, I was doing the Lord’s work, but it was still *work*. I did my best to take another day off and truly relax, not just work more. The other thing that was so important for me was to take time before ministry time to pray, not for the night, but just to converse with God apart from everything else. So necessary!

  5. This is great! For years (until just recently) when hubby was a youth minister, our Sundays were crazy busy with his work at the church plus my volunteering and now taking care of baby. As he’s transitioned to work at the diocese, the last month has been a beautiful change as we figure out our new Sunday traditions and finally get to spend extra time as a family. I hope that yall get there soon but it sounds like you have some great alternatives going!

  6. This is something I have been thinking about recently. My husband usually works 12 hour shifts including on Sundays and I’ve been struggling with it. I do try to make a special breakfast, and of course we go to Mass (because we have a lot of flexibility with Mass times in our area too), but not always together. Even though I know I’m not the only one who deals with this, sometimes it feels like it when I’m reading blogs or talking to friends and they are all talking about how important it is to have family time, especially on Sundays. I still need to figure out how this is going to look for our family. Thanks for these thoughts.

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