Pope Francis says Sundays are a gift from God not to be shunned

(Photo: REUTERS / Cheryl Ravelo)A Catholic faithful receives holy communion during an open-air Mass led by Pope Francis at Rizal Park in Manila January 18, 2015. Pope Francis concluded his trip to Asia on Sunday with an open-air Mass for a rain-drenched crowd in Manila that the Vatican and the government said drew up to seven million people, the largest ever for a papal event.

A day of rest and prayer each week are sacred Pope Francis has said in his weekly meeting at the Vatican noting that Sunday is a day the family can enjoy one another and not be slaves to work.

Francis held his weekly General Audience on Aug. 12 spoke of a new phase in a series of reflections on the family, to three specific facets of family life: celebration, work and prayer.

"Moments of rest, especially on Sunday, are sacred because in them we find God," said the Pope, noting that the Sunday Eucharist brings to celebrations Jesus' grace.

"The obsession with economic profit and technical efficiency puts the human rhythms of life at risk. Moments of rest, especially on Sunday, are sacred because in them we find God.

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"The Sunday Eucharist brings to our celebrations every grace of Jesus Christ: his presence, his love and his sacrifice; his forming us into a community, and his way of being with us."

Francis said that true moments of celebration make humanity pause from work as a reminder that people "are made in the image and likeness of God, who is not a slave to work, but the Lord of work."

"And so we must never be slaves to work but rather its master."

Church attendance in many countries on Sundays has plummeted in recent years and in some nations once considered to be Christian the day of rest has become a shopping day.

The Argentine pontiff said it well known that millions of men and women, even children, are slaves to work.

"The obsession with economic profit and technical efficiency puts the human rhythms of life at risk. Moments of rest, especially on Sunday, are sacred because in them we find God."

He noted that Sunday Eucharist brings to humanity's celebrations "every grace of Jesus Christ: his presence, his love and his sacrifice; his forming us into a community, and his way of being with us."

The pontiff urged the recognition of the family "as the privileged place to understand, guide and sustain the gifts which arise from our celebrations, especially the Sunday Eucharist" when Christians believe they consecrate bread and wine into the body of Jesus.

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