POLL: The Sunday Meal

A question has popped up in several ways during these last few days which prompts this poll.

I was watching part of a cooking show recently with the English chef Gordon Ramsay.  Vocabulary aside, he is promoting a laudable project through one of his TV shows.  He want to revive the Sunday Meal.   He goes to a home, finds out what they do on a Sunday, and then shows them what they might be able to cook so as to get people, family and or friends, around the table to sit together for a while and enjoy the repast and company.  He even changes their dining room furniture to help make the experience easier and more pleasant.

A big Sunday meal – call it supper – call it dinner – whatever.

It could perhaps even be "out".  I think many people have a regular practice for going for Sunday "brunch", for example after Mass.

In Rome at a church entrusted to the Chinese community, people have a big "pot luck" meal together after Mass before they go their separate ways.

There is something about meals together.  The Lord used meals for important moments in his ministry, both at Cana and the upper room.  

I have good memories of, for example, the Sunday meal at the rectory of my home parish.   After the Masses were over, the priests, and usually some seminarians and others, would enjoy a formal meal together taking us up to the time for Vespers and Benediction, sung each Sunday in the church in Gregorian chant.  The meals were always cordial, leisurely, and packed with interesting and wide ranging conversation.  These meals expressed a culture in the house and also shaped that same culture.  One of the only places I have ever seen Presbyterorum ordinis actually lived in important respects.

Alas… that has been eliminated there and in so many other places … much to the harm of the bonds of society, whether that society is a family, a rectory community or larger society.

The bonds of society are important.  Pull them apart and barbarity ensues.  This is in large part what Dante was dealing with in his Inferno of the Divina Commedia.  The souls in hell were being punished in proportion to how during life they had attacked or torn apart the bonds of society.

So all this is rattling around in my head.

Then a friend called this morning and actually suggested this as a question for a poll.

Here we are.

I am talking about doing this regularly, not just occasionally.  I don’t know how often regular might be, but I know it when I see it.

There are people out there, on the Dies Domini, eating apart – even in families – when they might eat together and both strengthen each other and the bonds of charity.  (cf. Dies Domini 72-73)

Vote and post about what you do for your Sunday Meal.


Do you generally have a Sunday meal with others?

  • Yes (65%, 833 Votes)
  • No (35%, 455 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,288

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  1. Ann says:

    Sadly, we no longer do a sunday dinner, but when I had my kids at home we would get the food and gather around a blanket on the livingroom floor, put on an old movie we had all seen hundreds of times and eat and talk and reconnect. Meals might be carry out Fajitas or Pizza, but the best part was everybody came together and shared about their week.

    I think a once a week gathering would be a good idea, I must begin to think about what might be arranged in the light of how we are living currently…

    thanks for bringing up this topic! It sure is a good one. :)

  2. Dave says:

    I live alone and rarely see my family, but the university parish in my town offers a free dinner after their evening Mass (usually spaghetti and salad,) so I have that opportunity to eat dinner with other people once a week.

  3. Immaculatae says:

    I would like to but don’t live near family or Catholic friends. Renting with roommate that is not amiable and she usually eats elsewhere.

  4. Dino says:

    Am sorry to say that I had to vote No. I live with my godson and his family that seems to be always on the run all day Sunday.

    As a kid, I recall that we always had Sunday Dinner (midday) together.

    Sometimes the evening meal was a bowl of cereal and we kids thought this was really great; it was only as we got older that we realized that the family budget could only afford that 12-cent box of cereal with milk until my dad’s paycheck took us to the store on Monday evening after work.

    My mother also tried to have a family meal ready promptly at 6:30 p.m., and there better be a good reason to not be there.

    It is sad for me to realize that families eat as individuals, sometimes standing up. I wonder if the breakdown of so many families might be partly attributed to the loss of the Sunday Dinner.

  5. Ann says:

    hmmm, to clarify, we used the movie as a sort of timing device because the kids would stay put for the whole movie even after they had eaten. At times teens are difficult to get to stay put unless you give them an “excuse” that lets them avoid admitting they like talking to mom.

  6. Greg Smisek says:

    Does coffee and doughnuts count?

  7. Victor says:

    I live about 700 km apart from my next of kin (parents, brothers). In my city, catholics are a tiny minority, but we have a vibrant parish and a very lively student community. Every sunday after mass we meet before the church doors and have a cup of coffee somewhere. Some sundays it is only two or three, on other sundays we are more than ten. Does it count? I think it is a worthy successor to the old church’s agape meals.

  8. Since I am the only priest in my parish, I usually eat alone, since I live alone. However, in the rare cases that I have guests, we eat supper together. Otherwise it’s just me and my dogs. I am appalled, though, at how many of my parishioners never eat as a family seated around a table. If they do eat together for a major holiday, there are usully other guests and several tables. Kind of ruins the idea.

  9. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Our family eats a roast chicken dinner together every Sunday after Mass. We should invite others to join us more often, but we have people over for a Sunday dinner every couple months.

  10. veritas says:

    I am an old fashioned person and I always have a Sunday lunch, sometimes my wife cooks sometimes I do. My three children, all of whom have families, do exactly the same. When we can we eat together, although the three families are rather far away. We sit at table, we talk, and we eat. Our eldest grandchild is 23 and the youngest is 3. Our family includes Catholics, Anglicans and Agnostics. I don’t think we are at all unusual. We are not well off neither are we poor. I think it is said that a family that prays together stays together, I believe that eating together helps.

  11. Jenny Z says:

    I voted no, but I also plan to try to start this up soon.

  12. Patrick says:

    We used to have Sunday Dinner each and every Sunday. Since my daughter started college this is not the case. She still lives at home, although we pray she will find a need to live in the dorms, and her new schedule somehow manages to overrun the rest of us.

    However, I do believe I shall put forth a greater effort to have a proper Sunday dinner again.

  13. Sarah L says:

    Now that you mention it, I’ve been sharing meals on Sunday for as long as I can remember, and it really makes the day special. It was especially nice in college when we would all stick around after Mass for a pancake breakfast or Sunday supper. We even carried the practice into lunch after daily Mass, all crowding around the same cafeteria table.

  14. Lee says:

    My goodness, this is really striking. We have eaten together every evening (at least) for the thirty two years of our marriage, Sundays included, and when the children lived at home we were one big (all four of us) happy family at these meals. What happy times and memories!

    When I was growing up in the late forties and fifties, Sunday dinner was a much bigger deal, though. We might visit my grandmother’s or an aunt, or they might visit us. Sunday definitely was a time for visiting with family and friends and eating the Sunday dinner together. Friends of my parents would sometimes drop by unannounced, together with their brood of eight children. I remember one memorable meal when my mother had very uncharacteristically cooked a duck, their friends dropped by and all 16 of us feasted on one duck!

    As I say, very warm and happy times which essentially came to an end with the arrival of television in the mid-fifties, when the Catholic people sat down to watch. Nor have we gotten up yet.

  15. Simon-Peter says:

    I’m a student, and not at home very much, so I often eat alone every day, Sundays included (though I sometimes have soup or something with a friend).

    However, for some reason, when I was at home I would serve the dawn Mass, and my mum would prefer to go to the sung Mass later in the morning, so I’d hang around at Church, perhaps helping with the childrens’ catechesis or talk to my parish priest about Pugin, then come back home with my mum at midday. In the mean time, my non-Church-going dad would have made a big cooked breakfast that we’d all sit down together to enjoy. This would be our main meal of the day (I had issues with roast dinners), and then we’d also have something like bread and cheese in the evening.

    Ahh, nostalgia…

  16. ckdexterhaven says:

    I voted yes. Even with 4 kids, we try to keep Sunday free of the “clutter’ of all the activities. When I’m making “Sunday dinner”, sometimes I think to myself “I hope my kids have fond memories of this”. We usually try to do pancakes or eggs and bacon on Saturday mornings together. Sunday mornings are too crazy trying to get 4 kids and a hubby out the door to church.

  17. Christa says:

    Alas, currently my answer is no. Due to the employment situation my husband was laid off here in Indiana and had to take a job in Denver. We cannot sell our home so he flies here about once a month. When he is here we have Sunday dinner, and sometimes our son’s family will come as well.

    Lately, though, it’s just been us. I miss the days when we did have Sunday dinner.

  18. Amy says:

    Our immediate family always eats dinner together, and we often have family over, or they have us over, since we moved to the same town.

    Your situation sounds pretty tough. I do hope Denver has been hospitable to you. I grew up there. I would be happy to recommend places to go, places to eat, etc. I am on Facebook (Amy Marie Seltzer) if you are interested in conversing.

  19. Cath says:

    Every other Sunday we go to my brother’s house. He has eight children and I have seven (oldest is away at college). On the other Sundays we try have my dad (mom passed away in December) and younger brothers over. We used to have our priest over too, until he was moved to another parish.

  20. Matthew says:

    Every Sunday, my brothers, parents, grandma and my uncle attend 8:00 am Mass. Then we all head to my grandma’s house (about 1 block away from the Church) and indulge in a big breakfast complete with beacon, ham, eggs, and my grandma’s fresh homemade bread. :-). We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.

  21. Gloria says:

    Living alone, a senior citizen, I rarely have a Sunday dinner with family. Almost every Sunday after all the Masses at St. Stephen’s one of the families will serve perhaps a Filipino or Mexican meal, or burgers, hot dogs, or offer breakfast AND lunch. Often the lunches are sandwiches, etc., served by the Rosa Mystica Society, the Pipe and Drum Corps or another parish society. We can get a combo meal and drink for $3.50. What a deal! And the funds go for a worthy cause. The hall is teeming with families, some of us old fuddy duddies enjoying each other’s company, and usually a couple of our priests, having already said Mass (usually after the 10:30am High Mass), join the crowd for a bite or just to schmooze. We have a real family feeling there, and being filled spiritually, emotionally and gastronomically, I usually have a piece of fruit, cheese, hunk of bread and glass of wine at home in the evening. Ah, satisfaction!

  22. Brian Day says:

    I voted yes, although I am now having second thoughts. My youngest is now 19, although living at home, works at the local K-Mart where her schedule is erratic at best. If her job requires her to work on Sunday during dinner/supper time, then it is just me and my wife. If she doesn’t work on Sunday evening (or any evening for that matter) then we sit as a family. After that, we don’t have friends over on a regular basis, and the closest family is 800 miles away.

  23. Anne Scanlon says:

    We have a longstanding tradition of a home cooked brunch. We never eat out on Sundays, nor do we shop on Sunday….one more way to re-claim The Lord’s Day.

  24. Chironomo says:

    We all (7 of us – 5 kids and my wife and I) have Sunday dinner together when I get home from my evening Mass, usually around 8:00 or so! It is the only time all week that all of us are home at once since the kids have a variety of activities and I have rehearsals three nights a week. We have done our best to keep that night aside for dinner, and it is a special time for all of us.

  25. Julie says:

    I am with Lee. Even though I am a single parent with three children still at home, ages 14, 12, and 5, we relocated away from other family so that I could return to graduate school, but amongst the chaos,we customarily share evening meals together. Sunday most especially and even more importantly during advent and lent when we will have special devotions. It has always been very important to spend evening meals together and it still amazes me how much my children still enjoy sharing their day with me.

    As a parent I believe it is one of the most important activities a parent can do with their kids. Not only does it validate their self worth because someone believes they are special enough to take the time to prepare a meal for them and to enjoy sharing it with them, but it also reinforces the extraordinary importance of family and adherence to those values that keep families strong and healthy so that they may one day do the same with their own…even against the odds.

    I would strongly encourage anyone who still has family in the home but does not take the opportunity to spend at least a few evening meals together, give it a try. It truly gives you the opportunity to discover just how much you love your family and spending time with them…and how interesting they really are and how blessed you are.

  26. Rob in Maine says:

    Sadly, not any more.

    When I was young and living at home with my parents, we had Sunday dinner every week after mass in the dining room with the good china. Often we would drive up to my grand parents to have it there.

    When I moved out and got a job in a different city, I was by myself and ate whenever.

    Now that I am married and have children, I’m sad to say that Sundays (after Mass) are too busy with family activities. There are “fairs” and other events. My wife, being home all week with the children, always wants to go out and “do something”. Persoannly, I’d rather stay home, rest and have Sunday dinner.

  27. mrsmontoya says:

    We generally have dinner together every night, though week nights may be much simpler meals because of work schedules. When possible I like to make a multi-course, or at least multi-dish, meal for Sunday dinner. We have also identified distinct assignments around the meal, and the kids rotate through them: clearing the table to get it ready for dinner, setting the table, and finally clearing up after dinner. The one who sets the table gets to light the candles.

    My husband didn’t have this communal meal tradition in his family, so it is one of my contributions to our family.

    One selfish reason a parent learns to have a set dinner time is to start the clock ticking down to bed time. When the kids go to bed, we get to switch from ‘parent’ to simply ‘grown-up.’ I would think this would be an additional incentive to start the tradition early!

  28. I usually eat alone as I am a celibate priest with no assistant priest in my parish. On Sundays I usually manage to share a meal. Sometimes it is with a neighbouring priest, sometimes with a family. Tomorrow, an opportunity I always appreciate and value – a meal with one of my sisters, her husband and their family. (We’re going Chinese!)

  29. Templar says:

    Dinner together everyday is actually something I insist upon. It was the way I was raised, and the tradition I passed onto my children. Although we make an occasional concession on it, 95% of the time it is family dinner together. The kids (aged 16 – 14 – 11 – 10) are allowed to have a friend over, although not all at the same time.

    On Sunday’s that dinner is usually served Mid-day or early afternoon, depending on the Mass we serve at. When we take dinner in mid-day our supper in the evening is more informal, as opposed to weekdays when Dinner is always at night. If we go out for dinner at all it is usually on a Saturday night and is a celebration for a birthday or similar occasion.

    The menu for Sunday Dinner is always the same. Being of Sicilian heritage it is always “Sunday Gravy”, also known to some as tomato sauce, or pasta sauce. I usually make it once a month and since the recipe inherited from my Mother only makes 12 quarts at a time (LOL) I freeze it and we eat Sunday Dinner for the whole month out of one days cooking. On the Sundays I don’t have to cook the day is even more enjoyable as we can spend that much more time together.

    Sunday dinner is a memory I treasure and make a concerted effort to maintain. It’s also one I see each of my children wanting to pass on, because they know no other way. Raise them up in the way they should go.

    A great topic, thank you Father.

  30. Fr. Mark Morris says:

    For the last few years here at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock, Glasgow we have been hosting Sunday evening suppers open to all parishioners. After our Sunday evening Mass at 6pm parishioners have brought along whatever food they can and we’ve all had a good old feed. It’s just a simple supper but it has helped us to complete our Sunday observance. During Lent this year we are having guest speakers after Supper to give a short talk about different aspects of the faith.

  31. TI says:

    Wow. I was in Rome for three years and I had no idea that there was a Chinese pot luck at their Church… Too bad, as I would have loved to have helped cook and eat the food.

    In my opinion, family or communal meals may have the following benefits:

    * Culture
    * Opportunity for discipline and virtue (learning to share, learning etiquette so as to be charitable to others, motivation for temperance, etc.)
    * Communication and interaction with other people (a humanizing characteristic not shared by those who stare at the TV together with a TV dinner on their laps or wolfing down something by the kitchen sink a la bachelor style)
    * Bonding
    * Christ’s presence (where two or three are gathered in My Name…)
    * Good food! (Even if it’s not something a gourmand would enjoy, it may be prepared or heated with love…)

    Just my two cents…

  32. John P says:

    Since I was a very young boy, we’ve always gone into my grandparents’ house. It’s actually pretty enjoyable, and I know that since my grandfather now lives alone, he gets really lonely, and likes the company. It’s a great family tradition, and I hope it continues on for a long time.

  33. Sadly, I also had to vote No. When my children were home and growing up, our best times were around the table. Sometimes we had cousins at the table with us, or friends of my children who called our home, a second home. There was always much laughter and good conversation.

    During the 1970’s and 80’s, I sometimes hosted Home Masses in my home (as others did also), where members of our parish would gather along with our priest who would celebrate a simple OF Mass. Afterwards, we would again gather around the table for a simple supper. It was a wonderful time.

    There is something about being around the table with family and friends and sharing a meal together…

  34. Terri says:

    We enjoy a lunch that supports one of our parish groups, (JP II society, KofC etc.) every Sunday with several other families. We stay almost 2 hours after our Mass is over to chat and eat and run the kids down. Our family then goes home and puts kids down for a nap – enjoys some quiet and then gears up for our Sunday dinner together – but then we are blessed – we eat all of our dinners together!

  35. Fr. Finigan: I have a fond memory of having a roast chicken with you at your rectory on a Sunday after the Masses were over.

  36. Jayna says:

    We usually have a big Sunday dinner at my house. I’m living at home until I finish up my MA, so my poor friends living out on their own come over and get a full meal once a week. We were having upwards of 15 people a week come over for a while, we make stuff like spaghetti, fajitas, etc. (food that’s easily made in bulk). We have some drinks, some laughs, and enormous quantities of food.

    Two weeks ago I had my confirmation, so that Sunday dinner felt like Thanksgiving all over again. I think the final head count was around 25 or 30.

  37. Erin says:

    I normally go out to eat with the singles group rom my parish after the evening Mass – we leave straight from Mass, and invite newcomers to join us. It’s a good way for single people living alone to feel part of a community.

  38. tjtl says:

    Being a university student, I frequently am unable to take meals with friends, owing to differing schedules and whatnot. However, last year I was quite blessed because on Sundays a few of my friends would plan excellent dinners to share. And during the school week, a few others and I each took a day of the week to cook for the others in the group. The majority of the dinner guests were Catholic, so there was often pious conversation or, at the very least, kinship in Christ. It was always great fun, and will be one of the more memorable portions of college.

  39. Daniel Nekic says:

    Unfortunately, my family does not have the Sunday meal. Mum works, and everyone else is always busy.
    However, after youth group of a Sunday night after 6pm Holy Mass, we go to McDonalds to share a …meal… together.
    I don’t know if this could be classified as a “Sunday Meal”, but it does strengthen the bonds of our group.

  40. joe says:

    Short answer: yes.

    It is a family tradition to have A Serious Brunch after the 9am Mass.

    Buttermilk Pancakes (I like Chris Kimball’s — from Cook’s Illustrated — recipe) with for-real maple syrup (Grade A Dark)
    Bacon (Nueske’s…but then again I like my bacon with serious smoke flavor) or homemade sausage
    Fresh squeezed OJ (then again I AM in Florida)
    Scrambled Eggs (speaking of whom, I like Gordon Ramsay’s recipe) with roast tomatoes and mushrooms

    I think that family meals are crucial and post-Mass meals ought to be celebratory.

    But that’s just me, a lower-case-T traditionalist and inveterate foodie.


  41. Lirioroja says:

    My friends and I have Sunday brunch after Mass. We go to a nearby diner or reasonably priced restaurant (we’re in NYC). We’re usually around 6 or 8 people but have been as many as 15 or 18! I’m the only “native” therefore I’m the only one with family in the area. We have great conversations – sometimes edifying, sometimes downright insane, always enjoyable. There have been times we’ve sat and talked for hours, not leaving for home until 5PM! I look forward to this fellowship time all week long.

    Alas, my family has never been big on the communal meals. I should surprise no one that our relationships are strained.

  42. Anna says:

    My family is so fortunate! We have one of the best priests in the world! We frequently dine on Sundays with him. The parish has breakfast together one Sunday a month courtesy the Knights of Columbus. We have Holy Hour on Wednesdays followed by a parish dinner and religious ed for all ages! The parish has truly become a haven of holiness for families since he came here. May God continue to bless Fr. W!

  43. Father Totton says:

    tomorrow being the first Sunday of the month, we will have a potluck after the Latin Mass. This is good for fellowship. Open to all parishioners, so far, only the EF regulars have shown up. I would like to begin offering a dinner for the other priests in town, but so many scatter on Sunday evenings.

  44. I live alone and can’t afford to get out much right now, so I generally just eat alone at home. However, I do get to have lunch with my Lay Dominican community one Sunday each month–I always cherish that greatly!

    I do love cooking, and if I can acquire some decent dining and kitchen furnishings, I would like to start cooking and hosting Sunday dinners for groups of friends and associates, especially those who also live alone and don’t often get to eat with others.

    That would make me so happy!

  45. JaneC says:

    When I lived with my parents, we ate together as a family every Sunday (and most other days as well). When I went to college, I sang with a schola at a Sunday evening Mass, and generally after Mass would go out to dinner with some of the other schola members, or just my then-boyfriend (now husband) who was the organist for the Mass.

    We are now in charge of our own schola, also at a Sunday evening Mass. There is a reception with sandwiches twice a month after that Mass, so we eat and socialize with the ten or twelve other folks, generally young adults, who stay for the reception. We’re a chatty bunch, and often stay two or three hours.

  46. leutgeb says:

    We always had a roast dinner as children. As we all came and went, this turned into showing up for various meals at the weekened. 18 months ago my Grandmother died and we spent the day after her death at my parents and then had fish and chips when my Mother returned from her sister’s. We were remined how much we like all being together and the importance of family and Sunday lunch as a weekly event was reintroduced. It’s the time I laugh the most in the week.

  47. Ruth Maxfield says:

    Our family is truly blessed to be able to share a meal on Sunday which encompasses four generations. My husbands parents are 89 and 90 and join us along with our children, their spouses and the nine grandchildren. So we are 17 around the table most Sundays. Winter does complicate things due to weather and illness but there hardly a Sunday without some portion of the family there. In addition, we are blessed to share a pot luck after High Mass at our church. In good weather it is an amazing experience to watch an ocean of children running and playing while their parents, grandparents and friends visit following the meal. Sunday is a wonderful day which allows all of us to reconnect. Thank God for the blessing!

  48. Jason says:

    My family is not religious, nor even particularly close, but Sunday has always been the “big meal” day, whether at my grandfather’s house or at my mother’s house. We always eat early, by 12. Today we’re having beef stew.

  49. Jason says:

    *And my mother is notorious for cooking too much, but that also strengthened the bonds of society, because she would always bring dinners to other family members.

  50. Rachel says:

    Theodore Dalrymple, writing about social decay in England in his book Life at the Bottom, has a whole chapter about sitting down together at a table to eat a meal together together, how it’s something that broken families of the welfare underclass never do, since it requires more socialization than they possess. He remarks that the simple act of enduring a bit of hunger while you wait for others to be ready for mealtime teaches self-control and selflessness, traits which are utterly lacking in the criminals he treats in his work as a prison psychiatrist.

  51. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Living apart from all my family during graduate studies I don’t have this opportunity. I normally get together with other Catholic students after Mass for brunch, or eat with my flatmates. If not, then I try to make sure I cook my own brunch or a more complicated dinner on Sundays so I can at join my family in spirit and mark the day.

    And being the north of England, black pudding has become a must in any fry-up!

  52. Rose in NE says:

    Our family and extended family meet at a local coffee/bagel shop every Sunday after mass. We usually hang out there for a couple of hours. This is something we’ve done for the past 15 years or so. Some of the “kids” who came when we first started this tradition now have children of their own that they bring. It really helps keeps us all connected.

  53. Willebrord says:

    On Sundays I usually go to a small restaurant near the church with Father and my fellow altar servers (the MC treats Father).

    It has good food (…unique decor, though), and we spend over an hour usually, talking about the Mass that day, about Sacred Liturgy, and other Catholic issues (and politics).

    I’ve gotten a great deal of information from listening to the others at breakfast this way.

  54. PG in CMH says:

    I also am a single person so more often than not I eat alone on Sundays. Sometimes I go out with friends after mass and on a rare occasion someone will host a brunch in his or her home. Eating meals together (weekday dinners as well as Sunday) was part of my upbringing and I am definitely a fan of it and will insist upon it if I am ever blessed with a have a family.

  55. supertradmom says:

    Any single people in my area are welcomed to join our little family for Sunday dinner. We do not eat elaborately, but together and in a spirit of thankfulness.

  56. Immaculatae says:

    If we could include coffee and coversation rather than a whole meal I could say I get to enjoy that frequently.

  57. Calleva says:

    I voted ‘yes’ although these days it’s my husband and me at dinner though when our children are home, we always eat together. We have four children, either still at or just left college. I always cook for the whole family when anyone is home and when the children were younger, we ate round the table together at least once a week. This was because I fed the children at an earlier time and when my husband came home from work I would eat with him so he could discuss his day. It’s also important, IMO, to have family outings and occasions when you all do something together.

  58. Margo says:

    She’d join us, otherwise, but my Mom goes to sit with an elderly lady Sunday evenings. So my Dad picks up whatever meat looks good at our local Kroger’s, fixes it up w/ “Dad’s Secret Ingredients,” grills it — and some potatoes; wouldn’t be a real meal w/o potatoes, to him! — and a veggie. I’m always the Salad Lady :) , and if I have the time or an idea strikes me, the Dessert Lady, too ;) …and we have a mini-feast Sunday evenings. Good stuff!

  59. Rebecca says:

    I’ll echo Anne in that not eating out on a Sunday is a great way to reclaim Sunday as a day set apart. Though eating out is a luxury fit for Sunday as a participant, it encourages a society in which others must work on Sunday – same thing with shopping, going to see movies, etc. I was always appreciative that in growing up, my parents did not eat out on Sundays and we were discouraged from shopping or doing homework as well. I’m now in college and my roommate (also Catholic) and I eat many meals together, especially during the week when we get out of classes or evening Mass at the same time with other friends – it’s a wonderful practice.

  60. We always, always had Sunday lunch and dinners together, but now that I work in a parish music apostolate, I am not home for any Sunday mealtimes. Alas, alack.

  61. P says:

    I am an Italian American and our week revolved around our Sunday meal…the meal that never ended…the meal that went on for hours and hours…the macaroni…the meatballs. I preserve the tradition and try to invite extended family whenever possible. I find more and more Italian Americans trying to return to that tradition having sensed its loss or potential loss.

  62. LeonG says:

    The Sunday meal has always been the most important in our young family with a special treat for the children at the end. More than this, it is also vital that families have a sit down meal together in the evenings or at midday if convenient. This should not be rushed and there should be ample time for children and parents to have a really good chat together. Meal times as a family are wonderful opportunities for socialisation; identity formation and family solidarity. They are among my favourite moments. Woe to the family that neglects this powerful and symbolic communal ritual.

  63. Irenaeus says:

    “There is something about meals together.”

    Think about this: eating is the *second* most intimate thing you can do with another person — and we all know what the first is. When you eat something someone else has made, you’re putting something from them into your very body, trusting them. Similar, then, to sex and to the Eucharist, generic eating is also an act of communion.

  64. crazylikeknoxes says:

    Our parish priest keeps a standing invitation to any family or group in the parish to have dinner with him at the rectory, make that an Italian dinner. It strikes me as a good habit, both for him and the parish.

    My grandmother had the funny idea that only certain foods were appropriate for the Sunday meal. I can’t recall the details, but I believe sausages were out, but chicken was in.

  65. Mitch_WA says:

    I voted yes, even though it is hit and miss for me. I live in the dorms, but I cook for myself. Occasionally I will have Sunday dinner with my fiance (who goes to a different college that is nearby) or with some friends. When I am at home though we have a family dinner at the table every evening with conversation, etc. The times when we do not is rare, although with both me being off at school, and my two younger brothers being busy they are not always home every night for dinner, but as far as I know Sunday dinner is perserved. For us it usually is not all that much different from other family dinners, it takes a bit longer to cook and eat but not by much. If we are going to have a roast, or a big steak dinner, turkey, etc. it would usually be on sunday. Occasionaly I would eat Sunday dinner at a good friends house. Their they had a very large Sunday dinner in the afternoon, their large brunch and large dinner made for a two meal feast of a day. Liked that idea very much.

    What ever form it is, sitting down around a table with a little bit nicer food for a longer meal and conversation is a great tradition.

  66. Flambeaux says:

    We used to, but the demands of meal preparation, child care, and friends who always needed to dine’n’dash led us to cancel the Sunday Brunch.

    No one has proposed reinstituting it, even on an occasional basis.

    I do miss it, but I don’t miss the stress, expense, or resulting resentment all of which prevented my wife and I from enjoying a Day of Rest in any sense of the word.

  67. Flambeaux says:

    The immediate household still eats together, but we rarely have anyone over on Sundays anymore.

  68. plisto says:

    We always eat together after my husband comes from work. That has brought blessings to the family. When our first daughter was a baby/toddler, we seldom ate together on weekdays. After our second was born we read an article in the newspaper that it does good for the children to have dinner with family every day, so we gave a try -it really works!
    Our kids are not exactly very peaceful, but eating together helps them to grow in that dicipline, too.
    On sundays, before we were married &had kids, we often went for a coffee after mass with friends. That was great, too. Now going to cafeterias with everyone having (small) children, is like mental suicide, so maybe later again..;-)

  69. crazylikeknoxes says:

    I also wanted to mention that I was raised in the south, where a Sunday pot luck in the church hall after service was the norm. At least in the Protestant churches. And do we have to talk about food during Lent?

  70. Henry Edwards says:

    We live rather far from immediate family members, so my wife and I take our priest — now almost one of the family — out to dinner about three Sundays per month after EF Mass; great for us, and hopefully for him also. The other Sunday each month he has dinner with the 4th degree K of C.

  71. annieransom says:

    We are a family of 6. We generally eat dinner together every night of the week, no matter how late it may be [sport practices, husband’s work schedule are the usual delaying culprits!].On Thursdays, I take a class, and the children are responsible for getting some sort of pasta dish and a big salad made for dinner with Dad.
    On Friday, we have simple fish or tuna sandwiches and soup, even when it’s not Lent. Saturdays I make pizzas [from scratch!] and we watch a wholesome family movie – this is our favorite night, actually. I have always said I would like to come up with a “standard” Sunday meal – I have not so far. But now that you have asked the question, Father, I am motivated to come up with a plan!
    Thank you, Father Z., for the time and care you devote to maintaining this blog, and for your faithful love and devotion to the Church. annieransom

  72. A Random Friar says:

    I’m a priest in a religious community, and oddly enough, Sunday is the ONE day we don’t have at least one meal together. We get pulled apart that day for Masses, meetings, classes, groups, etc. Sunday’s always been a leftover day.

  73. Rob Cartusciello says:

    When I was living closer to my family, we used to get together for an Italian-American Sunday dinner every week.

    When I was a graduate student in Chicago, we had a nice group of people at St. John Cantius who would go out for brunch together after Mass.

    Recently, my fiancee and I plan our week’s meals, go shopping and make a nice mid-day Sunday meal. Our recent purchase of a dutch oven has enabled some wonderful winter meals (courtesy of Cooks Illustrated).

  74. Barbara Rickman says:

    Sundays are the ONLY day of the week that all of us are at home, at the same time. I ensure that I cook something for everyone to eat so that no one is left unsatisified. There is wine or other adult beverages to drink and a desert that all like.

    It is not easy but it is one way to say HI to everyone and make sure we all know this is still home.

    There are only 3 of us left as it is and that is about to change. I do what I can while I can….

  75. Charivari Rob says:

    A Random Friar – “I’m a priest in a religious community, and oddly enough, Sunday is the ONE day we don’t have at least one meal together. We get pulled apart that day for Masses, meetings, classes, groups, etc. Sunday’s always been a leftover day.”

    Reminds me of my childhood parish – large, busy, several priests in and out… Oddly enough, that was the rectory housekeeper’s day off.

  76. Rachel says:

    I should have said yes. It has always been a tradition in my family to go to a restaurant after church on Sunday. Now that I am married, I try to make always make a meal on Sundays for my husband and I. I also have been experimenting with cooking, making my own sauces, etc. There isn’t any set recipe that I use for Sunday dinner (I made chinese food last night) since I usually make what is in the fridge and needs to be used up.

  77. Ed Francis says:

    No, now, but in childhood there were eleven of us children and my two parents. Every Sunday, we had a sumptuous Italian meal, a feast, really. Weekday meals might get a bit sparse, but Sunday was always an astounding abundance of fine cuisine. Very Traditional Italian household.

    Seems almost mythical, now.

  78. a catechist says:

    Great question! We do eat at least one meal a day together as a family. On Sundays we sometimes go to a local restaurant owned by a Catholic family for some Vietnamese food.

    We find it hard to have others over,’though we like to cook & I used to work in catering. The couples I know who don’t yet have kids who are really trying to spend time together tend to see weekend meals as “couple time”. And friends with kids who’re trying hard to keep family meals on weekends also tend to make it “family time.” In both cases, I respect their motives! But at least among the folks I know, having family time comes at the expense of hospitality.

    I do wish sometimes the after-Mass options were broader. Members of my family have serious food allergies, which put fish fries, doughnuts, and pancake & eggs off the menu for us. I think we’d know more people in our parish if there was Ever something available after Mass that wasn’t made of dairy or egg.

  79. Peggy says:

    If you include just mom, dad and the kids, YES, even on most weeknights as well. The boys are under 10. We do not want this to change as they grow up. Many counselors we’ve met (to work with some special problems our kids have) seem to think this amazing. Sometimes I feed the kids first if mom and dad are having something special or if we have to get the kids to the Y for lessons. It’s not always a great meal, in fact, it rarely is, but we’re there, we’re eating and talking and laughing.

    A lot of family (my parents and siblings) are nearby but they are on the go, with teen and adult kids.

  80. Nicandro says:

    Sorry to seem pedantic, [No problem! That didn’t seem at all pedantic.] but Gordon Ramsay is not English, he is indeed a kilted Scottish chappy. Liturgy 10/10 Geography 1/10 :-) [Did you vote and respond substantively in a description of your Sunday meal?]

  81. lucy says:

    After reading all those posts, I’m feeling really rather blessed. Our family numbers 7, but we try to regularly invite folks over for Saturday evening dinner. We often include the FSSP priests that travel from Gloria’s St. Stephen’s in Sac’to. We so appreciate their extra work of traveling for us, that we want to show them in a gastronomic manner. We also occasionally invite priests from our local area to dine with us. I like nothing more than cooking up a lovely meal to share with friends. Sundays, however, are more for a large breafkast with our immediate family and then visiting the extended family in town in the evening. Great question, Father !! I hope that folks realize we all need to extend our hospitality farther out !! You need not be fancy – love is all that is required.

  82. shana sfo says:

    We try to eat every meal together as a family and it is a rare day that all of us aren’t around the table. All eight kids know dinner time is very important for the family to be together and they do make a good effort to be there.

    On Sundays, if I am able to do it, I like to have a larger, fancier meal than usual, but some Sundays payday is just around the corner and its going to be leftovers, powdered milk with honey for the little ones and hot tea for the bigger ones with gratitude that we have it.

    And sometimes, we pray the table grace in Latin!

  83. Samson says:

    In Sweden we have something called “fika” after Sunday Mass. Its coffé with cookies, cake and what have you. “Fika” is a very big part of out culture.

  84. irishgirl says:

    I live alone, and I’m not seeing my family now [two sisters and a brother-in-law], and so I eat my Sunday dinner alone….usually from a tray on my lap and watching TV.

    When the FSSP priests came to say the EF Mass twice a month-sometimes more-and they didn’t have to leave right away, some of us in the EF Mass group would take them out to a breakfast buffet in a nearby hotel. We had such a nice time with them, talking about all sorts of things! Sadly, they don’t come anymore….sigh….I miss seeing them!

    When my mother was alive, she and I would at times go to my older sister and brother-in-law’s house for dinner. Both were [and still are] great cooks! We’d sit around the table afterwards and talk and laugh; my brother-in-law would say such hilarious things that made me and my twin sister laugh till the tears flowed!

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