Late January finds many of us returning to work while hoping to keep the sense of peace we regained over the Christmas and New Year break. But remember that we have every Sunday built-in to our Catholic culture as a day of rest and recreation.
How are Sydney’s young Catholics making Sundays a day to enjoy and spread our good cheer after going to Mass?
I know many opt to relax at home or go to the pub to chill (pun intended) in the air-con. I’m sure others prefer to go straight from the final benediction to a beach-and-barbie combo. Here are some ideas for a quintessentially Catholic summer’s Sunday in Sydney.
St Mary’s Cathedral: There are plenty of post-Mass options within walking distance of the mother church of our archdiocese. After attending the 10.30am Mass on a Sunday, or the 12.15pm Latin low Mass, you’ll likely want a bite to eat. That’s where the East Sydney Hotel in Woolloomooloo comes in.
Whether you’re down for its Philly cheesesteak sandwich, a beef burger with blue cheese, or willing to take a gamble on the fried egg with capers and anchovies parmigiana, this is the place for you. And while you’re at it, the Royal Botanic Gardens are just down the road for a lazy afternoon stroll. All this for just two kilometres of walking. A very easy day with something for everyone—and right in the middle of the city, too.
St Patrick’s Bondi: Turning our eyes eastwards, we find St Patrick’s Bondi at the very heart of the iconic beach. Attend the 10am Mass at St Patrick’s followed by a generous morning tea provided by the parish, then spend the afternoon down by the water enjoying the company of friends while avoiding too much sunburn.
Afterwards, you can always check out the Bondi Icebergs bistro with its beach views. Burgers, parmigiana, pork ribs glazed with maple, bourbon, and cola? Yes, please. And all this is within two kilometres of the parish. Alternatively, if coastal walks are your cup of tea, there’s the Bondi-to-Coogee walk. Plenty of options by the sea!
St Augustine’s Balmain: This is a beautiful church within the historic Balmain precinct and is surrounded by many lunch options if you choose to go to the 9am Mass, including the London Hotel just across the block. You could spend the day in one of the peninsula’s great parks or take the hourly ferry from Balmain wharf to Cockatoo Island for an afternoon of sightseeing.
Bushwalks: Provided it’s not a stinking hot day, why not try out one of greater Sydney’s bushwalking tracks after Mass? Lane Cove, Ku-ring-gai Chase, and other royal national parks all offer fantastic tracks with stunning views. Some of them even open access to barbecue facilities and beaches—why not throw some these ideas together? Just be sure to take plenty of water with you to stay hydrated.
Open your place: Introverted and can’t stand the idea of going out to socialise again? Have some friends around on your own turf for a board games afternoon, order some pizza or fire up the barbecue. It’s a great way to help yourself and your mates to quietly recharge for all the activity of the week ahead.
The culture of keeping Sundays for the Lord and enjoying a day of rest is one we must dearly hold on to. Don’t just respond to the “ite missa est” (“Mass is ended, go in peace…”)—live it.