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Take God with You on Vacation

cross“It’s summertime,” says the Gershwin song, “and the livin’ is easy.’’
It isn’t easy for everyone, but it is true that for many people summer means a slower pace, fewer responsibilities, a little extra leisure time, less confinement indoors, more recreation.
It’s also an excellent time to refresh our practice of our Catholic faith.
For example, summer travel presents us with the opportunity to experience the expansiveness and diversity of the Body of Christ by worshiping with unfamiliar people in unfamiliar churches.
Travelers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and several other destinations can find the nearest Catholic parish and times of Masses by consulting
For those who are not accustomed to attending the earliest Mass on the schedule, summer with its early sunrise and cool mornings may the perfect opportunity to try it.
But doing a little on-line research, travelers can also include in their plans a visit, a sort of pilgrimage, to a significant religious site, such as the shrine of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré in Quebec or the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
The summer weather in itself is an invitation to widen the borders of our prayer life. The ocean, the lake, the mountains, the profusion of trees and flowers, the birds and even the insects provide us with occasions to be acutely aware of the imminent presence of the Creator and to give thanks for all that God has provided.
Just a few feet outside our own back doors – with telephones, televisions, electronic games, and mundane chores left behind – there can be just the right environment to pray, to read and respond to Scripture, perhaps to introduce something new to our prayer lives such as The Liturgy of the Hours or Lectio Divina.
Summer is a also a good time to be more proactive in translating our faith into action, particularly with regard to those who are in need and whose cares are not lightened by the season.
For example, the response to campaigns to provide food for the hungry is much more intense around Thanksgiving and Christmas than it is during the summer.
Donating to food pantries and helping them solicit donations from other individuals and businesses — perhaps by organizing a food drive in our parishes — would be valuable summer ministry.
Summer also offers its own opportunities for the fellowship that has been an important part of Christian life since the beginning of the Church.
Organizing an outdoor social event such a cookout and inviting even some neighbors we haven’t met can help build a spirit of mutual acceptance and support in the community.
The restful aspects of summer are important to our minds and bodies, but there are many ways in which the season can also contribute to new vitality in our faith.
Charles Paolino is a member of the RENEW staff and a permanent Deacon in the Diocese of Metuchen.

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One Response to “Take God with You on Vacation”

  1. Honora says:

    great blog and wonderful ideas for parents to use with kids who often are intrigued with insects, don’t often notice. The differences in birds etc. great way to talk about diversity in all living beings. Thanks

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