June 24, 2011


Don’t forget Sunday Mass and growing in your life of faith while on vacation

With an assist to rocker Alice Cooper, we can officially say for most students that “school’s out for summer.”

July is right around the corner, and many families are gearing up for summer vacation.

Though the challenging economic times will prevent some people from getting away this year, those who do leave town for an extended period of time will no doubt be adjusting their routines.

With that in mind, we pose this simple question for all travelers: Will Sunday Mass and growing in your life of faith be a part of your time away?

During an Angelus address last July while on vacation in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Pope Benedict XVI said that getting away from home should not translate into getting away from your faith. In fact, he said that we should use our summer vacation to spend time on the essentials in life—including God.

The pope said it is important that people “rest from our daily labors so that we may give time to the one thing that is truly necessary in our lives—listening to the word of God in attentive stillness.”

People need to work and dedicate themselves to their family, home and profession, but God must still come first, the Holy Father said.

God is that “inner light of love and truth” that gives every action meaning, value and joy, he said.

Parish priests have been known to provide gentle reminders to their congregation that the commandment to keep the Lord’s day holy is not a suggestion or option but a solemn obligation.

That holds true while we are on vacation.

Legitimate reasons to miss Sunday Mass include illness or disability, a natural disaster or the absence of a priest.

In a Catholic News Service article, Msgr. Anthony Sherman, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, said he never heard of a dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation simply because of travel or vacation.

Father Michael Van Sloun, pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Anoka, Minn., took it a step further by explaining that regular Sunday worship dates back to the early Church when Christians gathered to study the teachings of the Apostles and break bread.

“If there were ever a time that God deserves extra thanks, it would be vacation time,” he said, adding that it “is a huge blessing to be able to take time off, to have the resources to travel, to have the wherewithal to enjoy a cabin or RV or lake home, to be blessed with the beauty of the lakes and the forests, and to have the leisure time to spend with family and friends.”

Those of us traveling this summer will take the time to plan our trips. Why not make sure that Sunday Mass and growing in our lives of faith are part of the itinerary?

Use the Internet—log on to www.masstimes.org—to find Mass schedules, church addresses and interactive map locations of more than 115,000 churches in 201 countries around the world, including throughout the United States.

Or use an Internet search engine like Google to help find parishes near your vacation destinations.

Time away from home, the pope noted, should leave people “truly refreshed in body and spirit so that you may return with renewed vigor to the responsibilities of your daily lives.”

We must never forget those daily responsibilities, including growing in our lives of faith—whether it be in Indiana or wherever our travels take us.

—Mike Krokos

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