Many people take vacations in the summer, or send their children to church or band camps. Those who play football often begin practices during the summer to get ready for the fall season. Here are some things to think about now that summer has come upon us.
- When going on vacation, don’t take a vacation from church. Make sure you go to church as a family to receive the sacraments. A vacation without receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist is no vacation at all. Call the church you will attend ahead of time to speak with the parish priest. Inform him that you are members in good standing of your parish and that you have your priest’s blessing to receive Communion. Then ask for his blessing for the same. This promotes good order and mutual respect.
- Talk with your children in the car about what it means to “get away from it all.” What are the different kinds of rest we seek in life? What kind of rest does Jesus Christ offer when He says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)?” Vacations offer us a time for physical and mental rest. But what rest does Jesus offer us that vacations can’t offer?
- If your church offers an activity that allows for parish families to go camping for the weekend, take advantage of it with your children. So many church activities focus on youth ministry or childrens’ camping programs. As good as these things are, how do they help to build up family life? Family camp weekends are a wonderful way to minister to our children in the context of the family being together. Don’t underestimate the importance of this in an age in which it is hard for families to do things together.
- Don’t forget grandparents during the summer. Visit them, take them out for dinner. Do this as a family.
- Finally have your children spend time with their godparents. How about a movie and a meal? How about a ball game and a meal? The meal is important in that it allows for conversation. Movies only make sense if you have time to talk about them afterward.
So, with this I wish everyone a blessed and restful summer. I will be visiting three camps in July:
- Chicago Deanery Camp, East Troy, WI, July 1 to 3.
- Saint Vladimir’s Camp, Farmdale, OH, Second Session, July 9 to 11.
- Saint John’s Camp, Rivervale, IN, July 16 to 18.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,
The unworthy +Paul