May 25, 2007


Spend the summer in God’s country

(Listen to this editorial being read)

God’s country.

Hear those two words, and they evoke different images to different people.

In fact, a random survey of 100 individuals could very well draw 100 different responses when you ask them what place or area comes to mind when they hear the phrase “God’s country.”

  • The Holy Land.
  • Rome and Assisi, Italy.
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia.
  • Wyoming.
  • Montana.
  • Colorado.
  • Indiana.


Yes, Indiana.

For many residents and visitors here, there are umpteen reasons for our fair state to be dubbed “God’s country.”

We, of course, now have St. Theodora Guérin, our own canonized saint. The foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods’ remains can be venerated at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at the motherhouse off Highway 150 west of Terre Haute.

There’s the Shrine of Monte Cassino, a beautiful chapel in the woods near St. Meinrad, and so much more in our state. We can fill this space—and then some—to share our litany of what we think qualifies Indiana as “God’s country.”

With apologies to William Shakespeare, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford or whoever coined the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” we realize that humankind will probably never reach consensus where the label “God’s country” is concerned.

To be fair, how can one visit the Holy Land, Rome or Assisi, or even Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia, and not believe our Creator’s hand was at work in the masterpieces each one of those regions represent?

Span the globe, and the same can be said for Quito, Ecuador; Sydney, Australia; Highlands, N.C., and everywhere in between.

God was at work in all this, and our Creator brought so much beauty to all corners of the world that it would take years to see it in person.

Of course, that’s next to impossible for most of us, but there’s nothing wrong with formulating a Plan B. And in this age of ever-increasing gas prices, a Plan C may even be necessary.

Still, The Criterion’s annual Vacation/Travel Supplement included in our special pullout B section this week offers a list of potential travel destinations that our staff feels is worth a look or two—if you and your family have the time, energy and finances.

While Rome, Assisi or the Holy Land may not be realistic travel destinations this summer, you can stay stateside and visit our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., take in the special flavor and history of Philadelphia or go west and see Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and so much more.

Of course, as we said, there are plenty of reasons to stay here as well. You can “do the dunes” in Indiana and enjoy the beaches on Lake Michigan’s eastern shoreline or spend a day enjoying Turkey Run State Park’s 2,382 acres west of Indianapolis.

Summer in Indiana wouldn’t be complete without our parish festivals, and there are plenty to choose from again this year. They began in the archdiocese last weekend with a parish festival at St. Joseph Parish in Shelbyville, and end on Oct. 21 with the parish festival at St. Isidore the Farmer Parish in Bristow. The complete list is included on pages 3B-4B.

God’s country is waiting for you this summer. Yes, here in Indiana, and at destinations north, south, east and west of us.

Get out and see his creation. No matter where the Spirit leads, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

— Mike Krokos

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