July 11, 2014


Make time to get away—and also pray—this summer

If you’re like most people, you’ve been going nonstop since the alarm went off this morning.

While you mentally prepare yourself for the day that awaits, you map out all that needs to done. Or should have been done, days—or weeks—ago.

The kids are most likely out of school for the summer, and they are in your capable hands until school gets back in session, probably in mid-August.

Your checklist at work comes to mind, too. So do umpteen other things that you believe require your attention.

In your midst of planning, did you pencil in time for a summer vacation?

Recent popes like St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI made sure to spend a portion of the hot Roman summer at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo for vacation. Pope Francis, though he has continued to reside at the Vatican guesthouse, has curtailed his summer schedule, too.

Through the centuries, many of our universal shepherds have encouraged us to make time for vacations, and though it would not be a sin to bypass their wise advice, time away from the daily grind of work should be a part of our lives—if not during the summer, then sometime during the calendar year.

Pope Benedict XVI put an emphasis on the value of time off, which he said should be for recreation for the heart, the spirit and the mind.

St. John Paul II spoke of its importance, too, noting that during vacations we are invited to become aware of the fact that work is a means and not the end of life. It can also open us more to silence and prayer.

“Man, freed from the pressing tasks of daily life, has the opportunity to rediscover his own contemplative dimension, recognizing God’s imprints in nature and especially in other human beings,” St. John Paul II said during an Angelus address in July of 1996. “This is an experience that opens him to a renewed attention to people who live near him, beginning with his family.”

Getting away from work can indeed give you the opportunity to spend more time with family, visit places that may have been on your travel list for years, and recharge and re-energize all aspects of your life, including your life of faith, as St. John Paul II noted.

Wherever you travel, parishes and Mass times are surely only a phone call—or website—away. If you’ve got access to a computer, visit www.masstimes.org to conduct an online search for parish Mass times across the U.S.

Worshipping in churches that are new to us offers the opportunity to spend time with our brothers and sisters in Christ across the U.S.—and around the world—and witness how they live out our faith and, just as importantly, to learn about the challenges they face as a Church community.

A recent vacation visit to an East Coast parish included a heartfelt note in the pastor’s weekly bulletin message asking parishioners to continue praying for vocations. The reason? Because the diocese where they reside had no priestly ordinations this year, and it has none slated for next year as well.

As disciples of Christ, we can now pray for that diocese, along with continuing to pray for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our archdiocese, too.

And we know, whichever parish communities God leads us to on our journey of faith, we are always welcome.

—Mike Krokos

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