Welcome back from vacation, everyone. Welcome back from summer. I felt called over the long weekend to comment on vacations, and how we take them. I noticed that, during the summer, my parish NEVER made its weekly collection budget. At the same time, many Catholic charities are, understandably, in summer doldrums. (Make no mistake, I understand the economy and jobless figures very well)
So let me ask you, dear reader: When you go on vacation, do you go on vacation from God, too? When you make plans to go on vacation, do you take care of your parish while you’re gone? Do you give sacrificially every week, or only the weeks you’re actually sitting in the pews? Do you even go to Mass while you’re on vacation? Do you make any special effort to thank God that you can even have a vacation?
This year, we forewent our typical vacation and visited my mother in Atlanta. We flew in on Saturday, and knowing she wanted us to go with her to her (Baptist) church on Sunday, we made sure to go to Mass on Saturday evening. Last year, we were leaving Manila airport on Sunday morning, which required leaving at 4am to catch our flight. I was concerned about not being able to attend Mass because of all that, but we ended up making the last Mass at the Santo Nino Shrine in Cebu. I’m not really tooting my own horn here-I’m only doing what our Lord asked us to do, and trying to offer ways to keep us in step with God. My point is to encourage you not to go on vacation from our Lord. And in the same vein, to remember your home parish even when you’re not sitting in the pew at your home parish. And, by the way, do you put at least a couple of dollars in the basket at the church you’re attending if it’s not your home parish? Remember, lights, AC or fans, printing the bulletin, the flowers, the bread and wine all cost money, and every church can always use a few extra $$$. Also, when you’re planning your cruise or tour, be cognizant, at least, of the logistics, and find out if there’s any way you can attend Mass. Church services on a cruise ship don’t count, really. Make the effort, you’ll be rewarded somewhere down the road.
Another thing to remember is that God does not take a vacation from us. So remember to act like it. I see commercials about “What happens in ______ stays in _______”, but does it really? If you act a fool on that cruise or tropical island, is it something you might need to confess later?
Remember to always spend some time working on your spiritual life. Every day, if possible.
Don’t forget your parish when you go away. You’re partly responsible for the ongoing expenses of your home.
Don’t forget your obligation to go to Mass, even on vacation. There’s a church not far from Disney World (or wherever you’re vacationing), and you don’t gain that much advantage getting to the park so early.