by Fr. Bob Hoffman
It is hard to believe that summer break is almost here. How are your plans coming? Mine still need some work. Because of my involvement with the school, I take all my vacation for the year in July. I do expect to be able to visit Sister Philomina in Peabody, MA. Otherwise, my plans are far from settled.
All too often, I encounter people who fail to plan for church as part of their travel plans. Many times, that is what I hear about in the confessional. They failed to make plans to get to church on Sunday while on vacation. It usually boils down to failing to do the easy research to find the nearest Catholic church. And/or failing to be assertive in setting expectations with their extended family that they need time on Sunday (or even Saturday evening) to get to church.
For Catholics, it is an easy two-step process to find a Mass. First, go to www.masstimes.org to find the nearest parish and their likely Mass times. Then, go to the parish website to confirm those Mass times. The website masstimes.org is a user-driven website, so sometimes the information on Mass times is not current. It is worth checking against the parish’s own website.
I am not familiar with other denominations, but I would guess that a simple Internet search would be effective.
The point is that we should not take a vacation from our faith. In fact, our faith can be a highlighted part of our vacation. There is an opportunity to see other churches, some of which have great historic and/or artistic value.
There can also be an opportunity to use some of our vacation to visit a retreat center. Jesus so often went away to a quiet place (or at least attempted to do so) in order to pray. We can take his lead and do so ourselves.
So, make your faith a priority when planning vacation travel.