Do you remember those beginning of the school year essay requests: “What did you do on your summer vacation?” I can imagine the opening paragraphs. Some families have memorable summer vacations, spending time with grandparents on a cruise, traveling to Hawaii, Europe or even exotic destinations like Fiji, Antarctica or remote destinations. In my youth, summer vacation days for us were often spent at the NCO club pool with my brothers and sister, soaking up the sun and swimming, learning to dive off the diving board, and going to the base library to find an interesting book title. It was a time to read and explore books. Every other year summer also meant a drive from California to Missouri in a car without air conditioning to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for two to three weeks. I mean how much trouble could you get into living on a farm?
Today, planes transport people from city to city, country to country, crossing international borders and time zones, going to just about every corner of the globe. It is possible for families to visit places only previously seen on documentaries. One of the challenges these summer days, whether traveling far and wide or simply staying within the Bay Area, on the West Coast or within the state is to plan when and where to gather for Eucharist on Sunday. There is a website CatholicMassTimes.org where you can easily look up Mass Times for almost any location. It takes some planning, some preparation, looking carefully at itineraries and schedules but it is possible to celebrate our Baptismal faith by joining a faith community where you are and follow the Gospel story as it unfolds over these months before school resumes later in August.
On our cross country road trips, Dad always found the local Catholic church where we would attend the first Sunday morning Mass and then continue on our journey. When I used to spend a week of vacation with my sister and brother-in-law at Lair of the Bear, on Sunday morning we drove into Strawberry and enjoyed Mass by Pinecrest Lake; an outdoor Mass in the park amphitheater, watching people pass by going to the lakeshore or picnic areas. It was definitely a unique experience.
As you travel about this summer, take time to celebrate our faith, join with others in song and prayer, bless your vacation time with the loving presence of our generous God. And while you are away, please don’t forget your home parish, Saint Anthony and financially support the ministries that continue in your absence.
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel, Pastor