by Anne Metz
Are you a family that attends Mass while on vacation? If not, let this be the year it becomes a family tradition. There are so many reasons to attend church while you are away. It might seem like an inconvenience, but the benefits will far outweigh any negatives. Here are just a few reasons why you should go to Mass while you are away.
Because You Can
The word "Catholic" actually means "universal," and nowhere is that better seen than with the Sunday Mass. Throughout the entire world, Roman Catholics celebrate the exact same Mass - the same introductory rite, the same readings, the same sign of peace, the same Eucharistic Prayer, the same everything.
You could go to Mass in a country where you do not speak the language and you would be able to keep up. What an excellent way to teach your kids about the universality of the Catholic Church! So whether you vacation an hour away or a country away, be sure to attend Mass wherever you are, because you can!
Because You Can Learn About a New Saint
Visiting a new church is a great opportunity to learn about a new Saint or Marian devotion. On our last family vacation, we attended Mass at a church named for St. Francis de Sales. Since my college was named for the same saint, I was able to share some information about St. Francis de Sales. We spent some time in front of the statue of St. Francis and we even got a picture in front of the church sign. I doubt we would have had such an organic opportunity to learn about a new Saint had we skipped Mass.
Because it’s Important
Sunday Mass is an obligation. Going on vacation does not exempt you from that obligation. Growing up, my parents made a point of finding a Catholic church close to our destination and took us to Sunday Mass. Honestly, I don’t remember any of those sermons and I can’t say I learned anything in particular from those Masses.
But, what I did learn was this: Mass is so important that you go no matter what, no matter where you are. That was hugely impactful on my perception of faith and religion as a child. Give that gift to your children by finding a Catholic church on your vacation this year.
Because the Eucharist is There
The Eucharist is our spiritual food. It nourishes us and gives us the strength, patience, and graces we need for the upcoming week. When we think of vacation, we think of fun and relaxation, but in reality, traveling with young children can be challenging. Children are out of their normal routine, in a different environment, and possibly overstimulated with new and exciting activities and adventures. This can lead to melt-downs and frustration for all family members. So during vacation week especially, make sure you are getting something to sustain you through all the moments of your trip, both the joyful and the difficult.
Yes, we are obligated to attend Mass on Sunday even when we are on vacation, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Make finding a church to visit, learning about the universal Catholic Church, and discovering a new Saint part of your yearly family getaway. Planning a staycation this year? Why not visit some local parishes and attend Mass there to get some of the same benefits? Perhaps you can even visit a new parish each Sunday during the summer. Either way, attending Mass on Sunday, no matter where you are, will strengthen your family bond and your relationship with God.
When she’s not writing about faith, Anne Metz works for Growing Catholics, whose mission is to bring Scripture to all, especially tweens and teens.