No one on his death bed ever looked up into the eyes of his family and friends and said, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office."
Even children know that when they're out of school, they can leave school behind. Sure, there might be some summer reading for school, but it's not a 24/7 thing. So...leave the office behind. Turn off the cell, the e-mail, the Blackberry. Go pick real blackberries, or blueberries, or peaches. Look at the faces of your loved ones when they're speaking with you. This is the only summer they'll look like they do. Appreciate them.
Therefore our first tip is: "Leave the office behind when you're on vacation."
Show this tip to any children who are going to summer school.
Sure you can sulk all summer because you have to go to classes during the summer months when all your friends are going to the beach, climbing mountains, traveling to fantastic places -- no wait...they are sleeping late and playing video games and basically having a boring time.
You, on the other hand, can use this time to get ahead...to learn something...to discover things you didn't know before...to be with different school friends.
So instead of sulking and giving your parents or teachers a hard time,
say a little prayer to Jesus and ask that you get to see the blessings of the summer. And do you know what? You WILL see blessings!
Our second tip is: So you have summer school? Get over it!
Summer is filled with really great things...ice cream, watermelon, pools and oceans, etc. But let's face it: someone has to wash the sand out of the bathing suits, clean up the melted ice cream from the kitchen counter, and mow the lawn.
And did you notice it's often the mom (or dad) who gets stuck with all the not-fun stuff?
So WWJD? (that stands for "What Would Jesus Do?") Would he make his mother Mary pick up after him? Would he expect her to do all the hard chores without helping?
So... YOU are a follower of Jesus, right? During the summer do some service:
(a) First at home. Do your own chores and then (here's the loving part), help do someone else's chores.
(b) Then do some service in the community. Maybe your family could do something together.
Join in a community cleanup (at least pick up trash when you see it). Older people can give blood in a blood drive. Do a walkathon to support a good cause. There are things do to at the church (gardening, re-organizing, computer work, food pantry.) Run a food collection drive and bring the food to parish outreach. These are just some ideas.
Our third tip is: Don't just sit there. Do something loving for others, just as Jesus would do.
If you're going to be traveling away from Saint Brigid's this summer,
remember that there is a Catholic parish near where you are vacationing.
The people who are there are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
There might be two problems with going to church on Sundays when you are away:
(a) You might accidentally sit in someone's favorite seat without knowing it.
Sorry, but they'll have to get over it. They should be happy that you're visiting. (Just like WE'RE happy when visitors come to pray with us.)
(b) You might not know where the church is or what time the Mass is.
(Not every parish has eleven Masses in four languages like we do.)
But there is a solution to this challenge.
Go to masstimes.org and put in the place you will be traveling to and you can see the nearest Catholic church and the Mass time(s).
Our fourth tip is: Be sure to keep holy the Lord's Day even when you are travelling.
For 29 years Father Ralph Sommer has been visiting families during the summer months.
We've had great conversations (and delicious desserts.) If you'd like to get a group of friends over and spend some time talking about life, God, the church, families, or even your favorite dessert recipes, let Father Ralph know. In the past he's done Sommer in the Summer with adults, senior citizens, teens, college-age folks...his calendar is ready to go. See available dates here:
And this year as an added bonus, Father Ralph recently returned from a visit to Greece where he went on a pilgrimage following the footsteps of St. Paul. He made a DVD of the experience which he'd be willing to show as part of the time together.
Tip five is: Invite your pastor (or any of the other priests) over for a visit.
Someone once asked why some people object when other people dress in beach clothes when they come to church. "Shouldn't they be glad that they're there?"
Yes. Absolutely. Come to church. You are more important than clothes.(Although we DO want you to wear clothes!)
"What's the big deal about what you wear to church?"
So it was suggested that the church-goers wear their "church clothes" to Mass and then wear those same clothes to the beach. "Are you kidding? It would be so out of place to wear 'Sunday Mass' clothes to the beach. Oh wait.....I get it!"
If "Sunday clothes" don't "fit" at the beach, consider what to wear for church.
Or better yet, watch this video...
Last summer Pope Benedict XVI suggested packing a Bible along for when you go on vacation. He said “Why not discover some books of the Bible, which are normally unknown? Or of which we have maybe heard some passages during the liturgy, but we never read in its entirety? In fact, many Christians have never read the Bible, and have a very limited and superficial knowledge of it.”
From the Old Testament he suggested some of the shorter books which “can be read through in one hour.” These include, he said, the Book of Tobit “a story that contains a very high sense of family and marriage”; the Book of Esther “in which the Jewish Queen, with faith and prayer, saves her people from extermination”; and the Book of Ruth, “a foreigner who knows God and experiences His providence.”
As for the New Testament, why not read the Acts of the Apostles?
The seventh tip: Pack a Bible. Pick up a Bible. Read a few books in the Bible.
There are some extra bills your family will need to pay during vacation. (It's not free to get in to see the mouse!!) Ice cream is good -- but not free. There are tolls and tickets...well you get the idea. When people are away supporting the economy elsewhere, they sometimes forget that St. Brigid's is still serving families, celebrating sacraments, burying those who have died, feeding the hungry, paying for air conditioning, oh the list goes on and on.
Why do we mention this? Because this tip is about supporting your parish who is doing the work of Jesus even when lots of people are away. And if it's not convenient to come back to Westbury every Sunday, did you know there's a way to send your contribution electronically? We do banking online. Shopping online. Contribute to other charities online. Maybe it's time to sign up for Faith Direct and support the parish through this online service. (If you've never heard of Faith Direct, check out the video we made.)
LOTS of families have used Faith Direct to pay for their children's enrollment in our Religious Ed Program. They can use that same account to support the work of the parish.