Simply making it to a Sunday Mass while on the road can be a challenge for families. Kids (and adults) are tired and it seems easier to just stay home. That’s what the traveler’s dispensation is for, right?! Wrong!
Being away from home doesn’t have to mean a break in your family’s faith life. Here are three ways that you can keep the faith on the road.
1. Check for local shrines or unique churches
Visiting area shrines and churches is a way for your family to experience both the diversity and constancy of the Catholic faith. Art and architecture provide unique expressions of common experiences. All Catholic churches display the Stations of the Cross, but each churches’ stations are unique.
If you are traveling by vehicle, shrines make a good rest stop! On a trip to Georgia a few years back, we discovered the National Shrine of Our Lady of Snows in Illinois. It has an amazing playground that gave the kids a chance to stretch their legs in the middle of a long car ride! On a recent trip to Chicago, we made a self-guided family tour of the churches in the book 7 Riddles to Nowhere, by A. J. Cattapan.
During Mass in a new place, one trick we have used is to pick something such as the stations, the tabernacle, the music, or even the confessionals and challenge our younger kids to find it and make quiet observations. They have something to think about during Mass that helps them stay quiet but focused, and we all have something to talk about later in the car!
By the way, you can easily find the nearest place with Mass at Masstimes.org, which will automatically detect your location and generate a list of nearby Catholic churches and Mass times. No more excuses!
2. Pray before meals (and throughout the day)
Sometimes keeping the faith on the road is as easy (or hard!) as remembering to pray before meals. It can be easy to let our daily rhythms of prayer find themselves left behind at home. If your family isn’t quite ready to pray aloud together at restaurants, a simple sign of the cross and silent blessing will do the trick. It keeps your prayer life going and sets an example for others who may have left their prayers behind too!
3. Street evangelization
Take your faith to the streets. I’m not just talking about standing on a street corner preaching the Gospel, although don’t get me wrong—that would be great too! In addition to daily prayers and common worship there are many little ways that you can bring your faith on vacation and share it at the same time. Keep some sidewalk chalk with you and draw your evening rosary. Got a t-shirt from a recent week at camp or pro-life event? Wear it!
On a recent trip, while waiting for her dad to be finished with a class, my nine-year-old grabbed a piece of charcoal at the park and drew one of the statues she saw in a church we had visited earlier that day. In our case, it was an impromptu activity, but it would also make an effective processing activity after sitting still and being quiet in church.
Source: Heidi Indahl, The Intentional Family
How does your family keep & share the faith on the road? Leave us a note here or on social media and share your ideas!