On the road again
Many families hit the road during spring break and whatever the destination, there’s bound to be a bit of time in the car that needs filling. Along with the usual snacks, games, movies and other entertainment, slip a little faith focus into the mix.
- Start the trip with a prayer for safe travels.
- Sing some favorite hymns. Ask if you can borrow a hymnal from church. (Be sure to return it!)
- Pray a Rosary together when tempers get short.
- Listen to the local Catholic radio station as you pass through an area.
- Play “spot the Catholic church” as you enter a town.
- List all the towns you pass through with Catholic names, such as St. Paul, San Jose.
- Remember to say grace before meals and evening prayers before bed.
Oh, the sights we’ll see
When you are on vacation, don’t just limit yourself to the amusement park or the campground. Before you leave, check out the locations of nearby shrines, churches, cathedrals or other holy sites and add one or more to your itinerary. You can find a state by state listing at catholicplaces.org. (A church can be a cool, quiet spot for a break in a hectic schedule!)
Don’t forget to go to Mass
You can find Mass times anywhere in the world at masstimes.org.
Make it a pilgrimage
If you are really into it, you might combine your vacation with a pilgrimage. While we think of pilgrimages as something you do in Rome or the Holy Land, a pilgrimage is simply a planned visit to a holy heritage site. Throughout the United States, you can find places where saints lived and died, places with relics, sites of miracles, famous churches and statues. The bishops list American sites of Catholic heritage at usccb.org. You might even plan your entire vacation as a pilgrimage, such as visiting several of the California missions. Often museums and archaeological exhibits are featured at heritage sites so your kids won’t feel like they have to spend all their vacation in church.
The splendors of creation
Whether you travel to an exotic location or use spring break to “staycation,” look for and appreciate the glories of God’s creation. You can begin by reading aloud the creation story in Genesis 1:1-31. This can easily lead into a conversation of all the things that God has created: water, land, plants, fruits, sun, moon, stars, fish, birds, wild animals, domestic animals, etc.
Prayer for safe travel
A good prayer before beginning a trip is the St. Patrick Breastplate. Though the prayer is somewhat long, the opening several lines (see below) are appropriate when starting a new day and heading into new adventures.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me.
God’s host to save me.