Published June 1, 2006
As a kid I can remember with sheer delight the last day of school, as I am sure that most of you can remember as well. The summer vacation time was a longed-for moment that always seemed to pass more quickly than any child could imagine. Those three months can pass as quickly as the Psalmist wrote, “a thousand years in your sight are like a night watch come and gone!” Nevertheless there is great delight among our youngsters as they begin this summer time of vacation. I celebrated that youthful joy last week at the closing Mass for Our Lady of the Assumption School. There was electricity in the assembly as our kids realized that the school year had finally come to an end. Some of the adults in attendance were more subdued in their delight—but we all prayed for a safe and happy vacation time for all of our young people and their families.
Parents often may be perplexed at how will they possibly fill their kids’ hours of free time during the summer. I am sure that there are all types of projects that have been planned from summer camps, vacations, and visits to grandparents, sports leagues, and sleepovers. I hope that summer will also allow every child to spend more time with his or her parents. As grandparents will readily attest, these summers will pass quickly as children swiftly enter young adulthood. The summer vacation time is an important opportunity for family life because it offers more occasions just to be together.
I am sure that there may be moments when the challenges of helping youngsters find things to do during those long summer weeks will tax even the most devoted parent. The simple act and grace of being with your children holds residual benefits that may not be discovered for years to come—but they are treasures to be sure.
As the pastor of this local Church, I hope that among the principal activities that parents will share with their children is the all-important Sunday Mass time. It’s often difficult, I am certain, to find the schedule for Masses in a strange town or at a vacation spot, but there is a profound lesson to be taught as parents remind their children that attendance at Sunday Mass is not something that belongs just to the school year, but to all time. Kids need to have their tender faith nurtured during the summer time as perhaps an even more valuable lesson in their Catholicism than during the school year.
Just as parents plan for other activities for the summer, I pray that they plan to be with their children at Eucharist each Sunday. The lesson that such devotion will teach is that God is as much a part of family life as all the other activities that seem so important.
May all of the youngsters in North Georgia enjoy a safe, happy, and blessed summertime. May all of our families deepen their love for one another through the many happy moments that they will spend together.