This month of June marks the beginning of summer vacations. It also marks the time for me to remind us all not to take a vacation from our faith. Many of us will be traveling to some wonderful and sometimes remote places. God’s earth is a cathedral of sorts which proclaims his glory. I, too, will take my annual trip to the Oregon Star Party in August. I want to encourage you to make good plans. We’ve all forgotten something from underwear, to towels, to specific foods, to even important medications. This causes stress for what should be a time of relaxation and recreation. But, let us not forget our faith.
First, before you leave, check our website (stannegp.com) which has always had a place on the left of the page to find churches near your destination and between as well as their Mass times. Just type in the name of the city or zip code, and you will be given several options for Mass. Write down or print out that information and take it with you. Of course, if you have a smart phone, you can do this on the fly. This is where technology is awesome! As a child, a great lesson my parents taught me was that camping was optional, Mass was not. Although it was a real sacrifice to drive back into town from a remote location while camping, my parents did it. At the time, I wish they would have not taken out my Sunday play time on the beach, lake, forest, etc. But, it did instill in me the importance and sacredness of our faith and, in particular, the Mass. I am very grateful today for their example. As a young adult and now adult, I found that going to Mass in a foreign place brought me home no matter where I was. The Mass was, essentially, the same everywhere I went. It brought me peace and a sense of groundedness amidst the strange and unfamiliar sites of my vacations.
Another way not to forget one’s faith while on vacation is to continue one's financial commitment to the home parish. Every parish experiences serious financial dips during the summer due to people not making their offering, because of vacations. Yet, we all have to pay our bills. Some of our bills are lower and others are higher simply due to the season.
must, of course, continue to pay our employees who minister all year around. There are several ways to be faithful to one’s commitment. I’ll list them from less ideal to the most ideal way.
Make up what wasn’t offered upon return from vacation.
Offer one’s giving prior to leaving which includes the time away.
Set up an automatic electronic payment system using what is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH). This, by the way, is the most secure way to give to the church.
The ACH method is very flexible, timely, and secure.
All we need is a voided check and your signature for permission to make the funds transfer. Using ACH is very secure, for it does not create a check which could be intercepted in the mail or somehow mishandled in a myriad of ways, but rather makes a direct exchange from one bank to another bank. Any parishioner can determine if they want their offering to happen on a weekly or monthly basis. One can change their giving amount and or cancel the process at any time with a simple phone call to our business manager, Stephen Voehl. I use this method, and it gives me satisfaction and peace to know that I am giving what I promised and it happens automatically, especially when I am on vacation.
So, please enjoy your vacations! We all need to take a break and to rest. It is part of living out God’s commandments to rest. Within that rest, we are to keep our lives focused on God. So, please do not miss Mass. As much as is possible, arrange your vacations to seek out the beauty and uniqueness of other Catholic parishes. They will inspire you either in what those communities do or in what we do. Either way it is a win- win. Regarding keeping your financial commitment, seek out Stephen Voehl or me for more information about ACH. Finally, may God be with you on your travels. May he guard and guide you with his angels. May your summer vacations be full of life, love, and adventure!