We’re now in the middle of the summer vacation season, and one of the great things about being Catholic is that no matter where you go on vacation, you can attend Mass. What’s that? You don’t go to Mass on vacation? Really? Oh, that’s not good. Vacation is an opportunity to get away from work for a while, but you’re not supposed to get away from Church for a while, too. I think we need to have a little private talk afterward.
Well, for the rest of us who DO attend Mass on vacation, it’s interesting that regardless of where we are, the Mass is the same. It really reminds us that our Church is indeed Universal. The basic structure of the Mass doesn’t change from region to region, or from country to country. The Mass is the same whether you are visiting a vacation spot in the U.S., such as Miami, San Francisco, or New York; or whether you are visiting a foreign culture, such as Miami, San Francisco, or New York.
About a decade ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to travel to Austria. No, not the place with the kangaroos; I mean the place in Europe, with Vienna, and Mozart, and where everybody speaks German, except for the shop owners in the tourist areas who speak perfect English and can instantly covert dollars to euros in their heads, and can, for example, convince a naïve bumpkin from Connecticut that paying 50 euros for a commemorative “Sound of Music” coffee mug is a real bargain. Even though Julie Andrews’ face is kind of faded now, I still use that mug.
When we went to Mass in Vienna, we recognized all the parts of the Mass, even though everything was in German. The sound system was lousy, so even if we knew German we probably still would not have understood everything—and this made us feel even more at home.
By the way, any chance we can have a few second collections in our parishes dedicated to purchasing 21st century sound systems? Just sayin’.
There is really no excuse for not going to Mass while on vacation. Of course, there’s no excuse for not going to Mass when we’re home either, but that doesn’t stop many Catholics from coming up with very creative excuses. The most common excuse for not going to Mass while on vacation is: “I don’t know where a church is, or when the Mass times are.” Actually, the most common excuse is: “Oh, my head! How many Piña Coladas did I have last night?”
But nowadays we can’t use the ol’ excuse, “I don’t know what time Mass is!” There are websites that can instantly tell us the church locations and the Mass times. One website is called simply, Masstimes.org. You just type in the city and state, or the zip code, and it lists all the Catholic churches in the area and the Mass times. It even tells you what language will be used. Although the website does not describe the quality of the sound system.
So, during your summer vacation this year, take time to relax and get away from the stress of work for a while. But don’t get away from God. Make sure you go to Mass. You’ll have a chance to be in Communion with the Creator of the Universe. You’ll also be able to thank Him for the blessing of being able to go on vacation in the first place all. You know, a lot of people can’t afford that luxury. And going to Mass still will be worthwhile even if the sound system is lousy.