Franciscan Spirit Blog

Faith on Vacation

chapel on the beach | Pedro de Sousa via Unsplash

Several years ago my husband, Mark, and I took our daughter, Madison, on vacation to Mackinaw City, Michigan. I think we expected to see mostly lighthouses along the shoreline of the Great Lakes, but what we found was an even greater treat.

It seemed that everywhere we traveled, we found some Catholic history. There was the statue of Father Jacques Marquette in the middle of town on Mackinac Island. And it seemed that everywhere we drove we saw signs heralding Kateri Tekakwitha, one of our newest American saints.

That trip was not our only experience of finding bits of history or culture on our travels. It seems that on every vacation or excursion we find some religious treasure.

For example, when we visited Yellowstone National Park, we attended Mass in an outdoor amphitheater, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. And on a trip to Colorado, I had the privilege of seeing the unique chapel at the Air Force Academy.

Religion and Relaxation

There are also religious sites that can serve as vacations all unto themselves. My parents visited Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois, with their friends on vacation. And my husband’s parents visited the University of Notre Dame last year to see the campus’ many distinctly religious treasures, such as the grotto and the library’s famous mosaic nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus.”

Some people turn their vacation into a pilgrimage. I had this opportunity a few years ago when I traveled to Ireland with a group for a retreat on Celtic spirituality. I got to see the beauty of Ireland, but I also came back spiritually refreshed and renewed.

I also know people who consider going on retreat a vacation—even if they don’t do any sightseeing—because it gives them a break from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. There are many monasteries and retreat houses throughout the country that accept guests.

Tips for Your Trips

So whether your family’s going to Disney World, attending a retreat, or just staying at home, remember that there are always ways to include your faith in your vacation plans. Here are some suggestions:

• Keep a running file of brochures or articles about interesting sites your family can visit.

• Make sure to include the whole family in vacation planning. By allowing everyone to select something that interests him or her, you may find yourself on an adventure you might have otherwise passed up.

• If you’re a member of AAA, check out their Tour Books. Many tourist attractions are listed, along with necessary information. Your local library and the Internet are also good places to find information.

• Create a family scrapbook of your vacations/adventures. Have each family member contribute to the project by offering things such as their favorite part of the trip, some- thing they learned, or something that surprised them.

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11 thoughts on “Faith on Vacation”

  1. In Orlando, there is a Parrish specifically for travelers. Mary Queen of the Universe is a large and beautiful Parrish with a lot to see where one can attend Mass.

  2. While visiting family in Middlesex, England a few years back, my husband and I attended a Catholic parish on the grounds which St. Anslem had set up. Every year on his feast day it’s exciting to recall this wonderful adventurous historical fact.

  3. Thank you Susan for reminding us that we are never really “on vacation” from God.
    I also agree with your tip about the AAA trip Books: they help you find great hidden gems as you are driving through new or unfamiliar areas, often sites with religious importance.

  4. Linda Brunamonti Condo

    Cross in the Woods, Indian River, Michigan has the largest cross in the world. Worth a visit

  5. Shirley Hesse

    Vacations are an opportunity to experience our Catholic family globally. My husband and I attended Mass at Our Lady of the Pines in West Yellowstone. What a wonderful experience and beautiful Church.

  6. Lord Jesus Christ, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, mind, and soul. May your healing power and love touch every area of our lives – innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon our offences and transform us in the power of your Holy Spirit that we may walk confidently in your truth and goodness. Amen.

  7. Christopher Colville

    While travelling across the country with my brother, we saw this huge structure grow as we drove west through Kansas. It was a beautiful “Cathedral of the Plains”, St. Fidelis Church in Victoria Kansas. What a treat.

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