Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Spirit for everyone!

FRIAR'S CORNER (June 22, 2008):

At long last school is out for summer! I know at that statement our young people rejoice and (some of) our adults cringe. But, summer is such a wonderful time to change the normal pace of life. For the kids hopefully the summer brings with it some rest and relaxation, time for fun and games, perhaps to go off to a camp; to do the things that they want to do and just be for a while. For families, there is usually some vacation time during the summer months – a chance to get away some place relaxing like the Jersey Shore or Cape Cod, or even just stay home and do some fun things.

Even for Fr. Mike and I, while the parish never seems to get less busy, the summer does bring with it a different kind of busyness. We have a lot of fun youth events during the summer starting with our vacation Bible school, Summer Spirit. We will have camp outs, the Steubenville East Summer Youth Conference, Fan the Fire and more. And, hopefully, by the time September rolls around, we’re all feeling a bit more refreshed and renewed.

I hope all of this is true for you and your family this year. One of the things I like about our Summer Spirit program, and other youth programs, is that these provide an opportunity, not just for rest and relaxation, but also for retreat and a time to feed the soul. My hope is that we all find some time during these summer months as we do things to refresh our bodies and minds to let God refresh our souls. So, what can we all do? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Go to Mass during the week. As I always say, we’re here every day. Coming to Mass during the week is a great way, in a quiet environment, to fill yourself up with the grace that comes from the Eucharist. I love our summer Masses. There’s nothing nicer on a hot summer day than to enter our wonderfully air conditioned Church and spend 30-45 minutes in prayer with the community. You’ll be amazed what the Eucharist can do for you the more it is part of your daily life.

2. Make a retreat. You know all of the great retreats that we have for our young people, but taking time to retreat – literally, to get away from all of the day-to-day – and just be present to God is so critical. There are retreat centers all around us – Wisdom House in Litchfield, St. Edmund’s on Ender’s Island, Mount Alvernia in Wappingers Falls, NY – where you can go and make a retreat. If you can’t afford that, come and spend a morning in our Church before the Blessed Sacrament. Go for a prayerful walk and pray the Rosary. Whatever you can do, we need that time away from it all in God’s presence to renew us.

3. Spiritual Reading. If you’re like me, you are lining up your summer reading. There is nothing better than sitting down with a good book in the summer. Every year, I always look for three books. I like one of them to be a biography or autobiography, one of them to be just-for-fun (mysteries are a favorite). And the third is always something spiritual. Find that spiritual book that will feed your soul this summer. I always recommend anything by Dr. Scott Hahn. If you’ve never read him, I recommend starting with The Lamb’s Supper. His books will change your life.

So, the question is simply this: What will you do for your spirit this summer? I pray that for every member of our parish this is a summer of rest, relaxation and a renewal of body, mind and spirit.

Have a great summer!

Love, Fr. Tom

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