Catholic Family Chaplain
Hello and blessings! By the time you read this, your Catholic Family deacon will be on the road to re-creation. That’s what the Servant of God Catherine Doherty called summer vacation: re-creation… a time to re-create ourselves through time away from the work-a-day world that has occupied us for perhaps fifty prior weeks or more. Catherine is the foundress of Madonna House – an apostolate of men, women and priests in northern Canada and around the world. Catherine wrote that ‘doing things together makes us know and love each other more. (Vacation) joy binds us, and laughter cements our relations.’
Interested in a unique and almost no-cost summer vacation idea? Would you and your family be interested in a way to bring Christ and his Mother along on your family vacation? No less than Pope Pius XII was the inspiration for the Madonna House founding of Cana Colony – a (virtually) free summer vacation in a rural wooded lakeside setting in Canada. Each family is assigned a simple cabin. Other vacationing families are nearby. Although in separate cabins, the week throws families of different backgrounds together and great friendships are made. The presence of a priest adds tremendously to the graces of the week through the Eucharist and Sacraments as well as the discussions on the practical application of the Gospel to their family life.’ If this sounds ‘too churchy’ – be assured there’s plenty of free time for swimming, hiking, games and cookouts.
The summer weeks that this free program is offered usually book up quickly and it may well be too late for this year. But if it sounds interesting or you’d like more information, you can go to the Madonna House website which is at www.madonnahouse.org/programs/cana.html
As a sidenote: If you don’t have a family and would like a wonderful and inspiring vacation alternative – consider a week or two of a working retreat at Madonna House in Canada. My wife did this once and it is a holy, inspiring and fun way to spend time with the loving folks of this great community. Okay – on to other thoughts….
If you were to poll our four kids about summer vacations – they would likely tell you about their favorites from our early family years. Perhaps it was the houseboat rental on a clear lake in the Ozarks? Perhaps the time we rented a lakeside cabin and a fish pulled an unattended fishing pole into the lake? We families need these vacation times – and God will help give us the graces to enjoy these times… We need to remember to take Him along.
Now I would guess that this will seem completely unrelated – but if possible, I’d like to propose that you consider some way to let the grandchildren – your kids spend time with their grandparents this summer. There is a special magic form of re-creation that happens when young ones are able to spend a week or more (alone) with their grandparents.
Carey – a seven year old puts it this way: “Grandparents are real happy to see kids because they don’t see them all the time…. Parents are different. They see their kids all the time.” (Isn’t that the sad truth?) And six year old Mandy says “Some of the best people I ever met are grandparents.” And Luther, her older brother said, “Grandparents make you feel good and they never, ever laugh at you.”
An aging Victor Hugo once said, “winter is on my head, but spring is in my heart.” The grandkids get a chance to meet and learn about a new and different form of being young-at-heart… they get a glimpse of what is important to an earlier generation. Grandkids learn about not going to the supermarket without the coupons… and getting to the restaurant so you’re in time for the ‘early-bird’ specials…
Grandkids get to help make cookies and muffins or clean the garage. They learn to not take the last hot dog on the dinner table without asking if someone else would like it. Grandkids learn about the love of a God-like figure who loves with no reservations… no holding back.
Over this summer, as we journey to a New Mexico wedding, Missouri, (Franciscan University in Steubenville Ohio and Pennsylvania, we will be in prayer for you. May God re-create you and your family.