We’re not far away from the beloved (or maybe dreaded) summer vacation. It’s hot outside and kids are home from school (or on a homeschooling break). Everyone is looking to make plans to fill June, July, and August with activities, vacations, events, and fun.
Let’s be honest, there is a reason the whole back half of Target is filled with nothing but lawn furniture and inflatable kiddie pools. Summer is arriving quickly and we all need something to do.
Rather than sit around and watch Netflix all day (though there’s no harm in viewing “The Office” for a tenth time through), here are some uniquely Catholic things you, your friends, and family can do this summer:
1. Go to daily Mass
Now that kids are home, or perhaps work is easing up a bit, take some time to get in the habit of going to daily Mass. Find one that works best for your normal routine/schedule, and commit to going two or three times a week.
By mid-July, you won’t remember life before going to daily Mass on a regular basis!
2. Make a pilgrimage
Are you planning a family vacation? Why not seek out some of the best pilgrimage spots in the United States?
Go tour the nation’s capital and swing by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Don’t forget to make a pit stop at the Saint Pope John Paul II Cultural Center right down the street.
Want more ideas? Here’s a great list of 100 top pilgrimage sites in the U.S.
3. Pick a summer patron
June, July, & August are full of feast days honoring some amazing holy men and women. Pick a family summer patron and learn about them. What was their life like, and what did they do that made them a saint? How can their patronage help your family?
When the kids are bouncing off the walls and you need a little spiritual help, call on their intercession for aid – or remind your kids to live like them. Bonus idea: throw a backyard BBQ on their feast day to celebrate!
Don’t know who to pick? Check out some of the saints whose feast days appear in the summer liturgical calendar:
6/1: Saint Justin Martyr
6/3: Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions
6/13: Saint Anthony of Padua
6/21: Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
6:22: Saint Thomas More
6/28: Saint Irenaeus
6/29: Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul
7/4: Saint Elizabeth of Portugal
7/6: Saint Maria Goretti
7/14: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
7/15: Saint Bonaventure
7/16: Our Lady of Mount Carmel
7/22: Saint Mary Magdalene
7/29: Saint Martha
7/21: Saint Ignatius of Loyola
8/1: Saint Alphonsus Liguori
8/4: Saint John Vianney
8/8: Saint Dominic
8/9): Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
8/11: Saint Clare of Assisi
8/14: Saint Maximillian Kolbe
8/20: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
8/23: Saint Rose of Lima
8/24: Saint Bartholomew
8/25: Saint Louis of France
8/27: Saint Monica
8/28: Saint Augustine
4. Read good Catholic books
The summer is the perfect time to get caught up on all those great Catholic books that were released this past Spring that you’ve been wanting to read, but just haven’t found the time.
Fear not, overloaded nightstand: you’ll soon be empty because those books will be read. Here are some recent favorites:
One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler
Forty Reasons I’m Catholic by Peter Kreeft
Rethink Happiness by Paul George
What Matters Most by Leonard DeLorenzo
Why I am Catholic by Brandon Vogt
Beyond Sunday by Teresa Tomeo
Gaudete et Exsultate by Pope Francis
Fruitful Discipleship by Sherry Weddell
Made for Love by Fr. Mike Schmitz
5. Build a family Marian shrine
Every family needs a good, get your hands dirty, outdoor project. What better way to spend some time together than by creating a lovely Marian shrine in your yard? All you really need is a couple of rose bushes, a nice statue, and some elbow grease to get started!
Have a happy (and Catholic) summer!