By Mary Lou Rosien
For many parishes, it is a challenge to keep faith activities and parish community strong during the summer months. Typically, there are no Faith Formation classes during the summer and other than Vacation Bible School, not a lot of other activities at church.
Other Christian churches seemed to have seized on this opportunity planning sports camps, VBS programs, and teen activities to reach out and draw new community members in. We can also find opportunities to evangelize and grow in our Catholic Faith over the summertime months.
Participate in Catholic VBS programs
In article that I wrote for OSV in 2007, I looked at the pitfalls of VBS programs that are not truly Catholic. That article was recently reprinted on the Amazing Catechists website. Our Sunday Visitor provides a totally Catholic Vacation Bible School program at the SKY website.
Host parish picnics, movie nights or Catholic Youth Organization sports over the summer months.While our teens are on break from youth group, we have a parish CYO softball team that most of the youth group kids are on. These types of things create community and allow friendships and fellowships to grow over the summer months.
Utilize the long, relaxed days of summer for planning in-services, adult education and other religious education opportunities. While the kids are out of school, it may be a wonderful opportunity for a Church Family Retreat Day or to bring in a special speaker for your parish. Our parish plans leadership activities for our youth and adults for summer months that otherwise couldn’t fit into our busy school-year schedule.
With a little time and energy our summers can be just a fruitful in spiritual foundation as our school-year activities are. God bless and enjoy your summer.
Mary Lou Rosien writes from outside Rochester, NY. She is the author of Managing Stress with the Help of Your Catholic Faith (OSV) and, Catholic Family Boot Camp (Bezalel Books). Check out her website, or contact her at www.catholicfamilybootcamp.com.
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