Everyone needs time for rest and relaxation, time to recuperate. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus said “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Summer is usually the season many families go on vacation and many parishes, especially those with schools, seem to slow down a bit. We’ve all seen the sign “Gone Fishing” when a store is closed or one of your colleagues is away from work on vacation.
During the summer, parishes usually experience lower Mass attendance, the offertory collection drops and many parish ministries take the summer off. The typical response is “everyone is on vacation.” Well, guess what, not everyone goes on vacation at the same time! Sure, around Memorial Day, the 4 th of July and Labor Day, more people tie vacation days in with the holidays, but not all parishioners are gone for the whole summer.
I think some parishes unknowingly hang the “Gone Fishing” sign on the front door and actually buy into the “everyone is on vacation” mentality. We need to change our mindset from “Gone Fishing” to “Going Fishing” during the summer months. From Mark’s Gospel, again, Jesus said “come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Our Church is a twelve month Church, not a nine month Church, the summer is another opportunity to reach out to parishioners, not temporarily shut down.
We should encourage parish ministries to meet year ‘round. We should be creative and look for opportunities to develop summer ministries. (Many people take “stay-cations” where families vacation in town.) The summer is a great time to reach-out to our fellow parishioners and invite them back into parish life, especially young families and single adults.
The summer is when the sun shines the brightest, let’s continue to make our parishes shine bright during the summer by reflecting the work of the “Son”, Our Lord Jesus Christ.