I used to dislike having to take time out of our vacations to find a local church where we could attend Mass while away from home. Over time I have come to love this practice.
Being part of a local church community takes you from tourist to temporary town member. As Catholics we are able to slide seamlessly into the worship. We know those prayers, those songs, when to sit, stand and kneel.
It's comforting knowing all this and comforting knowing that our friends back home are hearing the same Bible readings too.
Yet we are treated to a different homily, from a different priest. His style may be utterly engaging (or not), his voice marked by his Irish brogue or southern drawl, his stories a product of his own unique life experiences. This is a mini-vacation-education all its own.
Attending church out of town also lets you sit inside some of the most beautiful, little known churches residing all over our country. Your children see that people everywhere go to church and that church is something that can be done (and you think should be done) where ever life may take them in the future.
And, once in a blue moon, the priest just might invite those visiting children out of the safety of their pews to stand before the congregation as a demonstration of the day's message. Those boys might never forget that moment in time when God called them forth as an example. They might never forget all the kind comments and hands shaken with folks they'll likely never meet again. They might realize that they are part of God's plan where ever they go. They are always in His sight.
Christ's presence in the Holy Eucharist
women friends playing games together
grandparents on the telephone
low humidity summer days
freshly washed van
flowers on my table
blogs I love to read
blogs I love to write
the opportunity to share
with other blessing-counters