Bishop Malesic’s Message
Don’t take a vacation from your faith
Summer is travel time for many of us, whether it is an extended vacation or a weekend getaway. The weather is warm, children are out of school, and parks and beaches are open. Whether it is a Sunday afternoon picnic or a trip to Disney, we should always remember to pack our faith along with our shorts, T-shirts and sandals.
Growing up, I went on a lot of family vacations — Mom, Dad and me. And on Sundays when we were out of town, we would always look for a Catholic church where we could celebrate Mass. Thanks to my parents, it is ingrained in me to give the Lord’s Day, Sunday, over to God wherever I find myself.
To take a vacation from the Lord makes no sense to a good Christian. To take a vacation from the Lord allows us to admit that he can take a vacation from us, which we would never want.
As members of a universal church, it is always exciting for us to experience the variety of music and different cultures at Masses away from our home parishes. Still, we know that every Mass is the celebration, remembrance and representation of the Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection, no matter where that Mass is celebrated. It is a comfort to realize that the same Christ gives himself to us as the Eucharist at every Mass that is offered throughout the world.
And, remember, visiting a church that you have never attended doesn’t have to be in another state or country. Summer Sundays are a great time to visit another church in the diocese and celebrate Mass with that particular faith community. The churches in the Diocese of Greensburg range from traditional Gothic to newer, more modern styles. Some are more than 175 years old! Perhaps you’ll get a chance to visit our beautiful Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese, which was renovated shortly before I was ordained and installed as the fifth bishop of this wonderful diocese.
Also, please remember that visitors might come to your local parish church as well during their own vacations away from home. You’ll know them when you see them sitting in your traditional spot! Welcome them. Scripture says this: “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:1). Just as you have done for me since I first arrived in the Diocese of Greensburg four years ago, make everyone feel at home in your parish church when they are visiting and worshipping with you.
After all, the family meal is the Eucharist. Within it we gather together with our brothers and sisters in the faith to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and then to be fed with the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who makes his church to be one, holy Catholic and apostolic.
So, let’s not take a vacation from God. That’s why we go to Mass every Sunday, since it is the Lord’s Day, and are called to be welcoming to those who will make our local parishes their spiritual home and place of worship, if for just one weekend of their own vacation.
God bless you and all those you love,
Bishop Edward C. Malesic