At last, the days of summer have arrived! Even if your own school days or your children’s school days are long behind you, there is still something pleasant and unique about the change of season at this time of year. On the long, slow, hot days of summer, life slows down, and nature invites us to savor moments of relaxation with friends, family, and the beauty of the outdoors.
Relaxed schedules and beautiful weather encourage many of us to travel during the summer months. Taking our Catholic faith along as we see the world is a wonderful way to enhance our enjoyment of travel and deepen our spiritual lives. Making a religious pilgrimage, whether across the ocean or simply to a meaningful place in your own hometown, can be a life-altering, soul-feeding experience.
I must admit, though, that I paused for a long breath when my 20-year-old son announced earlier this year that he plans to visit the Holy Land this August. On his own. With no international travel experience. While I fret about his safety this summer, he plans to walk where Jesus walked and see the ancient places that hold so much meaning for us as Christians.
If you are interested in learning more about taking a pilgrimage to a foreign land, you will enjoy Deacon Gene Townsend’s collection of Catholic pilgrimage locations around the world. The distinction he makes between a “pilgrimage” and a “religious tour” is an important one every Catholic will appreciate.
But you don’t have to go overseas to find inspiring destinations that will nourish your Catholic faith. Just last year, Catholic Digest published a special issue devoted to Catholic memorials and shrines throughout the United States. In it, writer and Catholic travel television host Diana von Glahn shared nearly two dozen U.S. destinations for faith-based travel. You can choose one near you or plan a family road trip to a new location. For your copy of this special issue, visit CatholicDigest.com or call 1-800-321-0411.
Wherever your summer plans take you, I pray that this season will be filled with peace and refreshment for your mind, body, and soul. I love to hear from you, so let me know what’s going on in your corner of the world this summer. May God bless you during the long, beautiful days that lie ahead!
Danielle Bean is the editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest. Contact her at editor@CatholicDigest.com.