We are at the height of summer vacation time, and to me, meaning one thing — ROAD TRIPS! after all, I consider myself to be something of a road trip aficionado.
My road trips always involve curated playlists handpicked specifically for that exact adventure. I never leave on an interstate journey without a legal pad and Sharpie so as to speak with other motorists. Mixed in with all of those shenanigans, however, my family and friends ensure to never leave our Catholic faith reception. Travel could be a good way to experience the sheer variety and vastness of the Catholic tradition and also the universal church. Aside from the common things to check when doing road trips like packing food and getting the number of roadside assistance like towing San Jose, below are additional tips when traveling on the road for a spiritual journey.
Visit a singular new church
My family always celebrates Mass while we’re on vacation, which lets us simultaneously experience the local culture and also participate in a very Mass that’s often entirely different than what we are familiar with. Doing so, we’ve attended Mass in enormous basilicas and tiny chapels, overlooking the ocean in Mexico, and under towering trees at an outside Mass in Northern Michigan. Masstimes.org can steer you toward all manner of churches, regardless of your destination. The website catholicplaces.org also lists notable Catholic points of interest but focuses on basilicas, cathedrals, and shrines that transcend the standard neighborhood parish.
2. Catch a music festival
In recent decades, music festivals became destinations of their own. There are weekend-long concert events spanning all music genres, and Christian music is not any different. An inventory and map of many of the larger Christian music festivals will be found here.
3. Head to campus
I reside in a school town. I used to be initially surprised at what number of tourists visit Michigan State University’s campus daily. Some are alumni, some are families with prospective students, and plenty of others have unique motivations like seeing a field game in every Big Ten stadium. Take a look at the USCCB’s list of U.S. Catholic Colleges and Universities. Not to mention, almost every Catholic university has regularly scheduled Masses hospitable to the general public. And if you discover yourself in East Lansing on MSU’s campus, make sure to run one block north and stop by my home parish of St. John Church and center, home of the Catholic Spartans. Go Green!
4. Drop in on a parish festival
Some regions of the country admittedly try this better than others. Those dioceses, particularly, have parish festivals every weekend of the summer and well into the autumn. I remember visiting several of those each summer once I was a child growing up in Milwaukee. Think beer tent, local cover bands, carnival games for the children, and perhaps even some midway rides all staffed with volunteers from the hosting church. Testing the events section of your diocesan website is another good place to begin.
5. Participate in an occasion Mass
There are some oceanside parishes that hold Mass on the beach, some that have Mass out on the lawn, and that I have found myself at a Polka Mass or two also. So, the subsequent time you’re road-tripping across the country, hunt for a Mass within the great outdoors.