First and foremost, I would like to wish all fathers, a Happy Father’s Day. Let us remember with love all the good things that our dads have done for us. “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” - Anne Geddes
One of my favorite summer hikes used to be Yosemite falls. I would wake up at 4:00 am in the morning and wake up other crazy, fellow hikers who would love to hike the falls when the whole world was asleep, and nature quiet. To hike up to the top of the falls with our headlights brightly lit and to arrive at the summit as dawn is just breaking is something I loved to do for so many years. What amazed me as we went up and down over the years is that sometimes the falls would dwindle down until there was barely a trickle of water coming down to the village.
There is something about summer that is more spiritual than any other time of the year. Church attendance drops in summer by as much as 20 percent. It is unlikely that so many of us are all on vacation during summer. I know that schools are out and so kids’ schedules are different during summer, but parents continue to work with an exception of a week or two in some cases. According to Pew Research, Church attendance drops when weather is “just right.” Some of our parishes around the diocese drop a mass or two during summer to accommodate the summer schedule.
I am writing this letter with an open mind embracing the summer slump, and I am not bemoaning low attendance. I would, however, like to invite you to enjoy the summer and to discover God in our wonderful creation and feel closer to God. Summer reminds us of the immense generosity of God in our bay area, when the trees, sagging down with fruits and plants add so much color and beauty to our landscape. John Muir wrote, “Everybody needs beauty… places to play and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” As Dr. Gemma Simmonds CJ wrote so well, “A sense of the sacrament of the present moment can liberate us from the tyranny of time, dominated by market forces and the idolization of work, of cost effectiveness, of productiveness as value. Wasting time with the God whose times and seasons are full of generous wastefulness can remind us of what truly matters.” In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” (6:31). Jesus in postmodern paraphrase might say: “Come away to a deserted place where there are no flat screens, where iPads will have no wireless connection, and a text message will cost more than a U.S postal stamp.” It is about loving God even more intimately whose imprint can be seen all around creation in summer. Remember that Nature is God’s Cathedral, the sanctuary where God can be found and loved as Adam often heard the sound of His footsteps in the Garden of Eden.
While you are enjoying your summer activities, don’t forget to attend Mass while you are away from home. You may easily find Mass schedules at the website www.masstimes.org. The site is very easy to use. Just enter the zip code of the place you are visiting and you will receive a list of Churches in the area and the Mass times for weekend liturgy.
8:00am, 5:00pm (vigil)
7:00am, 8:00am, 9:15am, 10:45am, 12:15pm, 6:00pm (youth mass)
8:00 am, 7:00 pm;
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 12 noon-7:00 p.m. (except summer)