Summer is also a Time for Faith
By Bishop David J. Malloy
For many people the summer is a period that is marked by “time off.” Certainly our young people, especially in the grade school and high school years, revel in the absence of the school schedule. 
In fact we often have to be alert so they keep up good life style and disciplinary habits during the summer. Get outside. Read good books. Don’t just sleep in or play video games to while away the day.
Because of the vacation season, the warm weather and the plethora of summertime events, adults, too, can have a sense of this season being free from some of the rigors and restrictions of work and life that mark the rest of the year.
This is characteristic of our human need for occasional breaks from stress, work and our normal routine. It’s one of the reasons that the divine plan has given us Sunday as a day of rest. 
Of course that day is intended to be marked by our special attention to God, the reason we call it the Lord’s Day. But that day of rest is also to be a time of reflection, of refreshment, and of family.
Our faith life never takes a vacation. We heard in the Gospel last Sunday the answer to the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer was, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk 10:25–27, see also Dt 6:5). In other words, we must be all in.
With this in mind, it’s important for us to recognize that summer has a special importance for the strengthening of faith. That is especially true for parents in teaching and modeling the faith for their kids. 
To begin with, we need to focus once again on attendance at Sunday Mass. That is not simply a nice thing to do. It is far deeper. It involves placing ourselves in the presence of Christ’s body, the Church. In doing so we receive grace and strength from participation in that community. 
And our presence gives affirmation and encouragement to others to keep up the struggle of fidelity. And of course we come to adore and worthily receive the Body and Blood of Jesus made present for us.
Those realities are of critical importance on our road to heaven. Sunday Mass all through the year has to be a given, the starting point of our practice of the faith. 
Especially for families and for our young people the role of Sunday Mass in the summertime is key. That means that parents need to demonstrate to their children that we unquestioningly continue this practice, even on vacation. It is that central.
And of course with the possibility for a more restful summertime schedule even at home, parents must continue to show the importance of the Mass during the summer by bringing the kids and praying there with them. 
Any skipping Mass or casualness at this time of year is a countersign to young people.
Additionally, with the extra time for our young people during the summer, parents need to intentionally emphasize the role of faith. 
Providing age appropriate religious reading during the summer keeps the soul and the mind sharp. There are great books on lives of the saints available for any reading level. They can serve as a great inspiration.
How about parents making the effort to identify and provide DVDs or online access of movies or stories about faith? And having watched them with their children, follow up conversations are important. 
So too are general discussions of the faith. Doing this during the summer emphasizes faith’s everyday place in our lives.
The famous song says, “Summer time, and the living is easy.” Summertime is also a time of faith. We shouldn’t underestimate how important that is.