Going to Mass is so important, God put it on his top ten list – the ten commandments that is. “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” is the third commandment (Exodus 20:8). The Sunday obligation to attend Mass is so important, it is one of the precepts of the church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2042, 2180). Going to Mass in a new place can be one of the best parts of your vacation. Try letting the children look on the internet and find out where the nearest Catholic church will be, and try masstimes.org to help them plan your visit. Masstimes.org will help you find a Catholic church anywhere in the world. The very act of planning this will teach your family that going to Mass is not negotiable, that you follow God’s law at all times, and that attending Mass is important. You may discover a gothic cathedral or a parish with a long and rich history that has survived wars and hurricanes. A little research beforehand can make your visit come alive. Look for examples of different styles of artwork or influences of various ethnic groups. You may even want to incorporate a daily Mass into your vacation plans so that you can explore even more churches. You are probably planning ahead where to stay, what to eat, and local attractions and activities to enjoy. Planning to keep the faith on vacation is just as easy. If you know you are going to be out of town on a Sunday, plan ahead to meet your Sunday obligation. Even if you are camping or hiking in a remote location, give it a try. There’s even a Catholic church at the Grand Canyon! Making this a priority for you family even while on vacation teaches your children something you cannot convey with words. The act of involving the children in the planning of going to Mass demonstrates that, as a family, you follow through on your beliefs, even when it is countercultural. By your actions and example, you imbue to your children real courage and fortitude to be steadfast in faith, even when it is not the normal or usual habit for many others.
On the other hand, don’t forget your home parish when you are away on vacation. Another precept of the church is that “[t]he faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2043) The financial needs of the church for salaries, utilities, maintenance, etc., continue unabated each week through the summer. You can always mail your gift, or consider setting up automatic payments for effortless giving.