Dear Friends:

As you read these words, I am away on vacation in Florida. I will return this coming Thursday, August 10. Vacation time is important, even if it is what some call a “stay-vacation,” a time for taking a break from the daily grind and the normal routine of life which, for many of us, consists of getting up each morning, going to work, returning home and taking care of family and household duties, a little time for relaxation, then retiring for the night only to start the whole cycle all over again the next morning. Work is vitally important to the human spirit and for more reasons than it supplies the funds we need to live and to thrive. Work, as Pope St. John Paul II taught in his encyclical on human work (Laborem Exercens) is literally a share in the ongoing creative work of God. Work is essential to human dignity and purpose.

At the same time, there must be time for rest and relaxation. An occasional time away from the daily routine is a time for recharging our batteries. It is also a time for us to “stop and smell the roses” as it were, a time to take in the wonders of the world and the beauty of nature. For me, vacation is utter free time. There is no schedule. I retire at night when I want to and rise in the morning when I feel like it. It is a time for relaxing by a pool or at the beach. It is a time for reading. On a typical vacation, I can read upwards of six or seven books, something that is not possible for me given the schedule I keep most of the rest of the year.

I would be remiss if I were not to remind us all of the importance of Sunday, the first day of the week, what is called the Christian Sabbath. Sunday is a day for rest, a day to spend with family and friends, a day when we avoid doing all unnecessary work. Sunday is not to be just another day like the other six days of the week. Of course, Sunday is a day for prayer and worship and no good Catholic spends a Sunday without making time for Mass and time for prayer. So, think about how you spend Sunday and make some adjustments if you realize that you are not making the best use of this weekly day of rest and prayer.

I received word that the Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated this year on Sunday, October 22 at 1:30 PM at St. Mary’s Church. We are honored and privileged to have Archbishop Leonard P. Blair as the celebrant. Confirmation will be conferred within Sunday Mass on that day. We expect to have a class of over 130 candidates and in order to allow the best use of limited space in the church that day, wewill have to issue tickets for admission. How many tickets will be issued to each candidate remains to be determined. The candidates for Confirmation will be informed once we have had a chance to determine what will work best.

Have a wonderful week!