Whether your faith is the size of a mustard seed or as large as a giant sequoia, summer activities can fizzle out a family’s faith life. Here are some practical ways to infuse, inspire, and increase your family’s Catholic faith in your summer “to do” list.
· Sign up for Vacation Bible School (VBS) or the summer camps at one of our Chaldean churches. Many of them fill up quickly, so if you weren’t able to get into any of them, check out the VBS programs in a Latin Rite church near you.
· Sign up for Chaldean Youth Camps (CYC) at Our Lady of the Fields Camp and Retreat Center in Brighton, Mich. Ages range from 6-14 for campers and range from one day camps, overnight camps, father/son and mother/daughter camps. Visit chaldeanyouthcamp.org or ourladyofthefieldscamp.org.
· Encourage your teens and young adults to volunteer or get a summer position at Our Lady of the Fields Camp and Retreat Center.
· Heading “up north” this summer? Stop at the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods in Indian River, Mich. Read about the shrine on the way. Visit the six shrines and take the steps up to the cross. Stop by the doll museum next to the gift shop.
· Also up north is Our Lady of the Woods Shrine in Mio, Mich. Enjoy the shrines among the scenic grounds and say a prayer at the Family Shrine.
· Visit the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky and the Creation Museum in Petersburg. Both are located just south of Cincinnati, Ohio.
· Headed to Chicago? Stop at the Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John, Indiana. This amazing shrine is a half mile pathway of life size sculptures of the Stations of the Cross.
· Take a day to visit Catholic churches in Detroit. Favorites include Old St. Mary’s in Greektown, St. Josephat, Sweetest Heart of Mary, St. Aloysius, St. Anne de Detroit, and Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Check out their websites for local events and mass times.
· Visit the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. Take a tour of the museum and gift shop, place your intentions at his tomb, and light a candle from the glass votive candle chapel. Go to the website’s “Plan a Visit” section for activities and prayers to do with your children.
· Don’t miss Sunday mass while on vacation! Use masstimes.org to find a local parish’s mass times. Children are often inspired by attending a mass at different churches when they travel.
Both you and your children can use social media to increase your faith individually and as a family.
· Visit chaldeanchurch.org for the St. Thomas Chaldean Diocese page. Follow them and all the Chaldean parishes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Events and information are often posted on the sites and are a great way to keep in touch with the parishes.
· Visit catholicmom.com for great Catholic resources on family prayer, activities, kids’ section, and books.
· Download Catholic apps!
o Holy Martyrs has an app. St George and St Joseph use myParish for their apps.
o Use Team Novena to say a novena together as a family.
o Use Laudate or iRosary for prayers, bible readings, and more.
o Emmanuel Chaldean app from the Chaldean Diocese of St Peter has many of our Chaldean prayers in English and Chaldean.
o Use the Video on Demand section of the EWTN app for lots of great animated episodes for younger kids, and Truth in the Heart episodes for older kids.
· Pray the rosary as a family. Say it weekly, the night before a vacation, on a feast day, or around a bonfire.
· Go to a daily mass. There’s mass every day of the week!
· Attend adoration as a family.
· Let the kids pick out a coloring/activity book, fiction book, toy, DVD, or trinket at a Catholic gift shop.
· Read as a family. Children’s bible, Theology of the Bible for Tots/Kids, Will Wilder series for young readers, The Adventures of Nick and Sam, Chime Travelers series, and more.
· Host a play date/movie night and watch a family friendly DVD like Catholic Heroes of the Faith or Brother Francis series.
· Get a subscription box from massbox.com. These family friendly crafts, magazines, and videos are for 4-8-year-olds to help them get excited about their faith!
Parents are a child’s primary teacher. They learn by our example. Be the light that shines brighter than the sun this summer. Help them (and yourself) grow in the Catholic faith. God bless!