School’s out!

As I write this, I am preparing my students for finals. Finals are stressful but rewarding. One of the great rewards of finals is summer vacation. I know that students believe that no one is more excited or more ready for vacation then they are, but I can assure you that teachers are pretty ready and excited as well. 

According to Webster’s dictionary, a vacation is “a time of respite from something.” As the school year ends, we prepare for two months of respite from homework, tests, studying, note-taking and alarm clocks. When we go on vacation, we look forward to leaving everything behind that we were doing and just relax. We hope to leave our everyday lives behind and not even think about all that we will need to do when we return from vacation.

However, no matter if we are going cross country, on an international trip, or just your run-of-the-mill “staycation,” we are called to keep our faith going. We can vacation from school, work, and chores but we cannot take a vacation from Church. We read it right in Scripture. In the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Christ say, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). He doesn’t tell us to find a hotel and call Him in seven to 10 days and tell Him all about it. He calls to us to vacation with Him, and with Him we will find the peace we are looking for.  

While it should not be the sole “go-to” on all things religious, there are some great ways to use the Internet to stay connected on vacation. If you are going to be away on a Sunday, go to and it will give you the times for every Mass wherever you are staying.  Also, there is a great free app called Laudate that has everything Catholic you could need. You can find a variety of prayers, the readings for the day, Liturgy of the Hours, the Bible and even encyclicals. 

Not only should our vacations be a chance to relax and stop working, but as Catholics, we can use this time to refresh and renew our faith. Vacation is the perfect time to slow down and reconnect with Christ. It’s easy in the busyness of life to lose track of our prayer lives and just do a quick prayer of need for some special intention. Having time away from all hectic day-to-day events may just be the time we need to move our faith life to a newer, deeper level.

So whether we are going on a cruise to Mexico, a road trip to Mississippi (which happens to be my plan this summer), or finding a blanket and lying in the backyard, let your vacation time stretch you to a new place with Christ. Do not leave Him behind in your parish, at your house, or in your school. Bring Christ with you on your vacation. Visit His house in a new city, a new state or maybe even in a new country. Don’t let your faith get cast aside along with your notebooks, your summer reading or your unfinished work. Give Him your burdens and He will give you rest.  

As you prepare for your summer to begin, I leave you with this prayer I found. I pray that we all have a safe and blessed summer that helps us to grow closer to Christ.

Heavenly Father,

You have mercifully allowed human beings to have periods of rest and recuperation on our long journey through life.

This is my extended period of rest this year — my vacation from the usual cares of everyday life and my time to be renewed — physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Grant that this vacation will bring me a new awareness of the good things in life, increased knowledge of Your wondrously versatile creativity, delightful travel through fascinating places, and genuine leisure facilitating revitalization.

Let me be ever mindful of You and my true goals in life.

And bring me back to carry out my daily tasks with cheerfulness and goodwill, and to the best of my strength and ability.


Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at

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