Thursday, 14 July 2011

Family Holidays

As school terms draw to a close, families are preparing to head off in great numbers on their annual holiday. For young growing families one of the biggest factors in deciding on the destination is probably the financial budget.
This would be true for Catholic families as much as any other. But there are other factors to be considered. Don’t neglect extended family and friends.
We were lucky to have family and friends in the USA and so each year before our youngest was two (and therefore had to pay for an airline seat!) we took a long summer break in Massachussetts and Florida. Despite flight costs we had few other expenses. In fact we were treated right royally. Our children forged friendships which still exist today.
In between years we stayed with my brother in Lincoln, mother-in-law just outside London, took a road trip in Ireland, and even ventured with a tent across the Channel to Brittany and Normandy. We did two house swaps, one with a family in Grenoble and on two occasions with a Spanish family from Jerez. And so our children experienced different cultures at a young age.
With all holidays we concentrated on outdoor activities as far as possible whether it was park, garden or beach. It was a total escape, before the days of internet, mobile text messages etc, without TV, radio or newspaper.
If possible we made the holiday a pilgrimage, always seeking out a local shrine. So it was that we came to visit Lourdes, Lisieux, La Salette, Beauraing, Knock and literally stumbled upon St Anne d’Auray.
In 1986 we did a walking pilgrimage to Fatima from Portsmouth, in an organised group with two back up vehicles. It covered a three week period and was the experience of a lifetime!
In later years due to limited budget camping prevailed and then we discovered Torreciudad, a Marian shrine in Northern Spain operated by Opus Dei. Nearby is a village set up by Spanish families and we had the chance to rent a house here. Would that we had discovered it when our children were small! It proved to be a perfect holiday destination in every respect.
Now children are grown and this summer will see our youngest at World Youth Day in Madrid while we will be in California visiting our daughter, husband and family.
We have happy memories of family holidays – treasure yours and, above all, keep safe this summer. Prayers for all travellers by road, rail, sea and air this summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment