Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A World Class Spiritual Vacation

What are you saying?!?!
A Catholic family planning a summer vacation may wonder where to go to Mass or what shrine they could visit while gone. What if your whole family vacation was something spiritual? What if you could vacation in a kingdom of sorts, but NOT a certain Magic Kingdom that may come to mind?

It’s been said that a main theme of all the teachings of Jesus is the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom is where the King is. Jesus came to Earth to touch us, heal us and save us. The Church continues His work today in His kingdom on Earth, through graces and the sacramental life.

But what might the loyal subjects in the kingdom be like or act like. I suspect they would be EXACTLY like what you’d find at a Holy Family Fest at Catholic Familyland in Bloomingdale, OH, which is part of the Apostolate for Family Consecration. A family “camping” vacation with swimming, hiking, horseback riding, etc, but also inclusive with:

Ø  Mass available each morning in a huge auditorium with jumbo-tron screens no less!

Ø  Inspiring and encouraging talks by professional speakers after Mass for adults while the kids are out doing age appropriate activities.
Ø  EVERYTHING stops at 3pm for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Those swimming at the pool need to stop and sit on the edge. Even the St. John the Baptist water slide shuts down!

Ø Rosary every evening at 7pm.

Ø Eucharist adoration made regularly available.

Ø  Outdoor confessions available all afternoon at Holy Family Park. Several priests sit under shady umbrellas hearing confessions for hours.
The Apostolate is dedicated to the renewal of the Church and the world through the renewal of the family. It’s a fruit of the apparitions at Fatima in 1917 and the Marian spirituality of Blessed Pope John Paul II with the goal of consecrating as many families as possible to Jesus, through Mary, in union with St. Joseph.

Yay for World Peace!
They have an audacious message of hope that is a formula for what every beauty pageant contestant seems to want,…World Peace. I’ll share my notes from this “message of hope” in my next post which elaborates about a specific problem and specific solution based on the message of Fatima. For now, I wanted to let Catholics know about this holy place.

An interesting thing happened too…
Our family was there for the June Fest. As about 500 people gathered to pray the rosary in front of a large bonfire one evening, ominous rain clouds began to gather with us. The priest leading the rosary over a PA system asked the Queen of Heaven to command her angels to hold back the rain so we could offer our beautiful evening Rosary. The clouds kept coming as we began to pray. The priest paused after the first decade, and once again asked Mary to send her angels to hold back the rain. Now small drops of rain began to fall. During the second decade the rain slowly intensified.

At this point it was decided to continue the rosary under a very large pavilion not too far away. Once we were safely under roof, the rain came down much harder. The end of the rosary completed the day’s activities and we headed back to our cottage as the rain began to slow down. Ironically, the rain did eventually stop and the sky completely cleared, but only AFTER we finished the rosary and NOT BEFORE as we had requested of Our Lady.

Shortly after we arrived at the cottage, the sky began to clear and a stunning double rainbow appeared (and there was much rejoicing). The dominant one was a full rainbow and may have been the brightest I’ve ever seen. The photos below are pale in comparison to the live view. You’ll need to imagine the center of the rainbow of course; the camera could not zoom out enough.

I saw the rainbow as a reminder from Mary to always persevere in our prayer because God wins in the end. We tend to cease praising God or are deterred in prayer because we are not answered in the way we requested. The rainbow was a reminder to me not to link our prayers to our own selfishness.


  1. How Beautiful!
    We thank the Lord for the grace to persevere in prayer. How often God seems to say, 'You can't even imagine the wonders I have in store for you.'
    Perhaps this could be used in a Sunday church bulletin to advertise AFC.
    All for...
    Alice Hunt

  2. Love Catholic Familyland! It will energize your whole family. As they say, "a little slice of heaven right here on earth."