“It was sheer pandelerium,” he declared emphatically. On the way out of the chapel that morning, I heard one man call across to Fr. Pat, “I’m going home to check my dictionary on that one, Father. Pandelerium, I think that’s one of those George Bush terms,” he laughed.

The priest’s enthusiasm, the baptism of a baby during Mass and the good-natured bantering between the congregant and the priest after Mass, was a wonderful start to Easter morning for our family while on vacation in Georgia over the Easter break.

As we left the chapel, our daughters, and even my husband, Eddie, who can be a bit of a cynic, talked about the uplifting experience. The priest’s obvious love of the church and his down-to-earth way of sharing the message of Christ’s Resurrection was infectious. He certainly had an impact upon my family.

Inwardly, I reflected upon the importance of making God part of our family vacations. Had we taken a vacation from faith, while on vacation in the south this year, we would have missed this wonderful experience of worshipping with such an inspiring priest, along with a chapel full of young, ethnically diverse military families.

Over the years, as we’ve vacationed across the country, we’ve repeated this experience many times. While not every Mass was as inspiring and uplifting as the recent Easter Sunday Mass, in one way or another, they’ve all given our family a glimpse into the universality of the Catholic Church, and have helped us remember what is important in our lives, even when we are on vacation from our normal lives in Milwaukee.

Jennifer Christ, in our “Faith & Family” feature on Page 9 talks about the importance of recognizing and consciously making an effort to be sure that God is part of your family vacations.

Christ does more than recommend Sunday Mass attendance while on vacation, she offers several other practical ways to incorporate God’s presence into the joy and relaxation of a vacation. With the summer traveling season right around the corner, her suggestions are practical and easy to put into action. In fact, you’re probably doing some of them without consciously thinking of them as putting your faith into action!

Speaking of vacation packing, don’t forget to take along the camera. Catholic Herald Parenting is once again looking for photos to grace the covers of our issues next publishing year. We’re looking for photos of children (or children and adults), enjoying life or celebrating special moments such as first Communions, confirmations, Christmas or other holidays. For complete 2011 cover photo contest details, see Page 4. Be among the first to enter by Friday, May 20 and we’ll enter your name in a drawing for a free College for Kids class at UW-Milwaukee this summer.

Following this issue, Catholic Herald Parenting takes a brief hiatus over the summer. We’ll return to our regular publishing schedule with the September issue.

Until then, have a wonderful, safe, faith-filled summer!