August the Holiday Season
Written by Radio Maria England on 07/08/2020
What are you planning on doing during these August holidays? Travelling? Pilgrimage? Are there any special celebrations you observe during the month of August? Read Joanna Bogle’s blog post and listen to her Feasts and Seasons episodes to get some ideas of what you can do with your family. Also, share with us what you’re up to. Contact us or send us a message on our Facebook page.
August sometimes seems a slightly dull season in the Church’s calendar: apart from the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady on August 15th, there are not many notable feast-days or special commemorations!
For many centuries, this was a time of hard work: the harvest had to be brought in, with wheat gathered to ensure bread for the winter, vegetables and fruit picked and stored. But harvesting was – and still should be – a time for prayer and for thanksgiving. In Medieval times, the first wheat gathered was used to make Communion bread for a special Mass – the Loaf Mass at the start of August – asking God’s blessing on the harvest.
These days, not many of us live near fields of wheat. We too easily forget about where we get our bread. The beautiful words of the liturgy at Mass are a reminder: at the Offertory we recall that the bread is the “fruit of the earth and work of human hands” and it will become for us the Bread of life.
In Britain today August is the holiday season – and this year, even with the Coronavirus restrictions, many are still able to get away from everyday routines. This should be an opportunity for spiritual as well as physical refreshment. It’s a chance to reconnect with things that really matter.
Sunday Mass has become possible again as churches have re-opened. But there are restrictions, and somehow it all feels a bit complicated and difficult.
It’s worth a quick internet check to find out where you will go for Sunday Mass while away from home. Just put in the name of the place and the words “Catholic Church”. There will be a parish website with help and information. It can be fun finding out about a parish you have never visited before – and it’s a way to teach children about the universality of the Church, and the sense of belonging to something much, much bigger than just a familiar building at home. The name of the church may be of interest – perhaps a local saint or a special link connected with the parish history?
The Feast of the Assumption needs some special celebration. The old Irish tradition is that “there’s a blessing in the water” on that day, so it’s a day for paddling and swimming!
It’s also a day for special treats – and for a decade of the Rosary in the evening, perhaps said out of doors or in the car, or together at night as darkness falls and a happy day draws to its close…
And August is a good time to enjoy some harvesting. Picking blackberries is fun, and an opportunity to enjoy a park, common, or stretch of downland. And there are few things more delicious than a bowl of blackberries with thick cream – except perhaps blackberry-and-apple crumble with ditto!
Many families have their own special “family grace” that they like to use, asking God’s blessing on the meal. And the formal grace is one that we should all known by heart:
“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts
Which we receive from Your bounty
Through Christ Our Lord. Amen”