.- Bishop Vicente Jimenez of Santander said summer vacations should be dedicated to cultivating and enriching the spirit and not only to rest and distraction.
The bishop, whose diocese includes the Cantabrian Sea coast, which is a popular tourist destination, has written a pastoral letter inviting Catholics to take advantage of vacation time in the region “to cultivate the spirit, to contemplate nature and practice family life.”
Vacations “are necessary and refreshing because they encompass so many values: it is fitting to interrupt our habitual occupations and even to leave our own environment in which we live our daily life,” Bishop Jimenez said.
He stressed that vacation time should include prayer, reflection, silence and listening, since the business of daily life often does not allow for “something so basic as interior silence.”
“People today barely have time to think and mediate calmly and without hurry. We live in an agitated and unpeaceful society, which makes us incapable of paying attention to the needs of others and even incapable of being alone with ourselves and with God,” Bishop Jimenez said in his letter. “For this reason, retreats or spiritual exercises, visits to shrines and other activities that aid in exterior silence and interior listening are recommended.”