Sunday, May 10, 2015

Welcoming Others: Parish Bulletin--5-10-15

A very happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms!  None of us would be here without a Mom and thank you for all you do (especially if you have a punk son who is now a priest). 
            Also, welcome and good luck to you fishermen on the opener.  If you are reading this, you came to Mass on opening weekend—praise God!  You defy the false reasoning (as did St. Peter) “I’d rather be fishing thinking about God than in Church thinking about fishing.”  (By the way, would anyone say this about a million dollars—“I’d rather be fishing thinking about a million dollars than in a bank cashing out a million dollars thinking about fishing”?) 
Moving on…I would like to thank you all for your efforts in welcoming people to our family of faith!  For the past several of months, it seems like every weekend there is a new person or family paying us a visit.  More than this, people stopping by for worship are paying God a visit!  A smile, greeting, introduction and offering to sit with newcomers goes a long way in making them feel like part of our parish.
            I have heard many good reports from both parishioners and non-parishioners of our efforts to grow as a welcoming community.  This is what evangelism—sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ—is all about.  Keep up the great work.
            One of the simplest ways we show hospitality is by hosting coffee and donuts after our 10:30 Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas (or the last weekend of the month at St. Columban’s).  I know, I know, I may be obsessed about chocolate covered raised donuts, but bear with me!  Stop and look around what goes on at our post-Mass celebration of delectables—kids are happily running around after a sugar spike, parents are talking, visitors are introduced—in short fellowship occurs and our parish grows because of it.
            Two thoughts—summer is coming up and I would like to see such fellowship continue after 10:30 Mass, especially as we will have many visitors to welcome and host.  I realize it’s vacation season, but if you could commit to a weekend or two to serve coffee and donuts during the summer months we would all appreciate it!  (By way of reminder, hosting is easy…it will take about ten minutes of your time and provide hundreds of smiles and satiated stomachs).  Please call the office or stop by to pick a date and receive instructions.
            Second—keep introducing yourselves to people you don’t know in these opportunities of fellowship—this includes both visitors and the regulars.  The reality is, most of our weekend attendees don’t know everyone at Church.  While it may be awkward to introduce someone you’ve seen at Mass for years, keep building connections with parishioners and guests alike. 
            Evangelism, hospitality and welcoming go hand-in-hand-in-hand.  Keep inviting people to come to Mass and reach out to them when they arrive! 
Happy Mothers’ Day and opening fishing!
            God Bless!

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