Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
A couple years ago on the feast of the Guardian Angels, a statue of an angel bowing low was brought out for use at our Payne Divine Mercy School Mass that day. I only recently learned that this angel is one half of a pair of angels that used to be positioned up on the high altar, such that it was clear that they were bowing low towards the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle on that altar. When I recently asked if we had the other angel, I was told that “Father Hemstreet took it to the lake, and it never came back.” Now that we have the Blessed Sacrament on the high altar again, it would be great to return those angels to their original positions. If anybody knows anything about how to track down the other angel that was taken to the lake, please speak up! We can do some investigating from the parish office, if we have a specific place we can call. I would love to get those angels returned to their place, to help us by their posture of worship towards the Blessed Sacrament more fully realize what we are doing when we attend Holy Mass.
On another note, a couple weeks ago we had our first official meeting of the “welcoming committee”. This committee is putting together a welcoming packet for new people who register at the parish. Once the packet is put together, this committee will also take responsibility for reaching out to anybody new in the parish. Right now we have no established way for doing that. On a number of occasions, when I’ve learned about somebody new, I’ve sent a letter to them, including a gift from the parish… A Catholic book of prayers, which is my favorite modern prayer book. But it would be good to do a bit more. The welcoming packet will contain a letter from me – personalized to the best of my ability for that new person – the latest bulletin, the volunteer ministry directory, a sheet that shows all the ways people can stay in touch with us via social media, a school brochure and PSR newsletter if there are children in the family, etc., etc.
The plan is that once we get a new registration from a family, somebody from the welcoming committee, pertaining to that campus, will give the family a call to welcome them. They will drop off the welcoming packet, briefly showing all the resources available at the parish. Perhaps they’ll also add a personal touch, such as something baked, or even a whole meal.
If we connect enough with persons even just traveling through town on vacation, and we get enough information about them, we would like at least to send them a card, acknowledging their presence with us, and welcoming them back whenever they are in town again. I created parish card stock as soon as I got here, and we use it all the time. Here’s another great purpose for that parish card stock.
Next we talked about how helpful it could be to create an official greeters’ position at each campus. Greeters have proved very helpful at Payne. At the other campuses, it could free the ushers up to do the more immediate work of helping people get seated, helping people use the elevator, handling any special cards or forms that have to be distributed in pews, etc., etc. The greeters would be at the door to open it for anybody who needs help. They could interact with anybody who appears new, letting them know where bathrooms, bulletins, handicap seating and other items are.
The job description of a greeter?: arrive to Mass one half hour beforehand. Open doors, especially for the elderly or anybody who might obviously have difficulty – people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs, baby carriers, etc. Greet everybody coming in with a casual greeting. Be sure not to “force greet” anybody who doesn’t respond brightly enough. Use common sense here.
If anybody reading this would be willing to become a greeter at any of our campuses, please contact the office ASAP, or one of our parish discipleship talent coordinators: Ann Olwin at Payne, Mike and Cindy Knight at Antwerp, or Laura Priest at Paulding.
In the future I plan on teaching more about the virtue of hospitality. Hospitality falls under the larger umbrella of charity. Hospitality (along with other virtues such as mercy, affability, beneficence, and friendliness) helps us desire to identify the authentic needs of others and fulfill them out of love for God. Showing hospitality to people coming to Mass can actually help them be better disposed to encounter Jesus in Holy Mass that day. What a privileged opportunity!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,