welcome-434118_640Recently, I stopped by a parish to see a staff member. The receptionist greeted me warmly, inquired how she could be of help, contacted the staff member, and then invited me to have a seat until he was available. Then, she did something that I’ve never exprienced in all my years of visiting parish offices and rectories.

She asked if I wanted something to drink!

I was indeed thirsty and requested a glass of water which she promptly provided me with. I told her how unique this was in my experience and thanked her for her kindness and hospitality.

Her gesture was an example of evangelization in action!

Now, contrast that with something a friend of mine shared with me today. She said that a parish recently had a stewardship Sunday and invited people to volunteer for various ministries. She said that she filled out a card and checked off her areas of interest but never received a response. She next went to the parish Web site and found several places where she could contact them to express her desire to serve in a couple of capacities.

Again, she never got a response.

Needless to say, she was very disheartened. She asked me if this was unusual and I told her that unfortunately, it is all too familiar. I personally have had several experiences like that over the last couple of years. I contacted parishes through their Web sites to inquire about various service opportunities and never received a reply.

I think it’s wonderful that parishes invite people to fill out cards or visit a Web site to express interest in sharing their time and talent, but it is absolutely imperative that the parish has a plan in place for immediately responding to folks!

How does your parish coordinate responding to people who express interest in sharing their time and talent?

About Joe Paprocki 2748 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

2 Comments on Responsiveness

  1. I had a similar experience as your friend when I moved here. I checked out a couple parishes and more or less settled on one and then sought to get involved. I e-mailed a couple people, never got a response. I did end up helping out at one thing, but didn’t really feel useful and again got pretty much no response when I expressed a desire to get involved. So I ended up changing parishes. The one I’m at now was thrilled to have me and I’ve found my place there and have even started working there part time, so it has ended up working out great, but it is certainly frustrating to hear parishes wanting help, but not getting any response when you offer.

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