Evangelization Starts Here: A Welcoming Community

I hear people say all the time that they wish more young families would attend Mass regularly. That’s not going to happen unless regular attendees are more welcoming to those young families who venture forth to test the waters of our parishes. For too long, Catholics have arrived/settled into their pews in church in a manner similar to passengers boarding a certain airline: once you get your seat, you try not to make eye-contact with […]

One Parish’s Initiative to Be More Welcoming

Just over a year ago, Steven Serafin and his pastor were the new people at St. Mary’s Parish in Dover, NJ. This gave them the opportunity to approach faith formation with fresh eyes. As Pastoral Associate and Director of Faith Formation, Steven shared about a parish initiative called the “theology of welcome” in an interview with Loyola Press. Following the message put forth by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with the New Evangelization, St. Mary’s is […]

When Christ Comes, Let Us Welcome Him

The Christmas season is one of immense opportunity for us to re-engage those who come to church only sporadically. During this time, we should be especially effusive and warm in our welcoming efforts. Unfortunately, hospitality has become synonymous with coffee and donuts after Mass in many parishes. We seem to have relegated welcoming to a particular committee such as the Stewardship Committee or the Hospitality Committee. Not only has this mindset absolved our parishioners of […]

The Welcoming Parish Family

As a mother of three young children, Mass can be a bit of an unpredictable experience at times. I remember one particular time when my pastor, Father Bill, called for a moment of silence during Mass and our two-year-old son Ian shouted at the top of his lungs, “Boo, boo, I scare me!” Needless to say, that moment of silence was shattered by a couple of giggles throughout the congregation. While I am always thankful […]