What is it like to be a new parishioner at St. Francis Xavier? Have you ever given thought to that? You may not have thought about it for a long time or ever, as there are many among us who are members of founding families of this parish. They may have been married here and celebrated their children’s Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations and even their marriages. What a beautiful legacy of shared faith with not only your immediate family, but your faith community as well. Generations of faith, what an incredible gift!
St. Francis Xavier welcomes new families numbering over 100 households per year. Today we gather to welcome new parishioners to our home, in hopes they will feel a part of us sooner rather than later. What this means is that every person in our parish from the very young child to the oldest member among us needs to be a welcoming presence to each and every person who passes through our doors. We have greeters and ushers whom we call “ministers of hospitality” who do a beautiful job of welcoming everyone who gathers for Mass and we can be very proud of that. But each of us has the same opportunity and quite frankly, the responsibility to be a welcoming presence to the people who gather to pray with us.
Be aware of those around you at Mass. Offer a smile and warm greeting as they join you in your seat. Help them to feel welcomed, not like they are bothering you because you need to slide further into the pew. Offer assistance if someone needs it, whether for themselves or their children. Be patient and kind to all, even the child who is not having a good day. Be generous as we share a sign of peace. If you are not shaking hands, offer that smile and the beautiful greeting of “peace be with you.” And when the final song is competed, wish one another a good day or make small talk on the way out. I can assure you, this will make a difference. For some it may be the only conversation or smile they will be offered this week. How wonderful that they would experience that in our shared house of God!
To be a new member of such a large parish can be intimidating. Many may be thinking; How will I ever get to know these people? How or will our family fit in?
So let us all take to heart this message as we welcome new members and visitors who gather with us to celebrate the Eucharist. We indeed, are all one body; one Body of Christ. Let us care for, welcome and serve one another as we celebrate our shared faith in Jesus Christ. A special welcome to all who have recently joined our parish. We are so glad you are here!! We look forward with joy for the opportunity to know you and your loved ones.
In friendship to all,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC