A couple of weeks ago I was blessed to be able to be the Deacon of the Mass and preach at Annunciation and St. Stephen parishes. Parishioners in both communities welcomed me with open arms, kind words and big smiles.
Yes, I could tell they were smiling even with their masks on. I suddenly felt at home and left Mass telling myself that I was eager to return as soon as possible. My heart was touched by the tremendous hospitality I felt before, during and after Mass. Although I have not had the opportunity to preach as the Deacon at St. Francis, I can honestly say I have also felt very welcomed by the St. Francis faith community through previous visits and encounters with parishioners and staff.
In the book, Stewardship a Disciples Response (p.9), stewardship is defined as recognizing and receiving God’s gifts gratefully, to tend to them faithfully, to share them generously, and to return them to the Lord with increase. This foundation of faith in God as the source of all supports the four pillars that help us work together to realize God’s Kingdom of Love.
These pillars are hospitality, prayer, formation, and service. It is this first pillar of hospitality, a generous welcoming spirit I readily experienced in our One in Christ Area Catholic Community sister parishes.
Hospitality demonstrates that in a world of growing divisions, conflicts and discord we understand what it means to be a community in Christ. Wherever we gather we are united by something bigger than what the world can offer. Our shared relationship through the Body of Christ.
As a parishioner and staff member of Sacred Heart for the last 10 years I am excited to see what God has in store for us as an Area Catholic Community. New and exciting relationships, opportunities for prayer, formation and service abound as we share our gifts, resources, and love with each other. We begin with hospitality as missionary disciples in our own family, parishes, and ACC. We are so blessed to have each other and thank you again for opening your arms and hearts.
Through the peace of Christ,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC