We usually notice the people who come to our parish in great numbers on Christmas, Ash Wednesday, and Easter. But more frequently, people slip into a Sunday liturgy, a daily Mass, or a parish prayer service, and sit alone in the back of the church.Some of them undoubtedly hunger for God and want to hear a message of meaning and purpose for their lives. Some may be seeking solace or healing for themselves or another. Some may desire a sense of belonging, of being accepted and valued for who they are.
Unless we are attentive, and engage with people around us on a regular basis, we may not even notice people coming—and going—in their spiritual search.
Watch ‘Fran’s Story’ about a woman who grew up in a Catholic family and observed Catholic traditions. When a friend suggested that she come with her to the local Alliance Church, Fran was touched with the welcome she received from church members, and even the minister. Eventually, Fran decided to return back to her home parish, where she was recognized and welcomed back.
But what if Fran had gone back to the parish and no one spoke to her or made her feel welcome? Would Fran have stayed? Would her spiritual needs have been met?
Take the opportunity to reflect and consider the parish as not just the place to go to Mass, but as the welcoming home of God’s family.
Fran's story is one of a series of videos developed by RENEW International as part of the Be My Witness process. These real-life stories offer examples of Catholics witnessing to the power of faith. The videos and companion book form the core elements of the small-group phase of the parish formation process designed to engage parishioners as disciples in daily life and in parish evangelization outreach.
For more encouragement, read more on the topic Welcome Matters.