Entertaining Strangers

So what difference will it make?
We are a welcoming parish. We know it. Even former parishioners come back and comment on how we remain a hospitable place to worship.

So what difference will it make?
A month or so ago there was a family sitting in front of me. And as mass progressed, I knew they weren’t from around here. How could I tell? Well, they jumped whenever the choir belted out a response. They didn’t reach out their hands quickly for the Lord’s Prayer. They were unsure at Communion about which way to turn. So, I thought to myself, “yup, they’re not from around here.”

As the closing song faded they moved to leave the pew and fold into the stream of folks leaving the church. I reached out and tapped the man on his shoulder. He jumped a bit and turned around to see who had touched him. I said, “Hi, welcome to St. Blase.”

So what difference will it make?
Oh you should have seen the smile on his face. And then my wife said hello and the man sitting with us and the couple next to him did the same. This new member and his wife visibly relaxed and immediately started to share a bit of their story. As we parted company, their jumpiness seemed to disappear. No longer strangers; now we are friends.

So what difference will it make?
You’ll never know until you try.

When most Catholics hear the word Evangelization, they get uncomfortable, often associating it with people going door to door,
standing on street corners, or being pushy in a variety of social situations from work to school. Many also think that evangelization is proselytizing, preaching, and converting, and that this is relegated to a select few of enthusiastic, committed parishioners who possess the knowledge and dedication to bring others to church. This is intimidating to many people. They feel they will be exposed for what they don’t know, rather than talking about what they do.

Do any of the following describe you?
* One of my favorite things is a long talk with friends.
* I usually enjoy discussions and debates on different questions.
* I generally prefer to physically help people rather than become involved in religious discussions.
* I am happy when I am able to include new people in the activities I am involved in.
*I often identify with people by stating, “I tend to think like that” or “I used to feel that way, too. ”If any of the above describes you, then you are evangelizing. Just as there are different people in this world, so are there different styles of evangelization. The word evangelization comes from the Greek word for gospel, or the “good news” of Jesus Christ. Thus the fundamental mission of the Church is to spread this “good news”.