Carmel Bulletin, 14 June 2015
Recently, the pastoral council facilitated a parish forum that was focused on our parish vision that all families feel supported, connected and valued as they live and grow in their faith. At that forum, some people recalled the practice of a former parish priest, Fr Laurie, who encouraged us to greet each other once we had gathered for Mass.
I have written here previously about the timing and meaning of the Rite of Peace at Mass, and about hospitality at Mass. What the reflections of those who were present raised, however, was the obvious need for hospitality as part of our liturgical ministry to each other, and as a part of extending welcome and support to those who, for whatever reason, find themselves at our church even though they are not a regular participant in our celebrations.
One of the strategies that the pastoral council has identified from the feedback given at the forum is to extend welcome to new parishioners and to all who come to worship. Over the coming months, the Liturgy Committee will begin to look at this in greater depth, examining what genuine welcome and hospitality look like in the context of the liturgy and ministry, and what steps we can take to strengthen this aspect of our parish life.
Of course, however, that doesn’t leave everyone else off the hook! The vision is not the pastoral council vision, or the liturgy committee vision, but the parish vision. It is still up to every one of us to work together to make people feel like they can truly belong to our faith community.