One of the efforts that the leadership of our parish has been concentrating on is Radical Hospitality. The objective here is that we become a welcoming, accepting and inclusive faith community. Great Hospitality is a culture, not just a ministry. Disney calls all of their workers “Cast Members” – not just those who are in costume, but even those who sweep up the park. They are cast members because they help set the stage of the experience of each guest. They all have a role in people feeling welcome.
Parishioners are the “Front Door” of the parish. People go “through them” – both in their experiences at church, and in what they hear about the church from them – to get to the Church. The laity is the public face of the church – NOT the priests and staff.
The poet, Maya Angelou writes:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Research shows us that with regard to a person’s Experience at church the following is a constant:
- First 10 minutes matter the most!
- People should feel WANTED not just welcomed!
- If we have Name Badges then let us wear them!
- Greeters develop the culture of hospitality.
On this Ash Wednesday we will have large crowds attending all of our Masses. This will provide an opportunity for each and everyone of us to be intentional in our welcoming of those who do not ordinarily attend Mass here at OMC. I will give a special Welcome Litany before each Mass as we did at all of our Christmas Masses.
I look forward to welcoming each of our guests on Ash Wednesday and I know you will join me in doing this as well.