Summer Hospitality Tips

Summer Hospitality Tips

 

It seems that summer is finally making its way to Western South Dakota. For many in our Diocese, summer means the arrival of out-of-town guests and tourists to our homes and churches.  I was reminded of the young woman from Bismarck who came to Girls Totus Tuus Camp last year because of the warm welcome she and her family received at Blessed Sacrament in Rapid City while here visiting.  And I also remember the story told by Ruth Durst of St. Ambrose’s in Deadwood.  As part of their efforts to increase hospitality, they decided to have hospitality ministers stand outside on the steps of the church when the weather was good.  This proved to be very enlightening.  Parishioners watched as tourists drove around and around trying to find parking near the church. As it turns out, most visitors had no idea the church has a parking lot.  It seemed clear that better signage was needed.

 

Interested in taking a quick pulse of hospitality in your parish?

As you might remember, the Office of Stewardship is working to update our web pages.  In the course of looking over all that had been previously uploaded to our page, I found notes from a workshop at the 2016 International Stewardship Conference titled, “Parish Hospitality:  Much More Than Greeters At the Church Door”.  It is full of suggestions including:

  • Tips for the Front Office
  • Ways of Welcoming New Parishioners
  • Ways of Building a Sense of Belonging
  • 15-Point Checklist for Hospitality
  • Rewards of Generous Hospitality

If you would like to use this resource, you may download it here.

If you are interested in pursuing Generous Hospitality in a more intentional way, consider entering the Stewardship Parish process.  The Office of Stewardship is happy to guide you and provide support at each stage.  Please give us a call if you would like to learn more.

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

2 + 3 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

A Unique Stewardship for a Unique Place

A Unique Stewardship for a Unique Place

 For many years, stewardship in the Catholic Church was often distilled into three words: time, talent and treasure. It was a catchy alliteration and it had value. It very concisely categorized the many good gifts given to us by God. It allowed us to look at three distinct areas of our lives and ask, “When I look at how I spend my money, my time and what I do with my talent, what does it say about what I believe? What does it say about what I value most?”

But these three words don’t give us too much help when we are striving to be parishes that are vibrant, growing and inspirational and are truly places where people come to know Jesus in a deeply personal way and are formed into mature disciples of Jesus Christ. I believe Bishop Gruss’ deepest desire is for the people of South Dakota to encounter the Lord and this is at the heart of why he has given us a vision of Stewardship that is uniquely our own.

In the Diocese of Rapid City, stewardship is defined as Living a Catholic Way of Life through Generous Hospitality, Lively Faith and Dedicated Discipleship.

We live Generous Hospitality through:

  • Welcome: welcoming both visitors and parishioners as if they were Christ
  • Invitation: developing a spirituality of invitation where one begins to practice regularly and consistently inviting others into closer union with Jesus and to journey with you in life and in faith.
  • Fellowship: valuing time spent with Jesus and others above other interests and providing space and opportunity for people to develop friendships and foster a sense of belonging.

We live Lively Faith through:

  • Prayer: being communities of prayer and being people of prayer. Prayer is our first and most important priority both as individuals, as families and as parishes.
  • Study: Being life-long learners. We commit to participating in ongoing study of scripture, the teachings of the church and the lives of the saints.
  • Formation: Being people of virtue. We strive for excellence in all areas of life. We commit to helping each other grow in holiness and in wholeness through human, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual formation.

We live Dedicated Discipleship through:

  • Intentional Love of God: Loving God above all things, to serve Him unreservedly and to desire to do His will in all things.
  • Intentional Love of Neighbor: Loving others as we love ourselves. To lay down our lives for others in imitation of Jesus. To see Christ in others and to love them as He loves.

In all times and in all places Jesus is inviting us into His life and love. He is inviting us to be holy. He is inviting us to participate in His mission to bring salvation to all humankind. In this time and in this place, he is inviting us to do so through these lenses.

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

9 + 12 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

“Only for today” Let’s Live This Catholic Way of Life More Deeply

“Only for today” Let’s Live This Catholic Way of Life More Deeply

Grant O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.”

from the Collect for  Ash Wednesday

The Homilist at the Mass I attended on Ash Wednesday shared that it struck him that the Collect for the Mass talked about Lent as a campaign of Christian service.  His calling attention to this point caused me to reflect on this season of Lent and how it might be seen as a campaign of Christian Service through the lenses of our Stewardship Pillars.

Generous Hospitality: Invitation, Welcome, Fellowship.  This is perhaps the most obvious of the three.  The practices of Welcome and Invitation are acts of service to another.  For example, we offer others a warm welcome, we extend an invitation to them to participate in an activity at the parish or into a ministry.   Fellowship, the third aspect of Generous Hospitality, also has a strong element of service.  Someone is typically working hard to create the space for fellowship to happen.  Someone is cooking a meal or preparing a place for people to gather, etc. 

But I think we can take this one step further and perhaps should in the season of Lent.  A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting with Sr. Lorane, a Benedictine Sister at St. Martin’s Monastery.  She said,

“Benedictine hospitality has an element in it of giving of your heart to the other.  Also, when guests are welcomed into a Benedictine monastery, St. Benedict asked that they be welcomed into the life of prayer and work that is the religious life. They are invited to experience the monastic life.”

When we extend Generous Hospitality in our homes and in our churches, we are encouraged to have the same mind; to give something of ourselves to the one we are welcoming or inviting, a giving of our time, our full attention, our knowledge, a part of who we are and to know that we are welcoming them more fully into the life of the parish family. We want them to feel as if they belong.

Lively Faith: Prayer, Study, Formation.  Prayer as Christian service could mean that we take the needs of others to prayer.  To be more intentional about lifting others and their needs up to the Lord would be a good practice for Lent.  But I felt challenged to think about how often I pray with only my own needs and desires in mind.  I am challenged by the fact that prayer is the foundation of a relationship between two persons, myself and God.  How often is God the focus of my prayer?  How often is my prayer other-centered, rather than self-centered.  No relationship can be deemed a mature one if my only focus within the relationship is, “how is this person meeting my needs? What is this person doing for me?”  I am challenged to spend time in prayer this Lent with the mind just to be with Jesus, to spend time with Him, to love Him.  Study for its own sake and for our own spiritual growth is good, but perhaps this Lent we could explore ways to extend our learning to others, either by teaching or by inviting others to learn alongside us.  Formation involves the development of virtue in myself and others.  What virtue might I strengthen that would free me to be of service to others?

Dedicated Discipleship: Intentional Love of God and Neighbor.  Lent offers us a beautiful time to be more intentional, to not leave our charity to chance, but to make conscious decisions to express our love of God and others.  One resource I have found helpful in my own life is St. John XXIII’s Decalogue:

Only for today, let’s look for an opportunity to live This Catholic Way of Life more deeply. And tomorrow let’s do the same and so live well through this 40-day “campaign of Christian service” offered to us by the Church.

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

14 + 15 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

True Fellowship: Generous and Sacrificial

True Fellowship: Generous and Sacrificial

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:38

This is the end of this Sunday’s Gospel and whenever I hear it, it always touches a deep place in my heart.  There was a time in my life where this reading would call forth a much different image than it does today. 

Once, I believe I would imagine a little finger shaking along with this statement, kind of like, “Watch out! What you dish out will be dished back to you.”  It was an admonition, a warning.  Received in the negative sense.

Today, though, I have a completely different reaction.  Rather than seeing it in the negative, I see it as an affirmation of generosity, a beautiful image of how we have the choice to enlarge our capacity to receive goodness from God and from others. 

The literal image that comes to my mind when I hear this gospel will probably make you smile:  it is paper products.  A room full of paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, cups and napkins.  I have that image because of the great blessing of good friends who are generous and kind and who have sacrificed time and shared themselves with us over the course of twenty-five years.  This friendship is true fellowship.  And it is the kind of fellowship which our Stewardship Initiative encourages under the pillar of Generous Hospitality. 

Our friendship was forged when we both decided to help with a church ministry which serves engaged couples.  It was strengthened when we made time over the years for campouts, meetings, dinners, picnics and parties with all those who helped in the ministry.  And the fruits it bore over the years came home to me two summers ago. 

My friends were in the midst of great suffering.  Their young adult son was dying of liver cancer.  He had come home to be cared for by his family.  They welcomed us into this difficult time just as generously as they had welcomed us to all the joyous occasions of their family life.  So we were present to watch the many, many people who came by to support them, to visit with them, to drop off food and to drop off paper products.  I was overwhelmed at how many people came and brought something. 

And what came to my heart so clearly standing among so much abundance was, “the measure with which you measure will be measured to you.”  This family’s generosity and kindness poured out to so many over many years was now being measured back to them.  In both the giving and the receiving, their capacity to receive was made larger. 

This is the beauty in living a Catholic Way of Life.  The good measure is pressed down, shaken together and running over.  And sometimes it comes to us in very concrete ways, like a year’s supply of paper towels. Sometimes the fruits are less tangible but no less real, like the confirmation and deepening of my knowledge of the truth that no matter how difficult or sad a situation is, God is ALWAYS good and His mercy and his love is always present, and being poured into laps ready to receive.  A commitment to fostering genuine fellowship helps us enter that stream.  

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

11 + 7 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

Welcome the Little Children

Welcome the Little Children

This Saturday we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord when Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to the Lord as was prescribed in the Jewish Law.  Both Anna and Simeon receive the Lord and see in him the fulfillment of their desire to see the Messiah. 

This story has encouraged me to ponder how we welcome all children.  I am mindful of St. Benedict’s instruction, quoted in the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, “Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ”.  I have experienced many ways children are welcomed with Generous Hospitality in our churches.  For instance, I remember one time after spending a hard hour with several rambunctious, unhappy and rather loud toddlers and preschoolers of my own, a woman sitting in front of us turned around and said, “It was such a blessing to have your family with us for Mass today.  Thank you for coming.”  That simple act was a great encouragement to me.  I am always grateful when priests make a special point to welcome families with small children and assure parents that their presence is welcome in the church.  Lastly, the visitor information card that has been placed in the pews at Our Lady of the Black Hills comes to mind.  On it they have this statement:

“To parents of young children:  RELAX!  God put the wiggle in children; don’t feel you have to suppress those wiggles in God’s house.  If you must leave with your child during the Mass, please be sure to come back!  We want both of you to be part of our church family celebration time.  Please encourage your child to sing, pray and join the spoken responses.  They can also worship by moving to the music or clapping.

To our Parishioners:  REMINDER, the way we welcome children in Church directly affects the way they respond to the Church, to God, to Christ and to one another.  The presence of children is a gift to the Church and they are a reminder that our parish is growing.  A smile of encouragement is always welcome to parents with small, active children!”

As adults, we often times think of our role as teachers and leaders of children; sometimes we forget that they are given to us as a gift and there are many ways in which they teach and lead us as well.  In fact, this is by God’s design.  Children are one way God reaches down to us to lead us to Himself. We can be grateful for the gift of children in our day; for the beautiful way they witness to us the Joy of the Gospel and the how their enthusiasm, sense of wonder and willingness to live fully in the moment is truly the way we are all called to live.  Often, children remind us of truths we have forgotten.  This Sunday, and every Sunday, let’s lift our hearts to God in gratitude for the gift of the children in our midst and let us welcome them as Jesus was welcomed by Simeon and Anna in the Temple.  Let us be generous in our gratitude and in our hospitality to them and to their parents who accompany them.

 

 

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

14 + 10 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

The Sacrifice of Being Welcoming

The Sacrifice of Being Welcoming

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  The Gospel reading recounts Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan.  After Jesus comes up out of the water, heaven was opened and a voice came from heaven announcing, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  (cf. Luke 3:21-22)  Notice that God the Father did not say, “you are my ONLY beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 

 The truth is that, we are all beloved children of God and despite our imperfections, He is well pleased with us.  And although, we might in some sense know that is true, I think that much of the time we don’t really believe it.  When Bishop Gruss first came to our Diocese, he often shared how he had been told his whole life, “Jesus loves you” but that he didn’t really know what that meant.  It wasn’t until he was struggling as an adult that he began praying every day, “Jesus, if you are real and you do love me, show me that love in a real and concrete way today.”  He says that prayer changed his life.  In fact, that prayer is the reason we have him as our Shepherd in the Diocese of Rapid City.  Bishop Gruss knew that Jesus loved him; he hadn’t experienced that love.

 Bishop Gruss’ example teaches us about the importance of prayer.  He did not experience the love of God in his own life until he began praying in a very deliberate, consistent and intentional way.  Prayer is essential.  That is why it is a central element in our Stewardship initiative under the pillar of Lively Faith. 

 This experience of God’s love comes directly to us from Him in prayer.  However, it comes to us through the actions of others as well.  Many years ago, I read a book by Dr. Ross Campbell called, “How to Really Love Your Child.”  As a psychiatrist, he had worked with hundreds of families who were struggling.  He said that he had never met a parent who said they didn’t love their child, but that he had worked with hundreds of kids who didn’t think their parents loved them.  Clearly, there was a disconnect — parents who loved their children but weren’t able to convey that love in a way the child received it. 

I am convinced this doesn’t just happen in the parent-child relationship.  It happens in other relationships in our lives and it happens to us as church communities, when we desire to share the Love of Christ with others but that message is not given in a way that others receive or experience the tender love of Jesus.  I believe the Holy Spirit has given us the gift of our stewardship initiative to assist us in bridging this gap. 

The pillar of Generous Hospitality and the concrete examples of how this is done in the characteristics, as well as the witness of so many inside and outside of our Diocese of how hospitality is lived out in concrete, real actions provides us with real and practical help in this area. 

I continue to be challenged to grow in my own hospitality.  I recently read the beautiful new apostolic exhortation by Bishop Olmsted on the family (http://www.catholicsun.org/2018/12/30/complete-my-joy-in-major-new-document-bishop-olmsted-urges-fathers-mothers-to-commit-their-families-to-a-deeper-relationship-with-christ/).  In it, he shares this quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta:

“And so less and less we are in touch with each other.  The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness.  People are starving for love because everybody is in such a great rush.”

 

 

Generous Hospitality requires an attentiveness to the other.  One of the biggest obstacles in my own life to this attentiveness is my tendency to rush through the day.  Slowing down requires a sacrifice on my part; to sacrifice my time and attention and give it to another.  It also requires a certain sensitivity to how others are experiencing life. 

This was brought to my attention yesterday when I witnessed a friend reach out to a visitor from Colombia.  He offered to take our visitor fishing or hunting and I think his offer came from a genuine desire to make this man feel welcome here and a willingness to sacrifice time to give that gift.  I thought to myself, it is pretty easy to wish this man Buenos Días and go on with my day.  Both my friend’s example and Mother Teresa are challenging me to a greater hospitality. 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

15 + 12 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418