GMD 106: Welcoming Institutions

Readers might want to consult this chapter devoted to goal number two (GMD 104-116) at the USCCB web page. Eleven objectives are put forward. Topping the list is the desire to make the Church more welcoming through its institutions, especially parishes.

It makes sense to do an institutional review of everything. The best bet is to gather input. This can be done professionally, and the advice one gets is generally worth it, unless you’re already doing a fantastic job.

One can listen to new parishioners, especially people who can articulate plusses and minuses both. Why both? You want a serious thinker to be pondering what advice to give you. You don’t need sycophants and complainers. Their script will be the same no matter what.

Family outreach from child education programs–that seems a no-brainer: inviting parents to come to their kid’s special events, making sure that mainstream parishioners are there to welcome and socialize.

The bishops also suggest workshops on greetings and welcoming. The single biggest thing you can retrain your people to do is get out of the building and at the exterior doors, if not in the parking lot. The best seminar I can suggest is this one. These people do it right, from what I can tell.

The one area many parishes have done well is looking at accessibility issues inside the buildings and getting into them. There are even more people, probably in your own parish, who can tell you what you’re doing right and what’s wrong with the ability to see, hear, and move around. Getting advice on this front is the most accessible thing on this list.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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