Beyond Hospitality

In follow up to the article on hospitality, I wanted us to reflect on what more we can do after welcoming our new parishioners before the Sunday Mass. Greeting them with a lei before Mass is meaningful, but what happens next? The first thing our hospitality ministers need to do is meet them after Mass and give them a registration form as they do not know where to find them. This past Sunday I met one new parishioner who was walking away with a lei and I asked her where she came from and said she had just moved to Mililani from Waipio. She wanted to register, and so I gave her the registration form which she completed and gave to me. We have to make an effort to encounter them before they leave the campus. If I am new in the parish and I receive a lei and no one bothers to talk to me after Mass, I might not come back because I do not matter at all!

Beyond hospitality in the Church, the first step the pastor takes after receiving a registration form is to send a letter of welcome to the new parishioner. A letter from the pastor is not enough. In the 2017 and 2018 we started meeting with new parishioners, mainly to introduce them to our parish. We have had two such meetings that take place after the 11 am Mass on the rectory lanai with a light lunch. Hospitality ministers, parish staff two of us priests are usually present.

Along with self-introduction, the new parishioners share a little about themselves and what they like about our parish. We also introduce our parish to the new parishioners using our well researched parish brochure that contains all the beautiful art work in our church. In this way we engage our new parishioners so that they feel a sense of belonging. Part of engaging new parishioners is also to lead them share the talents and gift they bring along to the parish. In that process, we help them to identify what their contribution to the life of the parish would be in terms of ministry.  

Monsignor John S. Mbinda