Stories of Hospitality, the First Pillar of Stewardship, at St Vincent de Paul Parish

                When you think of “hospitality” what images come to mind?  “Welcoming?” “Inviting.” “Friendliness” might be a few.  How do we show this as a parish?  I do enjoy it when I am waiting for Mass to start in the gathering spaces of our chapels and one of our greeters is employing their child or children to hand out the song books before Mass! I mean… who is going to refuse a song book from an eager smiling child in our parish? Answer… Not many! What a beautiful example and way to welcome someone into our church! An eager smiling child with a book saying through action, “come pray with us; come sing with us!” That is hospitality. 

                When Mass is over and people are hanging around visiting and not trying to get a way as quickly as possible, that shows that they are engaged with each other and wanting a few more moments of each other’s time.  This is an example of hospitality and we priests see it after every Mass including the weekday Masses.  Hospitality. 

                The Social Concerns Commission and Pastoral Council gave the green light to the pastors, when there was no one else, we, The Catholic Community opened up the basement to St Patrick for the warming shelter. And, when it looked like a church needed to take ownership of the warming shelter to secure its continued existence, again the parish leadership rallied around this reality. Inviting people out of the cold into our humble, albeit, warm conditions; this is a huge testament to hospitality.  And, think of the many parishioners taking the lead, working the front lines, side lines and behind the scenes to not give up on one day Sedalia having a Mercy Rest Stop so we can help people move toward self-sufficiency getting even more of their basic needs met.  This, my brothers and sisters, is hospitality! 

                St Vincent de Paul, over the last year, has reached out to several families, not one after another, but several families at the same time who needed support as their loved one battle very difficult health issues: reaching out by driving them to  appointments, taking them food, praying with them, being with them,  and helping out in a myriad of ways to many across our community — that is the pillar of hospitality. It says we see you, we care for you and we will be the Simons of Cyrene carrying the cross with you.  That is being in solidarity with our community members in need. That is hospitality.  

                I’ve just described ways in which we show hospitality.  How is the Lord calling you to reach out to someone this week to offer hospitality? Ask the Lord; He will show you; then follow.  Thank you for all the ways you have been showing hospitality. Let it become even more of your steward’s way of life as we embark on this way of life together.