Monday greetings. It's another one of "those days" here in the Midwest; raining with temperature in the mid-thirties. Makes you want to curl up under a blanket.
I spent the past several days in New Orleans. I gave a presentation at the Gulf Coast Faith Formation Conference. My focus was on cultivating intentional hospitality in the parish.
I had an interesting conversation with a woman who was in her early seventies. She spoke with me after my workshop. She shared some of her story. She went through the RCIA in the last two years. She decided to become a Catholic after her daughter married a Catholic and became Catholic herself. She decided to become Catholic because she wanted to help be a spiritual guide for her grandchildren, who will be formed in the Catholic faith.
Her description of the RCIA process in her parish was far from glowing. She said that everyone, save herself, who was in the RCIA was there because they were marrying a Catholic. She told me that no one ever asked any questions; they were just there to get through it. When she prodded these young adults, urging them to ask questions, they told her, "We wait for you to raise your hand; you ask all our questions for us."
Once she was initiated, she found that there was really nothing in place to help her become involved in the parish. Her pleas to the parish leadership were either ignored or unanswered. She told me that she eventually went to the diocesan offices to complain and to let them know that, even thought she went through the RCIA, she found that the parish was unwelcoming to this new Catholic!
I asked her to contact me to tell me more of her story. I am hoping to write a new book soon and want to weave some of these stories, as well as successful ones, into it. I am thinking of calling it "How About Starting with Hello?" Intentional Hospitality for the Parish.
This is my only day here in the office this week. I am headed to El Paso in the morning, where I will be giving two workshops and a WLP music showcase at the annual Southwest Liturgical Conference. Feeling a bit weary, but plugging away!
More from El Paso as the week unfolds.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.