St. Joseph Church at Night

Photo courtesy of Mike Carello.

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For Cantors: The Welcoming Ministry


Reflections for Liturgy

Copyright © 1995, 2003 by

Rick Swenton
106 Melinda Lane
Bristol, CT 06010-7199
All Rights Reserved

Permission is granted for use of this work in parish liturgy or music programs in a non-commercial setting provided that no fee is charged and that this copyright notice remains on all copies.

The Welcoming Ministry

For some people who have drifted away from the church, Christmas Masses call out to them and they return. Many of them have been away for some time, so Christmas will almost be a first contact (again) with the church. As Welcoming Ministers, we need to be especially aware of the needs of these people. Sometimes, things that we do, perceived or real, can be the turning point to either entice these people to stay or drive them away for good. Through Baptism they have just as much a right to be there as we do. But they certainly have a greater need to be welcomed. Furthermore, you have no way of telling if a stranger is a seasonal Catholic or a visiting friend or member of a parishioner’s family. As cantors, let’s set the stage of welcome this Christmas. Let’s see some smiles from the liturgical ministers inviting everyone to become a part of the celebration. We could be responsible for returning seasonal Catholics to active worship just by doing little things which make them feel included. Our church is truly a "rock of faith and vault of grace" where "all are welcomed in this place." What a great place to feel included!

All Are Welcome – Opportunities for Summertime

When Marty Haugen’s tune All Are Welcome was released, it enchanted my thoughts. Summertime is a time when many people are visiting family and going to church while on vacation. There will be people visiting your parish during the summer who perhaps have never been here before. We are a church (a family of people) where all are truly welcome. What a perfect time to be aware of the visiting strangers who are looking for a welcome into our "place." Nothing is more important than to extend a warm and sincere welcome to one of God’s people. As cantors, we are positioned to act on this mission because our role places us in direct contact with the people before and after Mass.

Generally, people don’t know how bad things are until they get a taste of something better. There are many Catholics who are experiencing worship, liturgy and community which is ineffective. They don’t know how to change it because they have nothing to compare it with. Let’s give our visitors a taste of good liturgy, prayerful worship and loving Christ-centered community where "All Are Welcome." The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways. You never know how you will influence a visitor to cause changes in their home parish because of the good things we do here and now.

Copyright © 1997 - 2007 - Rick Swenton. All rights reserved.