Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Welcome in the Name of Jesus

A little welcome dance in Africa
When I traveled to Nigeria during my time as vocation director, the word "Welcome" took on a whole new force.   The word "Welcome" when you arrive at a new place was used over and over.  In some homes a beautiful ritual of welcoming with a special type of nut or fruit was common.   This would be blessed by the elder of the house or the priest and shared along with some non-alcoholic drink.

Our little missions do not have a special ritual but over and over I hear people talk about the sense of being welcomed here.  People introduce themselves to visitor and new comers.   This welcoming in the Name of Jesus occurs when individuals receive the sacraments or at a yard sale.

We have had several baptisms this last month, including my first immersion baptism here.  Riley was born in his sixth month and weighed 1 pound and 7 ounces.  You sure can not tell it now.   The family on his father's side are not Catholic and they were very welcomed here.

The Baptism of Johnathon at Blessed John Paul II last weekend, also was a special welcome.  His mother is not yet baptized herself and no members of their family were present.  Yet, the members of the church stepped in and provided them with special support and a small meal.  This extra step of welcome is so important.  It is being family ... the family of God.

Our second group of first communicants were welcomed to the table of the Lord as well.   Our largest attendance for the Spanish Mass occured that day.  One of the girls was brought to church every Wednesday night and Sunday by a neighbor since her mother works at a restraurant and is not able to bring her daughter here.  That welcoming spirit is also fantastic.
First Communion Class of 2013

Our second annual yard sale was also full of humor and a welcoming spirit.   We had workers who are members of a local baptist church step in to help us.  Material to sell came from beyond our parishioners.   One lady said she stopped in to buy something just to support us.  She is glad we are here and wanted to help welcome us.   Some monies were made, but greater fellowship happend. 

Our missions are here to welcome anyone looking for a spiritual home.  We welcome anyone who just wishes a short visit.   We welcome people of all faiths and no faiths.  All are welcome here in the name of Jesus.
We are all smiles here.

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