This was in Fr. Than Vu’s weekly letter in the St. Aloysius bulletin this past weekend. The full text can be found on page 2 of the bulletin.
This is just a snippet, but I wish this message was made loud and clear throughout the church on a regular basis:
Consistently, the challenge in parishes is how to form community [...] so that everyone feels s/he belongs. It’s an attitude we at St. Aloysius need to cultivate: creating an atmosphere of hospitality and welcome, an attitude captured well in a newsletter Angela Falgoust forwarded to me “All are welcome! We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, y no habla ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail, or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re just browsing, just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems, or you’re down in the dumps, or you don’t like “organized religion;” we’ve been there too. If you blew all your offering money at the casino, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, who work hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or come because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome those who are inked, pierced, or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts . . . and you! All are welcome!”