Last week I mentioned that I would be asking the members of the parish to know each other better. I have found no better way to do this than relational (one-on-one) meetings and have had almost 70 of them with members of the Parish. Through them I feel that I have been able to know you not just know about you far more than merely chatting after Mass or at parish Meetings. I think this is a very common experience and I have asked some people with whom I have met these past few months to have relational meetings with other Parishioners.
These are not interviews, nor are we asking for money nor, at least immediately, for participation in any parish function or ministry. They are a somewhat structured means of contacting each other person to person. Those of you who have had one with me have heard my story and I have heard yours. It is constantly amazing to me how this can reveal so many areas of common interest and concern that would have been otherwise closed. This is most surprising with people who have “seen” each other for years but never really knew one another.
Nothing is for everyone. There will be people who will read this and look forward an individual meeting with great enthusiasm. There will be others who would prefer a root canal. No one should feel in anyway forced. To those who are intrigued but unconvinced I would ask that if a fellow parishioner requests a meeting I ask you to consider it very seriously. It can be at a coffee shop, at home or in the rectory. When the greeting space is created in the rear of the church there will be an area set aside for them as well.
Many programs and projects will, no doubt, come from these meetings and that is good and to be encouraged and praised but the most important thing will be a sense of our community. It is a basic experience and belief of Catholic Christians that belonging comes before believing. By belonging we affirm our belief that it is the risen Lord that creates and sustains us against all things for all time.