5 Ways to an Intentional Advent

Posted on December 5, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

intentional advent

A friend of mine who happens to be a Director of Religious Education at a parish in Northern Wisconsin held an Advent family night this past week. It was the first ever at the parish and was a big hit. I got to see what was happening all night long because of a fantastic teen reporter who covered the event. The video was wobbly, spontaneous, and fun, but it cut off most of the adults from the neck up, so I suspect the reporter was not very tall, but very articulate. His commentary was delightful. He talked about each activity and how it related to Advent and would ad-lib with his own comments about how great things looked or how busy the hallways were or how much fun people were having.

This parish is in one of the poorest counties in Wisconsin. (more…)

Vibrant Witness: Living the Gift of Hospitality

Posted on November 11, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

gift of hospitality

 

It’s early morning and I am sitting by my mom’s bedside. My sister is dozing in a chair and my youngest daughter checking her phone, messaging friends and watching videos. My mom is on her last days. Alzheimer’s claimed her long ago, but still, she is my mom. She was – is – an amazing woman. She taught me about welcome, hospitality and graciousness.

Bishop Caggiano from Bridgeport Connecticut says that if we want company in church we should do what his Italian mom says: “ Clean the house, make some food and when people come, treat them like family.” ( Convocation of Catholic Leaders , The Joy of the Gospel in America, July 2017)

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What a Pumpkin Patch Teaches Us About Parish Hospitality

Posted on October 14, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

fall hospitality

The community I live in is a vacation destination. Today there are coach busses traveling up the highway filled with tourists looking at the fall colors, taking part in pumpkin festivals, and who knows what other fun! Every store, restaurant, winery, and farm stand is decked out with pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and scarecrows. The fun and excitement is contagious. I feel like I need a caramel apple and some of those funky ghost pumpkins and lumpy gourds! Later.

People are coming for an experience. My town and all the others around are making sure people will leave with lovely memories. They are setting the stage for friends and families to have an unforgettable fall day with one another. It is important to set the stage for an experience or adventure of any kind, because those who participate will be touched, moved, and transformed. It takes us beyond the ordinary and into the extraordinary! Just why do we love fall rituals so much?

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Growing in Generous Hospitality

Posted on September 9, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

generousThis time of the year the words “generous, extravagant, and abundant and beautiful” seem to be floating in the air. The farmer’s market this past weekend reminded me of that, with so many tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and green beans. The riot of colors and the anticipation of that ripe tomato sliced with a bit of salt was mouth-watering! Then the flowers! Dahlias, mums, purple status, cone flowers, zinnias, all tucked into big bunches waiting for a home to adorn. It made me happy to just walk amid the booths and seeing people choosing and chatting and taking time to pick just the right things.

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A Better Back to School

Posted on August 12, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

back to schoolI am drawn to school supplies – I can’t help it. I love the little areas set aside at the local stores for parents and their progeny to sift through, mark off lists and look for just the right folders and notebooks.

I have no reason to be there, but I find myself looking at Sharpies and Mr. Sketch markers with excitement and locker decorations with nostalgia. While I peruse the aisles, I often notice my fellow shoppers and they are not shopping leisurely like me. They are harried, stressed, rushed and a little annoyed at those lists that get longer every year. I overheard one woman say, “ Seriously, three boxes of tissues? Who are these kids and why do they blow their noses so much? And a protractor…do these wear out or something? Why a new one? How new and improved could they be?” I am sure there is a really good reason those are on the lists, but in the midst of all the getting ready for the new school year the list is one more stressful thing.

An antidote to the rush and crush for families? A parish community that understands, supports, and knows just how to remedy the craziness of their families at this time of year. So I give you five ways to reach out to your families this fall to welcome and lead them gently and compassionately to Jesus who desires to be at the heart of every person and every family.

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Why Radical Hospitality Matters

Posted on July 15, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Hospitalitity I really love hospitality and try never to take it for granted. When someone takes time to create a beautiful environment or greets me with a warm welcome and a smile, I am hooked. My name is Jane Angha, Director of Ministry Blueprints, a little company all about radical hospitality and welcoming in faith communities.

Leading with Beauty 

People often think hospitality is a luxury or an option if you have time, money, and volunteers. Others think it is a waste of resources to fuss with hospitality and things such as décor, environment, food, and how the room looks for an event or gathering. They swear it doesn’t matter to most people and that no one will even notice. I beg to differ. Hospitality is an integral part of setting the stage for an encounter with Christ. Leading with beauty touches our hearts, minds, and souls.

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