November 3, 2016
Dear Priests and Pastoral Administrators:
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt. 25:40)
With this letter I am happy to present the second report from teams appointed to help us move forward the goals within our Mutually Shared Vision priorities of Communication, Evangelization and Faith Formation. This document, titled “Welcoming Parishes,” is a beautiful fruit focused on the second goal in the evangelization priority, and the result of many hours of prayer, study and discussion by team members.
Specifically, the team was chartered “to use awareness of diversity and key outside resources, to formulate protocols to promote the increased development of authentic, sensitive, and welcoming parishes.” The document is a valuable instrument for parish discussions on how to be as loving and welcoming as possible toward both parishioners and guests. It is not meant to be exhaustive or mandatory, but can form a basis to encourage even more in-depth reflection and discussion about the various practices that render our parishes welcoming.
This letter represents my formal acceptance and approval of the team’s work.
I express my gratitude to the members of the team for their dedication in compiling for us this important instrument in the area of evangelization; particularly, the protocols provided.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that this document may help all of us to be more Christ like, incarnating His Love in our relationships with each other, favoring an ever deeper encounter with Jesus. May it also help us to implement our Mutually Shared Vision, so that we may truly become a beacon “Shining Christ’s Light, Sunrise to Sunset.”
May we take the Blessed Mother into our hearts, that She may render them authentic, sensitive and welcoming.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Steven J Raica
Bishop of Gaylord