Mission Oriented Christmas

A Mission Oriented Christmas at St. Hugo

by Fr. Mario Amore

The Church’s mission is to evangelize—to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and the powerful impact He has had on our lives.

At Christmas we will literally open our doors to thousands of people who will come to worship the newborn king.  Most of them will be Catholics who have stopped regularly practicing their faith but still make Christmas Mass part of their holiday tradition.  These are the people who are at the center of our evangelization efforts. We need to begin now to prepare for their arrival.

Where do we begin? Prayer, of course!

You’ll notice that every weekend in Advent, one of our prayers of the faithful will be specifically for those who will join us at Christmas.  We ask that you join us in extending this throughout the week in your own prayer time.  Here are some ideas:

· Offer a Mass for them

· Pray a Rosary for them

· Fast for them

· Stop at the Stone Chapel sometime throughout the week and offer a spontaneous prayer for them.

· Simply call them to mind throughout the day and ask God to prepare their hearts for what they will hear, see, and experience at Christmas Mass at St. Hugo.

The next step? The invitation!

Invite a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, and if the Holy Spirit moves you, maybe even a stranger.  Never underestimate the power of an invitation!  It shows you care and are invested.

· First, pray for the grace to invite another family (or individual) to a Christmas liturgy.

· Challenge yourself to invite at least 3 people to Christmas Mass.

· Start by asking, “What are you doing for Christmas?”Inevitably they’ll ask, “How about you?”  You’re response: “Part of my plan for Christmas is to attend the (time) Mass at St. Hugo. I’d love for you to join me.”

Finally, HOSPITALITY!

When our guests arrive, we want them to feel welcomed.  Whatever their reason for coming to Mass, we want them to feel at home here.  We want them to experience something different because “As followers of Jesus, it must be different with us!”  We are committed to offering unusually gracious hospitality.  Here’s how you can help:

· Pray for the grace to connect with a family who comes at Christmas, and to welcome them with radical hospitality.

· We should all think of ourselves as greeters.  Offer a smile, a “hello”, a “Merry Christmas.”

· Don’t recognize someone?  Ask if they are visiting.  If so, a smile and a “Welcome to St. Hugo will go a long way.”  Also a “Thanks for joining us, I’m so glad you’re here” could really change the way that someone views our parish and the Catholic Church in general.

· We need many committed people to act as Greeters at every door and even outside.

· Please be willing to sit in the middle of the pew and leave the coveted end seats for latecomers and guests.

· Please do not save seats.

· Consider parking farther away so our guests could have a closer spot.

The do’s and don’ts of radical hospitality at Christmas

For many Christmas visitors, a barrier for coming to church is not knowing anyone or not knowing what to do.  When we exercise unusually gracious hospitality, we are communicating to them that they are welcomed.  Even with a great message, it would take an extraordinary amount of courage and perseverance to become part of a community if one doesn’t feel welcomed.  By committing to hospitality, we are preparing the soil so that the message of the Gospel can be more easily received. 

 

DO

DON’T

Smile!

Get mad if someone is sitting in your seat.

Take parking spots in the back of the lot to make room for guests.

Get mad if people are talking in Church before Mass.

Welcome people around you to your parish.

Get mad if babies are crying.

Guide non-Catholics or visitors to where the Order of Mass can be found in the hymnal or the worship aid (#202 in the Worship hymnal).

Get annoyed if it’s hot and crowded.

As Mass ends, wish those around you a “Merry Christmas”, and give them a genuine and kind “hope to see you again!”

Give dirty looks to people who do not know what to do in church or when someone’s cell phone rings.