Make A Friend At Frank's Cafe
We know we are all called to welcome one another at church. We know it's not just the 'job' of the folks who greet you at the front door. One of my favorite moments at Mass is right at the very beginning when we are invited to say 'Hi' to the folks sitting nearby, the folks we will be praying with for the next hour or so. I just love how the noise level rises in the church as folks greet one another. Then after a few minutes, we all settle in for some good prayer. It speaks to me of what we are really about...joyful community, family connections, trying week after week to share the love of Christ with one another. I do believe at St Francis we do this well.
For the last few months we have been rebranding the downstairs parish hall as "FRANK'S CAFE". So far, this new project has been going well, and more folks come down each Sunday to see what's going on down there. Thank you to the folks who keep bringing bakery goods for the table, (we will always say YES to whatever YOU want to bring to the table!) Thanks to to one special family for the donation of couches. To the friend who was passing by and donated the high top tables, much thanks to you too! We are grateful for all the gifts folks have shared with the parish.
So here's the challenge now, for each of us. It's fun to come downstairs, grab a cup of coffee and catch up with our friends. It's a great time to catch one of the staff to ask a question, or plan a meeting.
Do you notice that person sitting by herself over there with her cup of coffee? Can you see that there's a new couple by the couch and they don't look like they know anyone else? What could YOU do in that moment?
Ok, yes, we all live in NY, but at church we can be brave enough to leave our 'subway persona' aside and go over to that new person or couple and introduce yourself! One of my nieces when she was little went up to someone at a party where she didn't know a soul and simply said: "Hi, I'm Nadina, I'm 7...who are you?" I was amazed at her ability to reach out to someone else, and when I'm feeling shy, I often pray for that kind of grace...
For when we think about it, if we were the new person sitting alone, wouldn't we want someone to come say hello? Church is the perfect place to practice a bit of extroverted welcoming behavior. Don't go crazy...just check and see if there's anyone by themselves and invite them into the conversation you're already having with your friends. We have such interesting parishioners that I guarantee whoever you say hi to is going to be someone you will be happy to have met.
This weekend, in Cycle A, our Gospel is about the healing of the man born blind. Let's challenge ourselves to be a bit better these days at not being blind...at really looking and seeing one another and keeping an eye out for the stranger, so we can make them feel welcome at our St Francis de Sales home. (Everywhere else too!)