Dear Friends of the Shrine,
The word “hospitality” comes from the Latin word which means “guest,” and it also can mean “host.” Hospitality is both something a host does and a guest receives because you need two to make hospitality work.
I remember as a child my mother was an expert in hospitality because she made people feel so much at home, that they no longer felt like they were guests but part of the family. I think that’s been an important part of our Italian heritage – to be hospitable people, welcoming guests but welcoming them so well they are part of the community.
Here at the Shrine, we have a unique opportunity for hospitality. Since we are not a parish and have no formal parishioners, we are what might be called a “hospitality community” where people come to join us because they feel like my friends felt at my mother’s house. I can’t tell you the number of people who have told me how welcomed they feel when they enter the doors of the Shrine, and that makes me very happy.
So how about we become more intentional about our hospitality?
Our plan here at the Shrine is to develop a hospitality team and encourage everyone to be part of it in some special way. I would like you to consider these three suggestions: one, if you see someone come in the door that you don’t recognize, go up to them, tell them your name and ask them theirs and tell them how welcome they are; two, introduce them to someone else that may be standing around – to your husband, wife, a friend or one of the regulars and start networking that way; and three, if they are alone and have no one to sit with, you might even ask them to sit with you at mass.
I think these three things could actually keep on making us a place of great Italian hospitality where people can come and feel the presence of God, feel welcome, and for an hour a week, feel like they belong here together as part of the community, a place …where your heart always has a home.
Blessings to you,
Rev. Richard N. Fragomeni, Ph.D., Rector