Our Hospitality Hosting Ministry Welcomes All as We Gather at St. Francis Parish Events
As a parish committed to forming intentional disciples, the four pillars of stewardship have long been a point of reference for the St. Francis Solanus community. We know that hospitality, prayer, formation, and service are not mere buzzwords — they are a way of life. Often, hospitality paves the way for the other three pillars to take place. With this in mind, our Hospitality Hosting Ministry seeks to extend a warm welcome to all who participate in our parish events.
“When our parish started with stewardship, the very first pillar that we worked on was hospitality,” says Marcia Steinkamp, who assists ministry coordinator Linda Zanger with the Hospitality Hosting Ministry. “It is different than just having an event — hospitality means a lot more. It is inviting and welcoming with a smile, drawing people in to be a part of the church family.”
In 2013, St. Francis Solanus held a dedication dinner for the opening of the new parish center. Knowing the importance of hospitality in the stewardship way of life, the planning committee made sure that people would truly be invited to come in, sit down, and spend some quality time together at the dinner. Following the success of that event, the Hospitality Hosting Ministry became a dedicated ministry in the parish.
Over the last seven years, this ministry has helped with various events and special occasions in parish life. Often, ministry members work together with the men of the Holy Name Society to host parish-wide lunches and dinners. Shortly after the dedication of the parish center, another event was held to commemorate the anniversary of Fr. Duc Pham’s ordination. In 2017, a lovely dinner reception followed Fr. Bob Barko’s First Mass of Thanksgiving. The ministry has also helped organize Palm Sunday dinners, RCIA and First Communion receptions, the celebration of the feast day of St. Francis Solanus, and more.
Parishioners volunteer with the Hospitality Hosting Ministry in a variety of ways, including decorating for events and providing or serving food. There are no regular meetings held for this ministry, and participants can choose when and how to help with each event.
For those who are seeking other ways to grow hospitality in our parish, the possibilities are endless!
“Hospitality is also [at the center of] some of the other ministries, like the greeters and the coffee and rolls,” Marcia says. “Relationships should form out of meeting someone at breakfasts or an event or things of that nature, and then you check in with them or invite them to some other things. It’s that opportunity to get to know more people.”
With the global pandemic making large gatherings impossible for much of 2020, Marcia knows that many parishioners are missing the events that usually bring our faith family together. She hopes that moving forward we will soon be able to gather again and provide everyone with a warm welcome and loving invitation to become a part of our vibrant church community.
“We want to promote community and build a church family,” Marcia says. “When people feel welcome and part of a community, it leads to the other pillars, where they find themselves in prayer together, where they find themselves doing more study and spiritual growth together. That’s my prayer for the parish — that the enthusiasm continues to grow and build on all these pillars that are a part of stewardship.”