Parish 101

So, I think that together with the word, the presence of a hospitable place of faith, a place in which one has a progressive experience of faith, is also important. And here I see one of the tasks of the parish: offering hospitality to those who have no experience of normal parish life. We must not be a circle closed in on ourselves. We have our customs but still we must be open and endeavour to create "vestibules", that is, places which will draw others closer. Someone who comes from afar cannot immediately enter parish life, which already has its own practices. For such a person everything is novel, far removed from his own life. Therefore, with the help of the word, we must seek to create what the early Church created with the catechumenates: spaces in which one begins to live the word, to follow the word, to make it understandable and realistic, corresponding to forms of actual experience. In this sense I think that what you noted is very important, that is, the need to associate the word with the witness of a just life, being for others, opening oneself to the poor, to the needy, and also to the rich who need to have their hearts opened, to feel someone knocking at their hearts. So, it is a question of different avenues, according to the situation.

--the Holy Father, addressing Rome's pastors

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