Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy
"Jesus, Good Shepherd ... May we always hear your voice in our prayers and in your scriptures, in the words of our families and those of our friends, in the voice of the newcomer and that of our neighbor who is in need." Father Tom Ferguson, Jubilee Prayer
7. Welcome and Hospitality
The parish has an effective welcome program and exhibits warm and inviting hospitality to all.
a. New parishioner orientation/official welcome/mentor families. Good Shepherd is known as a friendly parish where “All are welcome.” In the 1970s, the parish welcomed Vietnamese refugees, and as our Hispanic population grew, a monthly Spanish Mass began in 1984. In 1989, Sunday and Holy Day Spanish-language liturgies began. Since 1995, there has been a Spanish-speaking priest assigned to the parish, and bilingual volunteers and staff coordinate parish ministries.
Our website has a dedicated Welcome tab, and our Facebook page includes invitations to parish events. We send letters to neighbors inviting them to the International Festival, Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter activities. We offer “Children’s Liturgy of the Word” and we welcome individuals with differing abilities; our building is handicapped accessible, the parking lot has handicapped and expectant mother spaces. The church has an embedded audio loop for the hearing-impaired and a Sign Language Interpreter for Sunday Mass, parent programs, and special liturgies. Every year, children with special needs come to full participation in the life of the Church through Sacramental preparation designed to meet them in their particular circumstances.
Recognizing that hospitality extends beyond our Catholic brethren and our neighborhood, we welcome people of different faiths. We are active participants in the local interfaith coalition, Ventures in Community, host an ecumenical Bible study, invite guest speakers from other faiths, and in 2012 we opened our doors to members of a local Mosque whose building was undergoing renovation.
b. Visitor guide/newcomer’s package gift. New parishioners receive a language-specific Welcome Packet including a personalized letter from our Pastor, Jubilee Prayer card, Mass schedule magnet, Offertory and Capital Campaign Envelopes, and a Faith Direct Enrollment Form. New parishioners receive an invitation to monthly hospitality events. New families are welcomed in our bulletin, and we have an annual blessing for those who have recently joined the parish.
c. Weekly hospitality/socialization after Mass. Our pastor, clergy, and staff greet parishioners before and after Mass. We host monthly hospitality events including Coffee and Donuts, Pancake Breakfast (sponsored by the Knights of Columbus), and food gatherings for Hispanic parishioners and other special events throughout the year. (photos) Ushers and Greeters are a key part of our church’s hospitality. They assist individuals/families in finding a seat prior to Mass, greet people and open the doors as they enter, and hand out song sheets and bulletins. We staff our office on Sunday and until 8pm Monday through Thursday to allow parishioners who are unable to visit during workdays the opportunity to get Mass cards and meet with the staff.
d. Kiosk or table outside church for welcoming and ministry information distribution. An “Information Center” is located at the main entrance with a large L-shaped counter. This area is a source of information for parishioners and visitors. Flyers, prayer cards, forms, Diocesan information, Book of the Month, and more are available. Volunteers staff the information counter providing opportunities to meet parishioners.
e. Hospitality ministers greeting parishioners by name. Our Clergy, Staff, and Ushers understand the importance of hospitality. All staff and many volunteers wear name-tags. Parishioners serve as ‘greeters’ opening the door and welcoming those who come to Mass. For the 50th anniversary, a Pictorial Directory (the second in five years) was produced and distributed. The Directory helps parishioners put names to faces, and promotes a feeling of family. Pictures of parishioners enjoying and serving in different ministries highlight the diversity of activities and allows all to feel welcome.
f. Important days acknowledged (birthdays, anniversaries). A Certificate of Appreciation and a letter from the Pastor are given to a volunteer who leaves a ministry due to a move or change in their ministry. When altar servers graduate high school, they are recognized at Mass. Ministries host volunteer events to thank volunteers for the countless hours of time and talent shared. Special blessings are offered at Masses for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduation. Wedding milestones are recognized with a blessing and vow renewal at Mass. In 2015, for our 50th Anniversary, all parishioners received an anniversary pin, with special recognition for those who have been with the parish 50 or 25 years.
GSCC Application (Main page)
8. General assessment
9. Supporting Materials