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Catholic Habits - Not the kind your wear

To be perfectly fair to the Catholic Church, we have done a great job creating very good habits for many people.

Example 1
Cue It’s Sunday or Saturday night
Routine Go to Mass
Reward Eucharist/Obligation/See Friends/Grace it varies from person to person but you get the idea
Example 2
Cue 4 AM Tuesday Morning
Routine Go to adoration
Reward one uninterrupted hour with Jesus
Example 3
Cue Meal time
Routine Dinner Prayer
Example 4
Cue Lent
Routine Abstain from meat on Fridays
Reward Church Unity

Our habits as one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church run far, wide, and deep. But what habits at our local parish can be added or deleted?

In my travels across the diocese of Dodge City and work in other places, a bad habit many parishes are noted for is hospitality, rather, lack of. It stems from the parking lot to our websites. For many parishes we simply do not have a reputation of hospitality.

With all we have learned in this series, could hospitality become a habit? Moreover, could hospitality be our keystone habit?

In an interview Pastor and author Andy Stanley had with author of the Power of Habit Charles Duhigg, Andy asks the question, how do we uncover our organizations keystone habit? The response is this: “Find the changes that should be easy to do but we shy away from.” Listen the full interview here

In Andy’s churches case, his church leadership wanted to be an inviting church. To have each church member invite people to their services and events. This should be an easy task but they found it to be hard. Something the leadership and parishioners shied away from. Through a series of leadership meetings they uncovered three cues parishioners should listen for when visiting friends and even strangers. When the parishioners heard the cue, their routine was to invite that person to the church.

The result was staggering. Once the parishioners were given specific cues to act on and the routine to invite, over time a habit of invitation was created. When parishioners heard one of the three cues the invitation response was automatic. The church grew and the parishioners had the reward of helping it grow plus helping people meet Jesus.

Back to hospitality, what if each parish discerned specific cues to listen for, then, a specific action (routine) to follow the cue. Then taught this to the entire parish? What affect do you reckon would happen?

Hospitality the word carries default baggage of coffee and doughnuts and door greeters. What if we said, “When you see a person who is frowning (the cue), say hello, shake their hand and thank them for being at Mass (the routine)”. That is not a difficult set of actions but I can tell you I don’t do this.

Would this be the habit that has a disproportionate affect on the rest of the parish?

I regret to leave this series with more questions than answers as I come to a close. However, the four pillars of stewardship begin with Hospitality. Bishop John’s short definition of Hospitality is “I love my neighbor”.

What act of hospitality in each parish in the diocese of Dodge City could tell each person "I am Loved?" and be the habit that breaths life into our Church that is needed? A task we should pray for and act on.

You know have the tools to figure it out. You have science, resources, links to info graphics, interviews, and lectures in your hands. You have the power of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Saints to guide the process.

Will we be bold enough act? Take what you have learned and make a difference in your life. Then make a difference in the life your parish.

Thanks for reading this series, please leave a comment in the comment box.

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Diocese of Dodge City

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