St. Marcelline - Schaumburg, IL

 

 

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HOSPITALITY         

Our churches should be places where everyone feels at home. Guests should never feel that they are causing undue extra labor. In short, all that is really needed to be an excellent host is a loving heart, an open ear, and eyes that see Christ in each person who crosses the threshold. — Emily J. Cook, “Hospitality Is Biblical – And It’s Not Optional”

 

Hospitality Ministry General

Hospitality is one of several parish ministries whose mission is to ‘welcome’ both new and established members of the community. Joined by Parish Greeters and Ushers, the members of the Hospitality Ministry serve in the “front lines” in the creation of a welcoming environment at St. Marcelline.  Making our first time guests and our regulars feel comfortable and at home is our goal. Anyone who has entertained understands the importance of first impressions and of long term sincerity in the work of hospitality.  We are Martha’s working hard to serve those who are family, friends, acquaintances and strangers; and we are Mary’s taking time to sit at the feet of our guests listening to their stories, concerns and joys.  These efforts make us evangelizers, one of those followers of Christ that touch the spirit of another person.

The ministry is coordinated by Chris Blecha and Tammy Kline.  If you are interested in offering your time and talent to this ministry please contact one of them by calling the Administration Center (847.524.4429) and leaving a message.

The ministry membership is subdivided into two groups. One group uses their talents at baking and cooking as a welcoming tool on an as needed basis for parish gatherings. Examples include: Deanery, Vicariate and Diocesan meetings held in our facility; Parish missions; Coffee and…; and The Story of Christmas for children.   The second group also cooks and bakes; in addition they share their talents at organization and leadership by joining a team that periodically coordinates monthly Hospitality Gatherings and weekend “Coffee and…” fellowship. 

The Hospitality Gatherings and Coffee and… are sponsored by one or more of the parish ministries and co-hosted by a Hospitality Ministry Team.  For example: The recent “Come to the Pumpkin Patch” Hospitality Gathering was Sponsored by the Christ Renews His Parish ministry and co-hosted by C.R.H.P. and Hospitality. C.R.H.P. did the set-up and tear-down and provided the workers and the treats. The Hospitality Team helped organize, host and provided leadership.

 

Coffee and…  & Hospitality Gatherings

The primary undertaking of the Hospitality Ministry is a gathering that we have come to call “Coffee and…”  As one might expect it is a social gathering of the community where coffee and a treat are served as an encouragement for parish fellowship.  It is an ever evolving gathering that perhaps found its roots in the ‘Donut Sundays’ held by our Holy Name Society for fundraising and fun.  On Donut Sundays the fragrance of frying donuts would permeate the church enticing the worshippers to wander down to Diemer Hall for a fresh bag of warm donuts and hot steaming coffee.

Later on homemade baked goods supplanted Holy Name’s donuts (although donuts have continued to hold their own on the table) and other ministries shared in labor to provide us with tasty treats.  This tradition remains intact following our 9:00am Family Mass.

The evolution of Coffee and… continues. In the words of Food Network Chef Emeril Lagasse the Hospitality Ministry has, “Kicked it up a notch!” Offering themed Hospitality Gatherings such as Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen (featuring Christmas treats) and Cookin’ with Marcelline (providing delicacies from the parish cookbook) the donuts have turned into hors d’oeuvres following the 5:00 Saturday Evening Mass.  Donuts continue to find there way to the treat tables following the 7:30, 9:00 and 11:00 Sunday Morning Masses but they are always in the company of other palate pleasing treats adhering to the theme.  Of course there is always hot coffee, juice and new friends available.

 

In addition to the treats, children will find a “Kids Table” filled with activities for little hands and curious minds. And who knows who might come to visit? At the “Come to the Pumpkin Patch” event there was a talking jack-o-lantern! Santa is certain to visit Mrs. Claus’ kitchen and who knows just what might join in the fun at the “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” gathering?

All Parish Ministries are invited to take the opportunity of the gatherings to network with parishioners.  St. Marcelline has over 50 different ministries that serve all of God’s People. Getting word out can be difficult. Whether it is a need to be ministered to or a desire for an opportunity to minister a brief conversation at an information table will satisfy.

 

Hospitality Ministry History

The Hospitality Ministry at St Marcelline Catholic Church has served the people of this community in many and varied ways.  Originally composed of women and men of the parish with a joy for baking and a desire to help connect our people through that age old unifier “a good meal” these folks organized to provide culinary treats when needed at a parish gathering.  For many years these dedicated artists of the kitchen prepared delightful tidbits that were a feast for the eyes and for the stomach.

Emily J. Cook, author of “Hospitality Is Biblical – And It’s Not Optional” (the complete text follows) points out that hospitality is far more than a satisfied tummy. The person we touch in our sincere effort to be hospitable may undergo a transformation of character that results in a renewal of their relationship with church, faith and God.  On the day of our baptism God called each of us to service of God’s people.  That service may be as simple as an act of hospitality through a warm greeting, a random act of kindness or a compassionate moment of listening.

Hospitality should never be limited; rather, it ought to be part of every human’s central being. Sadly, our world is becoming a less hospitable place.  Schaumburg, a village made up of many people in transition, often has neighborhoods where lot lines might as well be prison walls, keeping neighbors out and families in.

Hospitality at St. Marcelline underpins our hope and desire to be an evangelizing community, a place where all feel comfortable, welcome, and included.  Not an easy task but one that is being accomplished through the Spirit.  We greet our guests and our own at the door. We invite all to join around the table to worship as one community. We share of our time, our talents and our treasure for the good of this community and the community at large. We reach out to those in our midst and those we do not see to satisfy basic needs.  We are united with our fellow faith communities in Schaumburg to bring peace to our neighborhoods and world.  We serve donuts, bake cookies & cakes and pour coffee and juice so that we who gather each weekend to pray, share in a spiritual fellowship of sojourners in faith.

 

Emily J. Cook is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds a master's degree from the University of Dallas. She writes from Norfolk, Virginia, where she lives with her husband and five children.

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