Isn’t it wonderful that there is no need to wait to “put the name with the face?”
In this edition of the bulletin, we formally introduce and welcome a new face on the pastoral staff of St. Mary Church. Michael Viator will serve as our new Director of Faith Formation. You can find his photo and brief biography on page 5 .. WELCOME, MICHAEL
Naturally, it helps to make a connection between someone’s name and their face. In fact, last week, we prayed for a sister in Christ who has died, who in fact shares the same name as another parishioner. I actually called that parishioner in advance, because I anticipated that she would have people thinking she had died.
However, we do not have to wait for the editor of our bulletin to publish photo and biographical articles, in order to “put the name with the face.” Every time we come into church, I am almost certain, we see people by face and do not know their names. When I go to another parish to celebrate Mass as a visitor, I am always either introduced by a representative of the host community or invited to introduce myself.
When, at the conclusion of the pre-Mass announcements, we are typically invited to greet one another, do we simply say “Good morning,” or do we take the step of asking the name of the individual (if we do not always know it)? Heck, though, we do not even need to wait to be given “official permission” by the priest to make introductions in church. What would it be like, if every Saint Mary parishioner took the opportunity to greet at least one person they do not know by name AND face, each and every weekend?
Now, some of us will likely react, “That would be embarrassing, because there are people’s names I ought to know, but whose name I forget. They’ll think I am stupid!” Let me tell you, quite regularly I need to say to an individual whom I approach, “Forgive me, I need to ask your name again.” Now, I acknowledge that the person may be a little disappointed, especially if I have asked them their name for six consecutive weekends the same question (O Lord, I pray that has not actually happened! :) Even so, I believe it will still convey a sincere interest in making a connection!
Recently, one of our parishioners brought her nephew to daily Mass. I greeted them as I walked through the parish hall, where they were standing before heading up into the narthex of the church. I asked his name— “Matthew”—and started chatting away. Then, with great poise and directness, he asked, “And you are????” It brought a great laugh to my heart! Here, I assumed he knew who I am. Surely, we have heard of the dangers of assuming…
I pray that we will grow in our courage and confidence in putting names with faces.