As the remodeling of the new pastoral center continues, the staff who will soon occupy the building are also preparing. Within the Chancery, there has been a working relocation committee for many months who are tackling everything from copier, IT and phone needs, to future signage, furniture needs and office assignments. Beyond these practical tasks which need to be coordinated and decided upon, the staff has also been looking at how we can better serve one another, the parishes and our neighbors after the move. In January of 2019 when Bishop Robert Gruss announced the purchase of the building on Main Street in the West River Catholic, the headline read: “The Diocese of Rapid City will have a public face in the community.” We are committed to strive to have that “public face” reflect the face of Christ.
To assist us, we began a series of staff trainings in January designed to teach, encourage and inspire the entire staff to embrace a Catholic Way Of Life as outlined by our Stewardship vision. In January, we focused on the first pillar: Generous Hospitality. We spent a considerable amount of time exploring how, as a Chancery staff, we can embody the virtue of welcome in this pillar.
In the Diocese of Rapid City, we take as our model for welcome the Rule of St. Benedict which states: “Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for he is going to say, ‘I came as a guest and you received me’” (Mt 25:35). In the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, we encourage parishes to see that, “generous hospitality embraces everyone who comes through our doors … parishioners, inactive Catholics, non-Catholics, and newcomers are all treated as welcomed guests in the same way Jesus would be welcomed.” Since Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we strive to “roll out the red carpet,” so to speak, for anyone we encounter. This is at the heart of Generous Hospitality: Welcome.
In the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, the Office of Stewardship provides concrete ways this virtue is lived out in parish life. We too, as a Chancery staff, brainstormed and discussed practical ways in which we can embody the virtue of welcome in our work. The discussion surfaced a wealth of practical ideas, and general principles, as well as potential challenges and pitfalls. A few highlights of dialogue were:
To create a clean, well-kept, ordered and attractive space inside and outside our building with clear signage that communicates clearly what we do, and helps people feel welcomed, comfortable and valued.
To be joyful, kind and attentive to all. To go the extra mile to answer questions, serve parishes, and help those who need our assistance.
To be committed to providing excellent hospitality to all who come in, even though we know hospitality can seem inefficient and cumbersome in an office environment.
We also brainstormed about practical ways we can live out the other two aspects of Generous Hospitality: Invitation and Fellowship. Over the next few months, additional trainings will help us to better live out Generous Hospitality in our new location. These trainings will introduce us to the downtown community, giving us information that will help us be a good neighbor and allow us to discern how best to respond to all who walk through our door. Lastly, we will be trained in how to respond appropriately to potential dangers. We are committed to work towards becoming a “Stewardship Chancery,” to continue to inspire and encourage one another to live Generous Hospitality, and we look forward to taking a closer look at the pillars of Lively Faith and Dedicated Discipleship after we are settled in our new office space.
The Office of Stewardship exists to assist parishes and individuals in incorporating stewardship into their parish and daily life. We would be happy to conduct similar training for parishes and/or deaneries. If you would like to learn more about becoming a stewardship parish, and journey with the Chancery staff as we pursue this, please call or email us. Or visit our webpages at: www.rapidcitydiocese.org/stewardship for resources, ideas and opportunities to live the Diocesan Core Value of stewardship.