Building blocks for thriving parishes

Written by Andrew W. Lichtenwalner, Ph.D. | The Georgia Bulletin | December, 2019


We were told it was going to be the most important part of the conference.

As we turned to the back of the room, we saw fellow participants rising to their feet and sounding an energetic applause. At first, it was hard to tell what was going on. Then we looked to the screens and saw the myriads of hotel staff processing into the room, from desk clerks to housekeeping staff to chefs to management. The applause lasted for one to two minutes. After all the hotel staff members were thanked, we prayed for them with a Catholic priest leading from the stage and 1,000 other Catholics (lay, religious and clergy, including 14 bishops) joining in with arms and hands extended.

It was a poignant moment—simple and profound. It modeled the excellence so apparent in the conference overall. The coordination of that moment surely took much effort, but it was worth it. How many Catholics were part of the hotel staff? Other Christians? Other religions? No religion? Disaffiliated? We will never know, but all of them knew at that moment that an entire ballroom of Catholics loved and appreciated them and prayed for them and for their families.

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