Importance of hospitality, community especially today Print
Everyday Faith

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

Just before the New Year, our house looked similar to many other homes.

Christmas lights decorated the tree in our living room. Children were busy with new toys and games. Cookies and other goodies often made their way into little searching hands and mouths.

And for three days, our house was home to 20 people.

Celebration of friends

Once or twice a year, we get together with our dear old friends, two homeschooling families with four and six children respectively, who live in Michigan and Canada.

It was our turn to host. So, before they came, we spent time cleaning and cooking, preparing beds, bathrooms, meals, and desserts worthy of our beloved guests who were traveling so far to see us.

Once they arrived, our home was aglow with the joy of laughing children and reunited friends as we caught up on news, shared concerns, and discussed the raising of our Catholic families.

Catholic community

This was the gift of hospitality, the gift of friendship, the gift of Catholic community that spans hundreds of miles across states and countries.

God created us as social creatures, people who need other people to survive. We are meant to depend on each other, to help each other, to share with each other the wisdom we gain from our various experiences.

With our dear friends we serve as both confidants and advisers, students and mentors.

Within this Catholic community we discuss the challenges of living in these times, the challenges of teaching our children how to live in the world while protecting them from it, the challenges of evangelization and living out our Catholic faith.

Jesus instructs us about the importance of community in Matthew: "Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them" (Matthew 18: 19-21).

Without hospitality, without opening ourselves to the possibility of friendship and community, we as Catholic families, cannot grow as God intended.

Yes, we can and should learn from those who live differently from us, but we also learn from and gain strength by surrounding ourselves with other families striving to raise their children in the Catholic faith.

Refreshed with advice and shared experiences from our community, we, as Catholic parents, can begin the year with a renewed perspective as we delve back into our regular routines.

Living and growing

Fostering Catholic hospitality and community: This is how we live. This is how we grow. This is how we gain the strength to carry on the Truth of the Catholic Church, especially in difficult times.

And just as the wise men traveled so far to seek Our Lord, together we need to foster a healthy yearning to seek Him out as well -- in the Blessed Sacrament and in the Eucharist -- preparing for Him a welcoming home in our hearts, in which He will be the most important guest ever to reside.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.