making connections: spreading smiles and doughnuts
Not everyone rolls out of bed ready to greet the day with unbridled enthusiasm. But Christina Hood has managed to assemble a team of such perky individuals to make arriving at Mass here a reason to smile.
Hood, St. Ann’s director of parishioner engagement, oversees the Hospitality Ministry, which is charged with helping connect parishioners.
“We are striving to make a large church feel small by making everyone who comes through the door welcome,” she said. “We want to help them find someone or something to connect with.”
Launched more than five years ago, the Hospitality Ministry is full of volunteers whose attitudes are contagious. They enjoy using the time that they already are planning to be at church to enhance the experience of others.
“When parishioners are greeted at the door, the universal reaction is almost always a giant smile,” Hood said. “It starts out their Mass experience with a totally uplifted feeling.”
Perhaps the Hospitality Ministry is best known for Hospitality Sundays, one of nine days a year when the group dishes out 1,000 doughnuts to Mass-goers in Nolan Hall. “Our donut crew works hard, but everyone loves it and asks for those Sundays to be more often,” Hood said. “It’s rewarding to serve because you receive right back the warm greeting that you put out there.”
pictured: Parishioners enjoy doughnuts and fellowship during a Hospitality Sunday.