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placeholder Bishop Barber:
Church must meet
people on their
own ground

Parish's gift might
lead visitors home

Diocese of
Oakland's 51st year
a memorable one

New pope
emphasizes call
to help the poor

28 groups net
Rice Bowl grants
to combat hunger

What is it to think
with the Church?

UC students
to meet in Berkeley

Retreat for men considering priesthood

New year prospects
in Vatican initiatives

'All are welcome' at
St. Joseph Seniors

Presentation Sisters
distribute 325
handmade pillows

New Year's
resolutions that will
enrich your retirement

Senior events:
Aging and
spiritual growth

Pope: Don't forget
plight of elderly
abandoned by
own family

US longevity lags,
new report says

First person:
My journey to forgiveness and healing after abortion

Two days of
pro-life events scheduled Jan. 24, 25

Christmas offers lesson in humility

placeholder January 6, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA
Parish's gift might lead visitors home

One way to think about people who come to church once a year — say, on Christmas — is as a nuisance. They take up the parking spaces and sit in your seat.

Then there's the way St. Michael Parish in Livermore thought of them this Christmas.

The parish handed a gift to each person attending Christmas Masses — familiar face and visitor alike.

In adopting its new banner: "Jesus … Know Him, Trust Him, Share Him," the parish stood ready to gave away 4,000 copies of "Rediscovering Catholicism" by Matthew Kelly. They ordered books in both Spanish and English.

Kelly, whose ministry Dynamic Catholicism, made a stop for sold-out retreats in Antioch and Dublin this year, suggests that 32 percent of the people who attend Mass on Christmas will attend only that Mass that year.

The program, promoted by Kelly's ministry, makes his books available in bulk at extremely low cost. It offers the parish the opportunity to hand those visitors a gift — and maybe see them again the following week.

Volunteers affixed a label inside each book, which included contact information for the parish and a short letter from its pastor, Father Robert Mendonça.

"Please accept this gift on behalf of St. Michael's parish! We pray that you will read it and pass it on so that others can read it. Thank you for choosing to worship with us on this special day.

"If you are not already a regular member of St. Michael's, we invite you to consider joining us. If you are looking for a church home, if you are seeking a deeper life and a Christian walk in the fullness of God's love, we pray you will find it here as we journey together in Christ: to know Him, Trust Him and Share Him. Come and see!"

The hope is that the visitor might return. But even if the book stays in the visitor's car for a year, someone might see it through a window.

Another way to look at the visitor, said Tina Gregory, who directs digital communications at the parish, "It might be the answer to someone's prayer."

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