I believe that this old and respected structure of the parish has an indispensable mission of great contemporary importance. (Pope Paul VI)
The Welcoming Parish fleshes out this conviction by reflecting on the power and hope contained in what is going on in parishes today. Its twenty-four short chapters address most of the key areas of growth and also of concern in todays parish. These include; our vision of parish, parish leadership structures, getting people involved, planning for the future, adult faith, the parish and young people.
The idea is to present the best thinking and practice available to us today. There is a particular focus on the theology embodied in the practice. The reader is offered ways of thinking about parish and its different activities that can inform planning and sustain local creativity.
Throughout, the theme of welcome is to the fore. All that is life-giving in parish today can be seen to revolve around welcome. A welcoming parish is a place where people do not just hear but also feel the Good News of the gospel. The book reflects the growing sense that evangelisation is first and foremost about welcome.
Donal Harrington is the author of a number of books, including The Welcoming Parish, Christianity at its Best and, most recently, Weekday Prayers. His work as a pastoral consultant with parishes and dioceses has focused mainly on support for pastoral councils and on pastoral planning. He previously lectured in moral theology (Mater Dei Institute) and pastoral theology (All Hallows College). He is married with two children.