A home can serve several functions. It can be a place of ministry which provides nurturing, respite, encouragement and comfort. The hospitality that we show to others should be an extension of what we practice within our home. We can offer hospitality to others once we share a sense of kindness, openness and generosity with those we live with. In the words of Archbishop Vigneron, “The witness of a joyful family life rooted in the Gospel can be a spiritual oasis for people in contemporary society.” (Unleash the Gospel, Marker 7.3)
While coming together in our homes may look different right now, the way that we gather and treat people remains important. Here are some ideas to create hospitality in your own home within the current social distancing limitations:
- Invite people to your home in a way that feels comfortable to you and your guests. Currently, some may feel most comfortable outside on a porch or on a patio. Some may feel comfortable bringing their own food and drink at this time.
- Consider inviting people from your parish and neighborhood to your home to build fellowship with one another over time.
- Be conscious of those who may not have someone living with them during this social distancing time. Invite them for coffee or a meal, outside or inside, to reconnect and let them know they are welcome.
- Do not focus on having every home project done before having people over. Your home does not need to be picture perfect for your guests!
- Spend a little time planning so that once your guests arrive, you can spend intentional time with them — being attentive and thoughtful.
- Take the time to arrange a comfortable environment. Simple steps such as lighting a candle, arranging some flowers and setting a nice table will set a pleasant atmosphere.
- Include family members living with you in the preparation for guests. They can help with the food, table or chores. When guests arrive, they can help to serve food and beverages.
- Stay within your budget when preparing food and drinks for guests. Others appreciate your hospitality and company, not the amount of money you spent.
- Your food and drink preparations do not need to be complicated. Guests will typically appreciate companionship over the number of steps it took to prepare a meal.
- If guests ask if they can help with anything, say yes. Many people enjoy the opportunity to assist beforehand and even after they arrive.
- If having someone to your home is not possible, extend an invitation to meet in a park, outside at a café or another local area — even digitally. Extending hospitality is valuable and appreciated inside or outside of your home setting.
The upcoming weeks and months will hopefully bring us closer to opening our homes to guests. As we extend an invitation to others, let us strive to make our homes welcoming. This in turn will allow us to focus on guests and foster an environment where support and faith sharing may happen more easily.