by Mary McCluskey
The parents of a 3-month-old recently wrote to The Washington Post food critic’s online chat to ask about dining etiquette in a city where many restaurants are inaccessible to strollers. The critic responded by complaining about “strollers the size of Zipcars,” but then admitted he wasn’t the parent of an infant and invited readers to discuss the topic. Reader comments varied and expanded the topic to include people who use walkers. The chat provided much food for thought on the many ways that we can welcome those whom others might consider burdensome while we are out and about at restaurants, churches, parks, on transportation, and in public. Our loving welcome may help others soften their hearts and change attitudes toward families with young or elderly members.
Recall God’s creation of each of us “in his image”(Gen 1:27), meaning that every one of us is made to be in loving relationship with others. Even the smallest community of love, sometimes as small as two people, mirrors the divine Trinity. Members of a loving community patiently accommodate one another’s needs. My parish during high school displayed this loving acceptance each week as everyone kindly greeted my grandmother making her slow but steady way into church with her walker. On the other hand, I’ve been present at Mass when a priest stopped during a homily and asked a parent to take a slightly noisy child out of the church.
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"Members of a loving community patiently accomodate one another's needs."
Mary McClusky is assistant director for Project Rachel Ministry Development at the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, US Conference of Catholic Bishops. For confidential help after abortion, visit www.hopeafterabortion.com or www.esperanzaposaborto.com.
How well does our own parish welcome and accomodate older people, parents with infants, the hard of hearing, the seeing impaired, those who do not walk well, people with social difficulties?