Contemporary Topics in Parish Leadership is a new series from Liturgical Press that addresses timely realities in parish leadership. Written primarily for parish staff, leadership teams, and parish councils, each topic affirms the pastoral realities facing today’s church leaders in a way that is engaging, relevant, and, most important, accessible. Short chapters grounded in real-world experiences invite readers to consider the depth of pastoral realities from a scriptural, theological, and ministerial perspective. “Questions for Reflection” and “Continuing the Conversation” at the end of each chapter encourage personal reflection, group discussion, and suggestions for practical implementation in today’s diverse parishes.
Too often we relegate parish hospitality to the few minutes immediately before or after Sunday liturgy. If we are willing to reimagine our understanding of hospitality, however, we begin to realize that welcoming others is more than bulletins and donuts (as important as those are!). Welcome All as Christ offers concrete suggestions for implementing a holistic approach to parish hospitality, grounded in St. Benedict’s invitation to “Welcome all as Christ” and set amid the pastoral realities of today’s church.
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“In an age of increasing political and ecclesial polarization, where many people feel excluded and unwelcome—especially those who have been pushed to the margins of our communities—our parishes and pastoral centers need to embrace gospel hospitality with renewed vigor and kindness. John Kyler’s excellent book provides readers with accessible resources from scripture, papal teaching, contemporary experiences, and the best of the Christian tradition to support this call to be people of encounter and communities of hospitality. It is my hope that all pastoral ministers will read this book and put it into practice within their local communities. Then, with God’s grace, St. Benedict’s instruction to ‘welcome all as Christ’ might become the true motto of pastoral ministry today!”
"In Welcome All as Christ, Kyler sets forth on a theology of beginnings, deftly guiding readers—faith-filled and otherwise—as they, we, join him, with all due hospitality, in thinking anew about the constant encounter that is the necessary life of the Church. Along the way he entreats us to consider how we are living the central lesson of religious life: how are we in communion with each other?"
"In this essential guide, John T. Kyler invites readers—both as individuals and as a parish staff community—to explore their own willingness to embrace vulnerability, weaving in scriptural invitations to radical hospitality practices, a critical look at current events and contexts, and Kyler’s own example of vulnerability through the generous gaze through the lens of his own life’s journey. This resource begs us to remember, Church, who we are and whose we are. And for us to do so with open arms, and open heart, and the knowledge that welcoming all with the radical hospitality of God’s love will change us, too. And that is truly Good News."
"In Welcome All as Christ, John Kyler offers parish ministers a practical, accessible, and deeply valuable resource about the need for hospitality in parish life. With empathy and honesty, Kyler cuts through the noise, framing the work of welcome as an urgent and joyful task, the responsibility of all. Weaving together theological and scriptural reflection with stories from popular culture and everyday life, Welcome All as Christ meets readers where they are at—but does not leave them there."
John T. Kyler serves as general editor for parish resources at Liturgical Press in Collegeville, Minnesota. In addition to experience working in parish faith formation and high school and collegiate campus ministry, John is an active liturgical musician, composer, author, and speaker, focusing on the intersection of liturgy, justice, and healthy vulnerability in pastoral ministry. An instructor in the Emmaus Institute for Ministry Formation and a regular contributor to U.S. Catholic and GIA Quarterly, John holds a master of education from the University of Notre Dame and a master of theological studies from Saint John's University. John is the author of Holy Week at Home: Adaptations of the Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday Rituals for Family and Household Prayer (Liturgical Press, 2021).