A Salad From Chili's Leads To Holy Desserts
Editor’s note: Editor Tim Lilley yields his “Journey of Faith” space in this issue to international speaker and author Katie Prejean McGrady. What follows appeared on McGrady’s Twitter feed less than two weeks ago. We all need to hear this message.
While flying home Sunday, I got a salad from Chili's at the airport and this conversation happened:
A young man ordered food after me, and we both stood there waiting. I pulled my phone out at one point, and the Crucifix from my rosary pulled out too, hanging out my pocket. He saw it & asked me if I was Catholic.
“Yes...very,” I jokingly replied.
“Oh,” he said back.
He looked past me and said, “I used to be Catholic, but I never really felt like I fit.”
I nodded my head, not sure what to say back. But he continued talking, with no prompting.
“I went to a bunch of different parishes when I moved, but no one ever even asked me my name. I always loved going. Where else can a dude stare at stained glass and it’s not weird? But no one seemed to want me there. So I stopped.”
At this point, I’ve said nothing other than “Yes” and “very,” and this guy is opening up about losing faith.
Because no one asked him his name.
“Well...” I said. “What’s your name?”
“Well, Joe. I’m Katie. I’m very Catholic, and I’d love to see you come back to the Church. I want you there.”
“Yeah...maybe,” he replied.
We stood quietly for another few moments, and then both our orders were ready.
As we grabbed the bags, he turned back to me and said, “I know it’s my fault I left for something so silly as no one asking me my name; but like, isn’t that the first thing Jesus would want us to know about each other?”
“Yeah, Joe. It is. And you’re right.”
Y’all … Church is about people encountering Jesus, and we do that with other people whose names we need to know.
Joe left because no one saw him; and yes, we could argue that we don’t go to Mass to just build community, but to receive the Eucharist. But the community is important too.
People matter. Their names matter. Their stories matter. Church is for them, Jesus is present for them, & we need to know them.
If you see someone new at your parish, ask them their name. Learn their story. Meet them. Engage with them. Befriend them. Thank them for being there.
It takes 10 seconds to introduce yourself. And who knows? Maybe that’s all it’ll take to keep them coming, and they stay rooted in the Truth of the Faith as a result.
Screens down. Eyes up.
Let’s see one another.
Let’s love one another.
Katie Prejean McGrady is an international speaker and author of “Room 24: Adventures of a New Evangelist,” and “Follow: Your Lifelong Adventure with Jesus” She also hosts “The Electric Waffle,” a podcast of conversational chaos about culture, family, marriage, TV and movies, and Catholicism. She has been traveling across the country since 2007 engaging audiences of all ages and sizes with theological truths and a unique blend of humor. McGrady has appeared on EWTN, Catholic TV, Radio Maria and Sirius XM’s Catholic Channel. She writes for Ave Maria Press, LifeTeen and EpicPew, and she has spoken in parishes and dioceses across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Most recently, she was one of three delegates chosen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to represent the United States at the Pre-Synod gathering on Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment at the Vatican. She has a degree in Theology from the University of Dallas, and lives with her husband, daughter, and dog in Lake Charles, La. Find out more at www.katieprejean.com