Welcoming Angels in Keokuk


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

When someone enters a Catholic church for the first time, it can be “nerve-racking,” said Trevor Pullinger, director of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry for Church of All Saints Parish in Keokuk. They may not know when to “stand, sit and kneel,” and may be unfamiliar with the structure of the Mass in general. A warm welcome and gentle guidance can help tremendously, but it doesn’t always happen; many people are a little nervous about reaching out to strangers.


In the spirit of Vision 20/20, the Keokuk parish is hosting a program, “Welcoming Angels,” to help participants gain an understanding of the spirituality of hospitality and of welcoming people into a community. The event will take place March 7 from 1-4 p.m. at the parish followed by Mass at 4:30 p.m. Opportunities for prayer, learning and reflection will be offered.

Sheri Wohlfert, a Catholic wife, speaker and teacher from Westphalia, Michigan will lead the program. Pullinger and Father David Brownfield, pastor of the Keokuk parish, heard Wohlfert speak at a hospitality workshop at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport in August and were eager to bring her to Keokuk, Pullinger said. “One of the areas we need to work on as a parish is being welcoming and sharing hospitality — not just cake and doughnuts, but being hospitable as a parish in general to folks who come in.”


Pullinger said Catholics may see hospitality as the job of a priest, staff member or greeter, “but wouldn’t it be nice if parishioners just automatically felt empowered or encouraged to be welcoming?” He said Wohlfert will offer practical ideas on being hospitable and discuss how hospitality is part of Catholics’ baptismal call to be priest, prophet and king. “It’s part of being Christian to be hospitable and welcoming. That’s the real push for our parish.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the parish at (319) 524-8334.

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