Photography provided by Jared Chambers

There are three essential bridges that each of us can build, as individuals and within our parish communities.


Have you ever walked into a room and immediately felt at home? This is the sort of welcome we need to build in our parishes. The welcome extends beyond the parish, however. We must offer this welcome to our family members and friends, co-workers and neighbors, as we share the love of Christ in our daily lives. Building the bridge of welcome makes everyone feel they belong.


There is nothing like having a good friend to turn to through life's ups and downs. Sometimes we take our friends for granted, until something happens that causes us to miss a friend's presence, or until we need that shoulder to cry on, listening ear, joyful companion, friend on the journey. In our lives and in our parishes, friends are important. Building the bridge of friendship makes the parish feel like home.


When we fall in love, we cannot help but share the news with others. When we love God, we feel compelled to share that love with others. When we recognize that all of our life's blessings are gifts from God, we are drawn to tend those gifts, develop them, and share them with increase as good and faithful stewards. Sharing is a bridge that brings faith to life, and life to the world around us.


Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.
— Pope Francis, September 19, 2013, America Magazine