What do people want in a parish? A friendly and welcoming atmosphere, for starters. Our package of stories from Catholic News Service on parish life across the U.S. — including at Sacred Heart Parish in Royersford — explores the qualities of healthy parishes.

Parishes: Called to welcome ‘as Christ has welcomed you’
Throughout the U.S., many Catholic parishes make “welcome” the guidepost in their efforts to evangelize their communities. As St. Paul told the Romans: “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God” (15:7). Sacred Heart Parish in Montgomery County is featured among those in California and Maryland.

Parish pastor calls for hospitality, good preaching and good music
Accessibility for people of all needs, children’s engagement in the liturgy, small-group faith studies, thoughtful homilies and inviting music during Mass help parishioners in their discipleship with the Lord, writes the pastor of a parish he founded.

Early Christians gathered in homes, not churches, professor says
We may take parish life for granted, but the generation that knew Jesus never saw a church building. What were the earliest churches actually like?