It’s been a little over two years since the world “stopped” due to Covid. In recent months we are seeing things start to turn around. The plan of the Church is to get people back to Mass as a community. With Palm Sunday this weekend, Holy Week and Easter next week, here are some suggestions to share with your parishioners.
As my colleague, Arthur Richardson, stated in a recent Diocesan podcast, people are hurting, we are broken, and the Church is a place for healing. Fellowship between family, friends, and other parishioners is a key component to that healing. Reminding parishioners to come back can be communicated in a number of ways. Depending on budgets and staff time, a call or post card, or even an email to parishioners who haven’t been there ‘live’ is a thoughtful reminder that they are missed.
Another parish suggestion is to pass around note cards this Sunday, or as soon as time allows, and ask parishioners for names and contact information for someone that might enjoy attending Mass at your parish for Easter or anytime.
Invite parishioners to tell their Catholic faith story, and if they are willing, add it to the testimonial page of your website or social pages. It might just be the little something that another person needs to hear. Oftentimes, your Catholic life could be strengthened by another’s testimony.
In closing, it’s important to keep your social media, myParish app, Evangelus, and websites up to date, but especially during holidays when families are traveling and are looking for Mass times and activities at your parish.
At Diocesan, we hope these ideas to get your community members back in the pews will help.
Easter is fast approaching. Use these suggestions as you prepare your parishioners.
- Use messaging. Often. Your parish has a lot going on – study groups, missions, special services, extra confession times. Taking 5 minutes a day to send out a message can help keep folks informed.
- Keep important app information updated. This is the time you’ll really want to make sure bulletins are up-to-date on the app, as are Father’s homilies. Also, make sure basic parish information is current. People travel a lot this time of year and look for a church – you don’t want them to show up for 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday when you changed the schedule months ago.
- Tell people about the app. Keep the Launch Kit banner up in the parish hall. Have teens pass out information during coffee after Mass. Run information on how to download the app in the bulletin. Remember, this is the time of year when folks who often don’t go to church will be there – giving them the app is a wonderful gift!
- Use the app yourself. First, you’ll know for sure if something isn’t right! But use the app for your own spiritual enrichment. Too often, parish workers set aside their own spiritual life for everyone else’s. You can’t give what you don’t have, so dig into the readings of the day, and set prayer reminders to go off to help you stay on track.
Find Peace in the remaining days of Lent.
In the time before Lent, many of us start thinking about what we and our family members are going to “give up for Lent” Many bad habits are put on hold during that six week period, while other habits are given up completely. As the years have passed and I don’t have small children to guide through the process, I find myself looking for a balance. Not only do I focus on something I can give up, but something I can change about myself to help me be more in touch with the beauty of the Lenten and Easter Season.
Lent is a special time of grace in the Church and as parish communicators, we can support and foster our parishioners and visitors in their desire to grow in holiness through inspiring and welcoming images, thoughtful reflections and links to meaningful content. Preplan your Lenten online communications. Ash Wednesday is March 2.
As others approach you to share their sacrifice, below are a few that you might offer:
- Take the time to set up online giving, it is easy to do and will help you give consistently throughout the year.
- Set a prayer reminder and pray every day. Need more accountability? Set one with a group of friends.
- Start a daily Lenten reflection through the Inspire Daily button.
- Be more accepting of other peoples’ habits that seem to push you over the edge. Close your eyes, smile and think about why that person or action annoys you. When you take a moment to think about it, you might feel better about yourself which will in turn help you to be more accepting of others.
- Start weekly and offer acts of kindness to your friends; surprise a friend with a meal, stop by with a little inexpensive gift for them, offer to run an errand for someone or pick up something from the grocery store for them. Even something as simple as a happy text. Seeing the gratitude from others will encourage you to continue this lifestyle habit.