Lessons from My Vacation


I recently spent a week on our family beach vacation at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Most of my week was spent either reading on the beach or doing water sports, but the week began on Sunday with Mass at a new parish. If you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks you’ll know that there are not very many options for Mass on the island. Years ago I attended the smaller parish in the area down south, but this year we had the opportunity to attend Mass at Holy Redeemer up north.

I love my home parish, our style, our music, my pastor – so when I’m traveling I’m always hoping to get something great. That’s not always true – but for this vacation, I was pleasantly surprised!

This parish recognizes that more than 50% (probably a lot more than that) of the people who attend Sunday Mass are visitors. They did a great job recognizing that by helping Mass attendees remember what to do during Mass (anyone else sometimes forget when to stand when you’re in a new place?).

One of those things is their bulletin. Father gave us a “Bulletin Commercial” at the end of Mass saying that his bulletin is the absolute best one out there. He challenged us to send along a better bulletin!

Why is it so great? It has the full schedule right there on the front so it’s clear how we might get more involved why we’re on vacation. There are some great articles about the faith, stewardship, and this week’s readings so we can go deeper in our faith. He includes some “holy jokes” to keep us joyful. Finally, to help with everyone’s least favorite part of attending Mass … info about the parking lot!

Traffic was an issue every time we drove somewhere while on vacation, so having some tips and tricks for how to get out of the parking lot faster while avoiding traffic was awesome.

He also said, “If you’re looking for a great place for breakfast, on the back of the bulletin are tons of great restaurants. How do I know? I’ve tried them all! Some might even give you a discount if you show them our bulletin!”

Why does any of this matter?

For me it matters because they are considering the needs of the person who is visiting their parish. We didn’t mind the extra commercial at the end of Mass, and I definitely didn’t mind the directions to take the ‘back way’ out to the highway instead of fighting with the other 400 cars back on their way to the beach!

What can you do to your parish bulletin to make it better for your parishioners and visitors? Share your great ideas below!

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