Welcoming on Ash Wednesday

Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash

When I worked at the parish I almost dreaded Ash Wednesday. Not because Lent was beginning, but because of the number of calls that came in asking about Mass times and the plethora of cars in the parking lot all day long. I was happy that people were beginning this beautiful season with the Lord, but I didn’t really want to be anywhere near it.

In the past few years I’ve talked countless times about hospitality and what it means to be welcoming at the parish. Now I think I really missed an opportunity at the parish all those years ago. Ash Wednesday is one of the most highly attended Masses of the year. People who haven’t been to Mass any other Sunday of the year will show up on Ash Wednesday because it’s part of their personal traditional beginning to Lent.

How are you welcoming these visitors? I’m going to share three ideas I hope you’ll take on for 2021.

  1. Employ parking lot attendants and greeters to help people find their way in the parish. They can direct people where to park and hand out the worship aid for Mass. This gives an initial welcoming voice to the parish as people drive in – even when they’re running a little behind and aren’t sure where to park.
  2. Print a Worship Aid. I know that handouts are hard right now with us trying to reduce the transmission of Covid, but I’d encourage you to print a plethora so there’s no reusing. We have many people who haven’t been to Church since last Ash Wednesday (when we were still wide open) and they’ll appreciate the added effort.
  3. Send people home with a flyer, folder, or magnet that lists all of the Lenten activities of the parish including Easter Mass times. This acts as a reminder to continue this journey toward the Lord.

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