A few years ago I wrote a piece of Stewardship Wisdom about language called “Inside Catholic Baseball” (and I even revised it once – which I’m going to do again today). Last week a co-worker sent me a video about hospitality that remarked on the words we use (or do use) for people to come to our parishes. Think about your parish, what signs point you to the office? The Church? The Restrooms? Meeting rooms? The Cry Room?
In order to be safe at Mass, we have to undertake a variety of different precautions from masks to hand sanitizer to disinfecting the pews to sitting six feet apart. For so many of you this time is just about surviving from one Sunday to the next. You might have even had a minor panic attack looking at that picture above with two people shaking hands! (I think it was taken pre-pandemic!)
I’ve been working with a recently merged parish in the Archdiocese of Hartford for the past year and wanted to share their new Welcome Ministry Initiative with you today. It began as a seed in the mind of one of their new parishioners who received a bulletin and envelopes upon registration and is now a full blown ministry (even in the midst of Covid-19) to welcome parishioners. One of the older gentlemen who recently received a Welcome Bag said this to his son, “I have never had a Catholic Church welcome me like this! Gifts and information delivered right to my door!”
What’s the experience at your parish when someone comes in to inquire about a Sacrament? Do they feel welcomed, loved, and embraced? Or rejected because they’ve missed a step? What does your parish do to help them rectify the situation? How do you love them through the process?
Ash Wednesday’s coming up! What will your parish do to ready itself for new people?!
Have you ever been on the outside of a conversation because you didn’t really understand the words people were using? This happens at OSV a lot because we use a lot of 3 letter acronyms: IOP, PVP, OLG, PCC … when we only use shorthand or ‘big words’ we leave people out! Let’s talk about what that might mean at your parish!
A couple of months ago a friend of mine texted me to ask “Is this song appropriate for my funeral?” She’s many years (hopefully) from her passing, but she has taken the liberty of creating a Google Doc with all of her requests for her funeral Mass to share with her family. How can you parish help people prepare for a funeral?
What are the Holy Days of Obligation? Do they fall on a Monday or a Saturday? Have we planned an extra Mass this year? Do our parishioners even know it’s upcoming?
Some of my favorite people in the whole world are children, especially the smiling babies that sit in front of me at Mass! Having children in our communities shows just how vibrant our parishes will be in the future!
Minor Tweaks in our lives can have a big impact. For instance not using a screen for the final hour before bed, can have a dramatic affect on your sleep! It’s the same in our Churches – small tweaks can have a big impact!