Catholics Come Home Parish Staff & Ministry Leader Strategic Planning Workshop “Ministers of First Impression”
Catholics ComeHome Our Parish Can Be “Welcoming”
Think more about… • Welcoming family to the feast • Making room in our home for others • Preparing for honored guests
Think about… • Human touches, Human Solidarity
Think About--Living Eucharist • God welcomes us
Think a “Culture of Welcome” • “I feel like this crowd wants me to belong here!”
Don’t You Agree? • Hospitality is primary to the Church’s mission • Hospitality is essential: • To foster holiness • Preach and Teach • Shepherd the flock
Let’s Look at The Catholics Come Home Commercials A New Opportunity to Foster Hospitality and Welcome in our Parishes
Definition Building an authentically Catholic community Engendering a spirit of welcome for all people Valuing diversity (people, cultures, gifts, tastes . . .) Fostering unity
Hospitality = Making room for people As they are; without judging; without meaningless obstacles. Valuing people; listening; encouraging Genuine human gestures. First impressions that draw people back for more and don’t disappoint them when they return Patience as people adjust and find their niche Continuing expressions of appreciation and welcome even after many years
Forming a “Hospitable” Culture • Pray for openness and a spirit of patience and welcome • Lead by example • Take time to be prepared • Pay attention to human touches • Use names, be sincere & kind • Be helpful • Encourage full participation
Forming a “Hospitable” Culture • Be sincere in welcoming “old timers” • Give second chances • Freely & abundantly. • Forgive people’s awkwardness • Don’t tire of welcoming people • Remember human gestures speak louder than words.
Steps to a “Hospitable” Culture • Be genuinely interested • Be committed to spiritual growth and development of faith • Observe and insist on boundaries • Encourage without judgment • Engage the whole team • Use the Publix model: don’t tell them show them.
Things Parishes Can Do • Relax, put your best forward • Don’t put on airs; be natural • Focus on one-to-one, real face time. • Use simple and small gestures • Make impressions that build lasting relationships. • Don’t underestimate the difficulties people are carrying • Be grateful, be patient
Simple Transformations • Listen to stories, don’t give forms to be filled out • Discover the gifts they wish to share, don’t tell them what they can do for you. • Welcome new people in small groups with one-on-one time. • Make obstacles easier to accept
Check List for Hospitality • Is your campus inviting? • Are people greeted warmly as they arrive? • Who is responsible for welcoming? • Bulletin—A tool of good news & welcome or is it cluttered and difficult to read? • Are Liturgical Ministers leaders of welcome? • Is your parish a “mean free” zone?
What Makes for Good Welcome • Enthusiasm that is contagious • Respecting human limits • Making things easier and lighter • Being aware: Worship and raising a family is more important than volunteering. • Encourage talk about spiritual and human needs
What Makes for Good Welcome • Joyfulness and Passion for Faith • Positive communication of mission & goals • Conversations that engage the person • Spiritual growth is valued and encouraged • Genuine friendliness and encouragement • Personal expressions of appreciation • Expressions of Welcome are a habit • Freedom to adjust and do what you do best
Catholics Come Home Program:About the Program • TV Commercials (Dec. 2011-Jan. 2012) • Engraved invitation to people who desire a return to the faith. • Powerful help to parishes • Chance to positively engage ordinary Catholics in evangelization. • A good start for conversation
“Only one thing is necessary” • There are thousands of people who desire a return home to the Catholic Church. • For many there is no reason why they left or the reason may no longer keep them from returning • For most it may take nothing more than a sense of welcome at the parish where they choose to return
What parishes should remember • This is as much about us as it is about them—Everyone wants a spiritual home • We are called to be good neighbors • Catholicism is attractive on so many levels. If people feel welcomed they will explore and find their niche. • It is extraordinarily important when people have the courage to return to Church • It is Christ’s Church and Christ makes true conversion possible
What if…It works • More people on fire for the Lord • Positive engagement to fuel our mission, goals and growth • Healing wounds • Joy, happiness and freedom for more of our people • Higher level of participation in parish stewardship
“Ministers of First Impression” Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
God made us to be relational, with Him and with others. We value relationships and community. We also live in a very visual culture where we absorb and judge what we see immediately. There is often not a second chance to make a good first impression.
The next time you walk into your own parish imagine being new to the parish, new to the Tampa Bay area, maybe even new to Catholicism. If you called, emailed, or checked the parish website, what would you see/hear? As a visitor, what would greet you? Who would meet you? Would anyone acknowledge you? Would anyone even be smiling? If you left and never came back, would you be missed? Would anything, or better anyone, really help you notice, understand, and value what is happening around you, naturally and supernaturally?
When we put ourselves in the shoes of someone who has not been in our parish ever or for a while, it is easy to see how everyone in the community is a“Minister of 1st Impression”.
I Think We Can All Agree On Why We Should Undertake This Initiative! “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Luke 12:49
What? • Select the Materials from the DOSP/CCH Website • www.dosp.org Click the CCH Logo Best Practices from the Archdiocese of Boston, the Diocese of Phoenix and The Archdiocese of Chicago and our Diocesan Offices—soon, some of your shared “best practices” that we hope you will send for posting • Plan as a Staff: Discuss how your parish can respond to the needs of and receive those who return. See these tools—A Gift of Best Practices from the Archdiocese of Chicago • Best Practices for Parish—Handout • Parish Planning Sheet—Handout • Parish Directory—Handout • Phone Skills & Call Log—Handouts
When? • Now and Before the Television Campaign: • Strategize with staff, ministry leaders & organizations and CCH Committee • Consider parish website, signage, bulletin information, parish-wide awareness, highlight commercials from disk before Mass • Prepare forms—phone logs & parish directory—distribute broadly, train all necessary implementers
When? • During the Television Campaign: • Welcome signs, Mass greetings, information stations, pew cards? • Gather, “route” and respond to all who have identified themselves as having returned or who desire more information • Have volunteer “ambassadors” ready to befriend and guide • Provide ways and means for parishioners to “step up” and accept responsibility for following through and connecting with the most appropriate minister and/or ministry or service
When? • During and Following the Television Campaign: • Initiate catechetical series or programs, and seminars about Catholicism • Integrate returnees or inquirers when they are ready; help them discern readiness • Renew and refresh your efforts to foster the hospitality and welcome of your parish on a regular basis
Where? The television campaign can do just so much—the rest is up to us! • In person—person-to-person at the parish or on the parish campus • In person—in parishioner’s personal, work, neighborhood and social relationships • In print—parish bulletins/inserts & Diocesan CCH Newsletter distributed to all. • Signage: Parish signs, banners, handouts, cards and pamphlets, magnets???? • In cyberspace—parish website, YouTube, email blasts, Facebook????
HOW? • Avoid negative terms: Fallen Away, Alienated, Disaffected etc. Catholics • Use the common term Returning Catholics • As you prepare your staff and parish community, foster an understanding of everyone’s particular roles, empower everyone to exercise those roles through information and formation
Pastor • Preach on Evangelization:The Pastors primary role is to animate and encourage his parish and staff to evangelize, to share the good news with others and witness to it in their actions. • Show the Commercials:Show the commercials to your staff, to your parish council, and when appropriate to your entire community. Ask them what they will do to proclaim the good news, witness the good news in their lives, and be ready to invite and receive returning Catholics.
Pastor • Plan as a Staff:Meet with the staff to discuss how best your parish can respond to the needs of those who are returning and how your parish will receive those who “inquire”( RCIA). • Pulpit Announcements:Announce the campaign, the commercial airing schedule and your intentions as a Pastor and as a community for inviting and receiving returning Catholics.
Parish Staff: • Evangelization at the Core:Make each and every moment at your parish an opportunity to encounter Christ. • Hospitality:St. Paul instructs us “Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you” (Romans 15:7). By receiving people on the phone, in person, via email etc with love and graciousness we model the love Christ has for each of us, and witness to what we proclaim.
Parish Staff: • Flexibility:As people return it is important that we are ready to try to meet their needs. While it is not our responsibility to create new programs to meet each individual need, it is important that we do more than just ask people to wait. While people wait to register for Religious Education, RCIA, marriage prep etc, encourage them to attend Mass, involve them in other ways, and stay in contact with them (ambassadors?). • Sharing the Good News:As a staff be sure to share all the good you are doing to make an impact in the lives of those you serve. “Always be ready to give a reason for your hope” (1Peter 3:15) to one another and to those you serve. During the campaign keep track of any increase in Mass attendance and share any stories of people returning with each other and with your Diocesan Office.
Receptionist/Parish Secretary: • Hospitality:For many, the receptionist is the “Coordinator of First Impressions” and serves as the first face of Christ to those who visit or call the Parish Office. Be ready to receive and serve those with love and patience. Always be sure to give them your name and invite them to call you personally if they have any questions. (see phone skills sheet and call log)
Receptionist/Parish Secretary: • Referrals:It is important to know what each person on the parish staff does so that you can refer people to the correct staff member or volunteer. Know the job responsibilities of each person and their work schedule so you can inform people if the person they need is out of the office and when they will return. • HelpForm Others:Trainthose who “fill in” for you when you are away. Ask parish ministers for regular updates on their programs and ministry leadership
Parish Community: • Hospitality: Be ready to receive those who may come home. To greet them, welcome them, and by your example model for them what it means to have a relationship with Christ and His Church. • Evangelization: The dismissal from Mass illustrates the important role of the community to go forth “to love and serve the Lord”. This love and service is demonstrated by our willingness to proclaim the Good News and witness to it with our lives. We are called to “bring Jesus into every situation” (Go Make Disciples-GMD), the laity have the unique ability to bring their faith and love for Christ to the workplace, the home, the mall etc.
Parish Community: • Invitation:The average active Catholic knows 2 to 3 inactive Catholics. It is so important that each and every parishioner is asking their family and friends to come home. • Catechesis:Many Catholics don’t know the teachings of the Church, even less know the scriptures of which all teaching is connected to. The Parish should be ready to answer the basic questions about Mass, Confession, Scripture and Tradition, Marriage and Family Life, etc. • Prayer:All the collective efforts of the community must be offered up in prayer. The Parish is encouraged to pray specifically those who have left the Church, those who may have been hurt by the Church, and those who are returning home.
ME FIRST—ALL Of US! • Focus on your role as a minister of hospitality • Join the evangelization team – add greeting and welcoming to your job description • Think about who needs to hear the invitation of “Catholics Come Home” • Pray for the success of this initiative!
Returning Catholics Prayer Dear Lord, may our hearts and minds be nourished by your sustaining love, may our words and actions be guided by your ever present grace, That all who seek to know you; encounter you here, That all who seek to serve you; be welcomed to the vineyard That all who seek to love you; know that they are loved. That all who seek to return to their Catholic faith may be welcomed and received.
Sessions for Individual Ministries • Look over the handouts and slides for a few moments to foster your “ministry-affinity” discussions • Ask questions of the presenters/diocesan staff who will “work the room” • Talk with one another, exchange ideas about what has worked for you, your ministry, your parish • Delegate a recorder to send those ideas and suggestions to Brian Lemoi at: BAL@DOSP.org
THANK YOU! May God Bless Our Efforts As We Welcome Catholics Home!