3 Lenten Preparation Tips for Church Employees

Posted on February 8, 2018 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

lent church staff

“Is Stations of the Cross in the bulletin?” “Who submitted the invoice for the parish mission speaker? “The confirmation retreat is the weekend after Ash Wednesday. We can’t order pepperoni pizza for Friday! Change the order!”

If these concerns sound familiar to you, you might be a church employee! Lenten considerations look a little different if you’re on a parish staff. It can be easier to feel like Martha rather than Mary. But the Lenten invitation to conversion and sacrifice is extended to every person, even – and perhaps especially – when faith is your job. Read on for a few ways to enter into the season of Lent in your heart, not just on your ministerial to-do list. (more…)

Your Parish Collaboration Needs a Brand

Posted on January 25, 2018 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

parish collaboration

We live in a changing religious landscape. Areas that once featured a Catholic Church on every block now find themselves unable to support the infrastructure while suburban parishes boom and expand. New immigrant arrivals mean ethnically and linguistically diverse parishes. Newly ordained priests don’t always replace the numbers who retire.

In many dioceses, this means adaptability and collaboration on the part of the average parish. These collaborations often bring tensions between staff and parishioners, even perhaps the fear that one day a beloved parish will close or lose it’s unique identity.

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New Year, New Dreams: Living Personal Hospitality

Posted on January 11, 2018 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

personal hospitality

 

I am so happy for 2018. I love fresh starts! My calendar is new — no crossed-out appointments, no rescheduled meetings — just fresh new days and empty pages ready to be filled. I spent an afternoon getting my new planner all set for the year, adding meetings and things I knew were coming up. It’s now waiting for everything that comes my way. Hopefully, the calendar will tell a story in December of how I spent my time, energy, gifts, and strengths. I have a goal for a messy, full calendar with notes and pictures, scribbles, and ideas.

I have a presentation in my calendar for later this month, and it has me thinking about goal setting, which is a very January thing to do. I will be talking with ministry leaders about professionalism. I am looking forward to the day and thought I would share some of the message with you. First, a concept I need to break open: personal hospitality. (more…)

Make a Bulletin New Year’s Resolution

Posted on December 28, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

new year's resolution

 

Greeters at the door and public welcome from the pulpit will go a long way to making sure people feel welcome when they return to your parish. But what about when they walk out the parish doors? Most visitors will walk out with something in hand – your bulletin. You want them to open it, discover a new event, and get connected. In a media-driven world, including attractive visual elements in your bulletin can make a world of difference. Make a New Year’s resolution to add one new piece of art per week. We’re offering four tips to make your bulletin more eye-catching, more inspirational, and more organized. (more…)

Re-Think Your Christmas Parking Lot

Posted on December 18, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

christmas parking lot

Christmas is a week away! As Catholic churches around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we remember that “the regulars” – Mary and Joseph – were not alone that Christmas night. While there was no room in the inn, there was space in the stable to welcome the shepherds.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Midnight Mass…tis the season for fuller pews. How can your parish best handle the influx and prepare an inviting celebration for all?

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5 Ways to an Intentional Advent

Posted on December 5, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

intentional advent

A friend of mine who happens to be a Director of Religious Education at a parish in Northern Wisconsin held an Advent family night this past week. It was the first ever at the parish and was a big hit. I got to see what was happening all night long because of a fantastic teen reporter who covered the event. The video was wobbly, spontaneous, and fun, but it cut off most of the adults from the neck up, so I suspect the reporter was not very tall, but very articulate. His commentary was delightful. He talked about each activity and how it related to Advent and would ad-lib with his own comments about how great things looked or how busy the hallways were or how much fun people were having.

This parish is in one of the poorest counties in Wisconsin. (more…)

Vibrant Witness: Living the Gift of Hospitality

Posted on November 11, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

gift of hospitality

 

It’s early morning and I am sitting by my mom’s bedside. My sister is dozing in a chair and my youngest daughter checking her phone, messaging friends and watching videos. My mom is on her last days. Alzheimer’s claimed her long ago, but still, she is my mom. She was – is – an amazing woman. She taught me about welcome, hospitality and graciousness.

Bishop Caggiano from Bridgeport Connecticut says that if we want company in church we should do what his Italian mom says: “ Clean the house, make some food and when people come, treat them like family.” ( Convocation of Catholic Leaders , The Joy of the Gospel in America, July 2017)

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Hospitality is Communications at Your Catholic Church

Posted on October 28, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

welcoming

 

My wife and I have an area of the church where we like to sit with the boys. It is close to the choir we have a beautiful choir and it’s near our entrance. We are not the people who have our “pew,” but we do have our section. Sound familiar?

My pastor’s homilies for the past few months have been on the theme of welcoming. The one homily that really stuck with me related to what he called “pew hospitality.” He said to move into the middle of the pew when you get to church. When others arrived at Mass, they don’t need to ask you to move over or climb over other people. He made me feel bad since I was the one at the end of the pew! I leaned over to the woman next to me and told her that. Since that Sunday, I have always moved the middle of the pew.

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What a Pumpkin Patch Teaches Us About Parish Hospitality

Posted on October 14, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

fall hospitality

The community I live in is a vacation destination. Today there are coach busses traveling up the highway filled with tourists looking at the fall colors, taking part in pumpkin festivals, and who knows what other fun! Every store, restaurant, winery, and farm stand is decked out with pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and scarecrows. The fun and excitement is contagious. I feel like I need a caramel apple and some of those funky ghost pumpkins and lumpy gourds! Later.

People are coming for an experience. My town and all the others around are making sure people will leave with lovely memories. They are setting the stage for friends and families to have an unforgettable fall day with one another. It is important to set the stage for an experience or adventure of any kind, because those who participate will be touched, moved, and transformed. It takes us beyond the ordinary and into the extraordinary! Just why do we love fall rituals so much?

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