Last summer at the Downers Grove Rotary Festival, St Mary of Gostyn hosted a lively booth to celebrate our 125 Anniversary with our local community. The Crowe Family loved having their photo taken with our Pope Francis cut-out. It’s our mission to go out into the world and share the good news. We are called to invite people back home to participate in God’s love. Summertime is the perfect time to share that invitation!
Jesus had 12 apostles. Ponder for a moment 12 people (or 12 families) you know. What if you could get even 3 of those individuals/families to take you up on an invitation into the richness of parish life? What if just 1 person or 1 family began to know Christ in a new way because of your efforts? What if they began participating in the life of your parish and in the sacraments with renewed vigor, and then they, too, invited others? Faith could grow exponentially!
Try a few of these ideas this summer and see who responds:
- Start specifically praying for neighbors, people in the community and that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts.
- Look at the parish calendar of events and consider which specific events may have the most appeal to a specific person or family. Perhaps he or she is a golfer or the family would enjoy attending the parish picnic.
- Bring home a parish bulletin, circle information about the event, and hand deliver it with a personal invitation to join you for the event.
- Invite someone to Mass on a Sunday morning and then back to your home for a pancake breakfast (This was my Dad’s favorite practice).
- Invite someone to a Saturday or Sunday evening Mass followed by a BBQ at your home (or out for pizza at a favorite local spot).
- Drop off donuts and coffee at someone’s home after you attend Mass on Sunday morning, and let them know you were thinking of them.
- Share a copy of the parish bulletin electronically with a friend or neighbor via your smartphone.
- Share a direct link to your favorite free Catholic app (OneParish is loaded on my phone), explain why you like it and how you use it, and encourage someone new to download it.
- Share something inspiring that you read online. The OneParish Catholic app has easily shareable content: With just a click you can share Pope Francis’ latest tweet or a video from Bishop Robert Barron.
- Talk openly about what you love most about your parish: the music, the preaching, the charitable works done in the community, the way the youth group has supported your teens, and/or the friends you have made through ministry groups. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious!
My dear friend always reminds me that we are called to evangelize like a butterfly and not like a bee. When Helen Keller couldn’t see and couldn’t speak, it was a loving teacher who gently taught her sign language that opened a door for her to to connect with the world around her. We are called to be that loving guide for others and it can be as easy as a warm and authentic invitation.