A range of ideas that communities could take inspiration from. Use, adapt, change… GO FOR IT
Your communities may already be doing many of the great things outlined. Celebrate these. And remember..that every community and individual is called to grow and share faith all the time, in all ways.
These are just a few starters and certainly not an exhaustive list.
Consider taking on this as an individual Mission effort
Instead of random acts of kindness let each of us plan and search for the opportunity for: Intentional Moments of Mission.
It could be holding a baby for a harassed mum in the supermarket; paying a parking fee for a pensioner, sitting with a homeless person for a chat, ringing up the housebound for a chat or………..
Nurture a welcoming community.
Consider the following
a. Appoint a welcome coordinator to organise that
– each person is welcomed
– newcomers are identified and invited to become part of community life
– follow up on newcomers, ring them, invite them to become involved
– ensure community activities are publicised in Church notices and social media including the parish website.
b. Review and ensure signs throughout the parish plant – consider being bi-lingual in your signs
Develop and strengthen awareness of ourselves as participants in mission
a. Build opportunities for prayer and reflection into community activities
– encourage a variety of prayer forms such as lectio divina, Taize, Christian meditation
b. Consider ways that the community can support and prepare members to be disciples ‘called and sent’ This might be through the Alpha programme.
– plan adult education that will give members confidence to share their faith
– promote the sharing and celebration of stories of faith, discipleship and witness of community members
Pastoral Areas are a method of collaborating for Mission. As well as adjoining parishes they include schools and ethnic communities thus providing a rich resource for Mission.
Community leaders including parish pastoral councils and ministry groups, schools BOT and staff, ethnic chaplains and councils, can explore how they can ‘work smarter’ to provide a compelling witness to our Church as a communion.
Some areas to consider for collaboration include:
– the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
– social justice initiatives particularly as a form of common witness to faith
– shared adult faith education opportunities
– shared social gatherings
– sacramental preparation
… other areas of pastoral life where working together provides both witness and positive outcomes
A Brainstorm of Ideas
The possibilities are endless…
- Reach out activities & fun classes widely publicised to attract people
- Use website resources such as Kid’s Korner
- Outreach through St Vincent de Paul, Mercy Hospice, schools, Catholic Social Services, other religious groups to the marginalised eg: homeless
- Include ‘Welcome any time in Church’ along with Mass times in local papers
- Have sandwich board ‘Welcome’ sign on footpath outside church when church is open
- Have got an open group Facebook page
- New Evangelisation – invite people Catholic & non-Catholic to gatherings which consist of songs, real-life sharing, prayers, simple meals – the model of Alpha.
- Run ‘drives’ to gather resources for distribution to those in need e.g pyjamas, toiletries
5 F’s magic – Fun, Food, Fellowship, Faith, Fishing (for people)
- Let God’s Word take root in families through promoting Liturgy of the Word
- Form more leaders so that the same people don’t have to do the same thing all the time.
- Family Fun & Reflection leaflet in newsletter
- Reach out to home-bound
- Target efforts to attract & retain teenagers though youth friendly liturgies & other activities. Contact the youth team to find out about Life Teen a wonderful resource to promote inclusive Church
- Involve representatives of all Catholic Faith Communities – parishes, Schools, Groups – in developing a shared sense of participation in mission.
Communication – Create and maintain an up-to-date database
Consider how the community engages with social media and the use of technology
a. Review parish websites and to ensure that they a user friendly and include such elements as:
– vision for the parish community
– an accurate list of contact details for the parish team, ministry groups,….
– Mass timetable and parish calendar
– links to on-line faith resources, diocesan agencies and services, local Catholic schools, pastoral area communities
– welcome to searchers – both those at the edge of the community and those new to the faith
b. Look at other technological ways to build and share faith including addressing the needs of young people and families this could be Face Book, Twitter, Instagram……
– include structures that ensure that these are relevant and updated frequently
– look at how these social media tools can spread the Good News as well as communicate with the community.
Explore other aspects of Communication for Mission.