(from the Reconnect Leaders Manual)
Why should a Parish community run a Mission?
Pope John Paul II in his encyclical The Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris Missio) called for the Church to renew her missionary commitment, with the goal of achieving an interior renewal of faith and Christian life. “For missionary activity renews the Church, revitalizes faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others! It is in commitment to the Church’s universal mission that the new evangelisation of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support”
A parish can be renewed when the faith is shared with others.
There are many ways that a parish can share the Catholic faith with others, including Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) to bring new people to the Church. The National Office for Evangelisation has developed the programme Reconnect for parish outreach to inactive Catholics.
The parish, in inviting inactive Catholics to reconsider their faith, is offering people a new opportunity to connect with the Church.
5 Stages of Mission Preparation
The mission or program to be conducted is explained fully to all parishioners and their prayers are sought for the success of the program. They are also asked about friends, families or neighbours they know who might wish to invite participants.
As a parish initiative, marketing is a task that could involve many parishioners in a wide variety of ways. Each person can bring their own particular set of skills and enthusiasm to the task of promoting and marketing a mission. One option is to conduct an information session to present an overview of the program and explain how it works.
- Team Formation
Team members are recruited. Preparation for running the program depends upon which team a person joins. For example a Communications Team would manage the communications and administration of a program. Existing prayer groups and networks in the parish can pray for the program.
If a small group is to be run, names and addresses of potential participants are collated through the parish office. Each identified potential participant is sent a letter of invitation signed by the Parish Priest. Each one of the people who receive a letter is also invited personally.
The running of the small group or parish mission.
Assistance is given, as required, to each person who completes the Program, to assist them to reconnect with the parish to whatever extent they are willing.
Strategies for Marketing a Mission
- Parish Bulletin Ad
It is suggested that an ad should be run for four Sundays leading up to the start of the program.
- Letter Box Drop
A parish might take the opportunity to create a flyer and place it in the letter box of every one of its parishioners. Door knocking might also be a way of engaging with those who are not currently active members of the parish community.
- Announcement at Mass
- Local Paper Ad
It is not enough to rely on bulletin notices. The local paper is one way to reach out to those not currently connected with the Church. Many papers offer a discounted rate for Churches.