Posted by: Fr Chris | February 16, 2019

Byzantine Catholic Evangelization 2

Some Simple Basics

Here are suggestions to help in preparing for visitors.

Welcoming

Within the first 30 seconds of entering a church, visitors will know if they are going to return or not.  How you welcome guests in the entryway, and what you put there, is absolutely critical.  Walking in to a new church can be intimidating. Have a person there. Greeting is so important. A greeter can welcome the visitor, give the parish handout material, and point them in the right direction. Ideally, a greeter knows certain parishioners who will be happy to have a guest seated with them, parishioners who are proud of their parish and willing to “show the ropes” regarding using the book, when to sit and stand, and how to receive Holy Communion.

  1. What the Greeter Gives: Above all else, a smile and an extended hand with a warm “Welcome to our Parish!”
  1. If the pastor welcomes guests at the close of the Divine Liturgy during parish announcements, then greeters can ask guests to sign their name on the paper going up to the altar. If the visitor does not want to be greeted, a good greeter will respect that wish instantly. This is no time to be pushy!
  2. Greeters should give to each guest:
    1. An Icon Holy Card with parish name, address, website, phone number of the office stamped or printed on the back.
    2. Copy of the  Divine Liturgy for visitors to use during the Liturgy. If giving out the green pew book, then make sure that the ribbon marking the day/ Tone is pointed out to them. If using the Byzantine Seminary Press paperback, point out that the music for the texts reflects common melodies, but not all of them.
    3. Now they’re in the door, and what should they do? Ask in advance for parishioners who are happy to host guests in their pew. Special note here: those parishioners should plan to be at the church 15 minutes before the Liturgy begins, not as the priest and servers enter the sanctuary!
  3. Greeters should be responsible and if they cannot serve on a particular weekend, they arrange for a substitute, or else inform the office a week in advance. An empty vestibule/ narthex is a dead one!
  1. Available for Visitor:
    Visitors come any day of the week, and if your church is open, here are suggestions to keep on hand. Bright, attractive handouts will do wonders!
  1. Eastern Catholics in the United States of America. Available from USCCB Publications http://store.usccb.org/eastern-catholics-in-the-united-states-p/5-287.htm      $3.95

    You can have it available for free in your pamphlet rack or on a table, while selling copies in your parish store. A Roman Catholic visitor is immediately assured that the church is indeed a Catholic one!

  2. Byzantine Seminary Press Leaflets. http://www.byzantineseminarypress.com/Byzantine-Leaflet-Series/ The Press has over 50 fold-out titles available. Ones appropriate to the season or holy day can be placed in a rack or on a table, such as “Blessing of Easter Foods” #2. If the parish patron is a title from the series, such as SS. Peter and Paul or Our Lady of Perpetual Help, then the pamphlet can be left out all year. Non-seasonal ones can also be kept out, such as “Veneration of Icons” (#16), “The Anointing with Holy Oil” (#10), “The Observance of Sunday” (#38), and “Prayers to the Blessed Mother of God”(#27).
  3. Holy Cards.Attractive holy cards can be purchased from the Seminary Press and imprinting done, or they can be made locally. During Great Lent, cards with the Prayer of Saint Ephrem; during Pascha Resurrection cards; at Christmas Nativity cards, etc.

Newspapers. Every eparchy has its own publication. Buy extra copies which can be placed in the narthex. No more than three different issues should be kept, to avoid clutter.

Registration Forms. Make it easy for someone to join the parish: put these forms right where everyone can find them!

  1. WELCOME TO OUR CHURCH folders – Easy to read folders about life in an Eastern: available at  https://store.godwithusbooks.org/index.php?p=catalog&mode=search&search_str=welcome+to+parish+

 


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