Diocese of Joliet

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Joliet Delegation | Convocation Content | Going ForwardEvangelization Strategies

Evangelization Strategies

 Initial Ideas & Concepts || Specific Strategies Recommended by Parishes

Specific Ideas from our Parishes
Parish and diocesan leaders have been discussing evangelization strategies for parishes and for the diocesan church. Here are some of their comments and suggestions. 

  • Large-Scale Opportunities for Confession
    The 2016 Jubilee "Year of Mercy" inspired several 'marathon'-type opportunities for Confessions in the Diocese of Joliet.  In each diocesan deanery, our priests collaborated to offer these "Hours for the Lord" during Lent and Advent and have continued to do so since.  These events have been greatly successful, with priests hearing hundreds of Confessions, and bringing dozens of people back to their faith.

  • Advertising/Marketing the Church
    "Think outside the bulletin." Often, the reason people don't come to Church is a lack of invitation or reminder to do so.  Several of our parishes and groups have seen an increase in participation by undertaking legitimate efforts to promote/market/advertise the Mass, Confessions or other events sponsored by the Church. These have included:
    • Flyers in coffee shops, train stations and other public places
    • Billboards and yard signs
    • Devloping a social media presence

  • Develop an "Evangelization Team"
    Is there anyone at your parish (staff, volunteers, or a committee) whose specific focus is to review the parish's effectiveness at evangelization?  Or to develop a parish-wide strategy to evangelize more people?  Or to consult with other parish groups on better ways to evangelize through their existing programs?  Having someone be responsible for your parish's evangelization efforts is one way to improve in that area.

  • Be Welcoming at the Front Door ("Radical Hospitality")
    When parishioners DO attend Mass, do they feel welcomed? Establishing a welcoming presence is a key to affirming your existing Mass attendance, and encourages people to come back week after week - and maybe even invite others! Some ideas used in some of our parishes include:
    • Greeters at the door - opening doors and handing out Mass programs
    • Welcome! signs created by children in school or RE programs
    • "Welcome home" events for college students on break or people returning to the Church after a long absence
    • "Go forth" materials at the end of Mass - a prayer card, event flyers, or just a list of the week's upcoming events, link to website and social media

  • Door-to-Door Evangelization
    Some parishes have made efforts to contact parishioners or other local residents by phone, or by visitng them at their home.  Here are some ideas from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati if this is something your parish is willing to try.

  • Mailer Campaigns
    A letter, flyer or pamphlet sent out a few times a year (like during Lent or Advent) to registered parishioners is a great way to remind parish families of Mass times and parish events, a parish mission, pastoral, catechetical or service opportunities.  A message from the pastor in the mail can go a long way towards inviting people to come back to Church.

  • Specific Programs Meant to Evangelize and Form Disciples
    Parishes don't have to "reinvent the wheel" when coming up with a strategy to evangelize better.  There are many programs are local; others are available nationwide and can help develop your ministry.  Some of these include:
    • "Be My Witness" (Renew International) - a guided program for promoting the New Evangelization
    • "Project Passion" (St. Mary Immaculate, Plainfeild) - a 30-day prayer challlenge
    • "Christ Renews His Parish" - (Dynamic Catholic) a process of spiritual renewal for a parish
    • "Theology on Tap"  - a speaker series aimed at young adults
    • ... and many more!