Invite & Welcome

Make a special commitment to embrace hospitality.

How welcoming is your parish? It can be difficult to tell as an insider.

We have visited a number of well-meaning parishes that prided themselves as being particularly welcoming (and regularly announced that they were). Unfortunately, that's not what outsiders experienced when they visited.

It is difficult to get hospitality right, since the stronger our community becomes, the more we have to work on avoiding cliques, challenging our assumptions, and focusing outward. This is the heart of ministry. It takes regular, intentional effort to be a welcoming parish. It requires getting into the shoes of outsiders and involving the whole community in this effort.

Many times we only have one chance to make an impression on a person dipping their toe back into the parish to see if they want to return. Below are some helpful, practical resources for you to pursue this tricky aspect of ministry.

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How to Invite and Welcome in God's Name

FREE Parish Leader Kit

This practical kit includes resources for leaders and helpful handouts to give to your visitors and regulars to help you become a truly welcoming and hospitable community. Use the "How to Welcome Everyone Litany & Overview" in our liturgies and the "How to Welcome Parish Meeting Agenda" for planning. The "Hospitality & Welcome Examination of Conscience," offers a detailed checklist of ways in which a parish may or may not be actively welcoming and hospitable. FREE!

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Room at the Inn

Pastoral Planning Kit to Prepare for Christmas Visitors

Paul Canavese & Ann Naffziger

At Christmas, your parish is likely visited by many unfamiliar faces. This is a great opportunity for you to make an impression on these occasional visitors: to make them feel welcome and make a case for why the Catholic faith and your parish matter in their lives. Don't miss your chance! This very practical guide includes suggestions on forming a "Room at the Inn" team, handouts on key approaches, and more.

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50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors

Jonathan Malm & Kem Meyer

Walking into a church for the first time can be scary. Are you making your first-time guests feel welcome? Or are you driving them away—unintentionally—with bad signage, reserved seating, clunky communication and more? In this practical book, Jonathan Malm examines 50 ways churches make first-time visitors feel unwelcome. The transgressions range from insider lingo to awkward transitions, a cold congregation to the over-eager greeter. With all 50 church faux pas, Jonathan suggests ways to not only fix the problem, but also infuse excellence into the situation so churches can put their best foot forward with first-time guests. A few simple changes can help your church roll out the welcome mat for your guests.

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All Are Welcome Here

Practicing Christ’s Call to Hospitality

Agnes Kovacs

This inspiring bulk-priced booklet for parish leaders and volunteers is filled with inspiration about the nature of hospitality, and ways we might rethink our own comfort and convenience for the sake of others. And while hospitality in community may seem more complicated than ever, she assures us that "all God asks of us is to begin." A wonderful booklet for thought and reflection as pastors and parish leaders have conversations about hospitality and welcome—now and in the months ahead.

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8 Ways to Build Parish Community

A Practical Guide for Ministers and Parish Leaders

Leisa Anslinger

With people pulled in so many directions today, helping people feel connected—to each other, to the parish, and to God—is a major challenge for parish leaders. How do we build a stronger community, in which more and more people are growing in faith together? Based on her own extensive experience working with parishes and their leaders, Leisa Anslinger explores this vital question, offering eight simple, practical steps to energize and connect the entire parish.

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