What is your parish doing to prepare for the influx of C&E (Christmas and Easter) Catholics at Christmas Mass this season?

Making more room and bringing in more chairs? Assigning more extraordinary ministers? More greeters and seaters? More hosts and wine? You might need all of those.

But what are you doing to make a special connection with those C&E Catholics (and anyone else who may be visiting)?

Just think. What if you did something that actually started a meaningful relationship with them? What if you did something that allowed you to make a connection and continue your relationship with them between now and when you see them next (next Easter or Christmas ... or maybe never)?

What if you did something that made them want to come back next week even? Or to attend some event you have coming up?

Intrigue them. Connect with them. Show them that you miss them and care for them. Make them comfortable. Go out of your way to welcome them (but don’t annoy them). Show them that your parish offers something that they need (they just don’t know it yet). Be creative.

One simple thing you could do is start an emailing list and get their email address (something flockNote can help you with). And then only send them stuff that is interesting and helpful and not annoying, of course. But think of something intriguing you can send them that will make people want to sign up (i.e. Father Bob’s ten most embarrassing life stories that taught him about God). Again, be creative.

Or another great idea I’ve seen is this parish book program by Dynamic Catholic. You can get a great book like “Rediscover Catholicism,” by Matthew Kelley, for $2 each. Imagine if you spent $4,000 on 2,000 copies (find some parishioners to sponsor it if you need to). And you gave them out for free to the crowd of people standing at the back of the church?

Let’s be conservative and assume that only 20 of those 2,000 books affect somebody to the point of coming back to your parish and being a regular member. From a financial perspective, those 20 people would end up contributing $416,000 over time. That’s a pretty darn good return on investment for a $4,000 up-front cost. And, of course, the spiritual benefits to both those individuals and your parish, along with the ripple effects, would be immeasurable.

Anyway, that’s just one example. But the influx of people at Christmas and Easter is a huge missed opportunity for a lot of struggling parishes out there. Don’t let your parish miss it this year.