Preparing For Your Parish Visit
Suggestions for a Mission Team
Laying the ground work is important for a successful mission. These suggestions give you some things to think about as you prepare your parish — and your community — for the Luke Live mission.
Prayer You are doing the Lord’s work; you cannot do it well without divine help and inspiration. Get the whole parish involved in prayer for the success of the mission early in the process (e.g., rosary groups, prayer groups, Marian groups, petitions at mass, individuals can sign up to pray one hour I before the Blessed Sacrament, etc.). Invite the parish to pray the Mission Prayer (below) at all I masses three weekends before the mission. Prayer should continue throughout the mission process.
Dear God, source of all life and light,
We come before you asking your blessing
On our Parish Mission.
We differ from one another in many ways:
In ages, in interests,
And in experiences.
Still we share
In being called to serve you
As members of your holy Church.
Empower us to explore your Gospel more fully
So that our lives may be further enriched
By encounters with your Word.
As we prepare for our Mission,
Fill our hearts with your grace
So that we might be open to your message.
Heal our wounds,
Strengthen our commitments,
Rekindle our love,
And remind us of our worth
In your eternal plan.
Bless our missionary, Fr. James DiLuzio,
and grant him safe travel to us.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever.
Publicity In order for the mission to bear fruit, people must know about it. Experts say (and experience bears out) that any publicity needs to reach a person five or six times-and in different forms-before they will take notice. Use everything at your disposal within the parish: bulletin announcements, bulletin inserts, verbal announcements, posters, flyers ushers can distribute, door hangers, announcements or flyers at other parish gatherings such as bingo or prayer groups, etc. Remember, since two of the primary purposes of Luke Live are Evangelization (to renew the faith life of those in and around the parish) and Ecumenism (all Christians share common reverence for the Bible), broaden your advertising base. Expand publicity to newspaper, radio & TV public service announcements or “community calendar” entries, a hanging banner across a main street (like for a carnival), posters in store windows around town, flyers in libraries, post offices, local retreat centers AND personal invitations to the staff of neighborhood Protestant churches.
Telephone Ministry Call people to invite them to attend the Parish Mission, particularly all parish leaders who, in turn, would be asked to motivate people (e.g., parish council, Eucharistic ministers, lectors) to come to the Mission. Parish leaders deeply appreciate receiving personal phone calls from Mission Team members. This personal touch invites them to take personal interest in the mission effort.
General Mail-out This involves mailing a letter of invitation to the Mission from the pastor to every household in the parish.
Transportation Ministry Provide transportation for the elderly, disabled, or those without cars. Publicize its availability in advance.
Hospitality Ministry Involves greeting people as they arrive at the Mission, as well enlisting parish members to bring snacks and refreshments each night and/ or morning of the Parish Mission and to clean up afterward.
Children’s Mission Luke Live is suitable for children 10 years of age and older. Your parish may enjoy wider attendance if you provide something for the youngest people of the parish. Religious Education teachers may consider providing a coinciding “Children’s Mission—Pre-School through Grade 1” for one or more of the Mission evenings. I suggest the topics cover Gospel stories from age-appropriate young children’s Bible (such as the book and cd series Stories and Songs of Jesus by Christopher Walker available through Oregon Catholic Press and, of course, The Beginner’s Bible and its corresponding videos) with coloring book activities (both Stories and Songs and The s Bible have coloring book editions). If you provide for children of all ages, the parents will come! Note: If your parish has chosen “Stages of Faith Development in the Bible” as the topic for a 4th night of the Mission, this program is suitable for young people 12 years of age and older; the “Children’s Mission” would need to be expanded to ages 11 and younger that 4th night.
Baby-Sitting Ministry involves organizing and recruiting babysitters as a service to parents of infants and young children who would not otherwise be able to attend the Mission. Publicize its availability in advance. Be sure to “rotate” volunteers so that they may attend the mission on nights they are not serving.
Banner-Making & Church Decorations involves planning and supervising church decorations. Get children involved through poster contests and banner making.
Music The music for Luke Live is set in the program and available in advance. You may actively engage your Choir members to sing harmonies for the assembly songs and invite cantors to sing harmonies to some of my solo songs—or sing duets! Contact me by email or phone to discuss these possibilities. [email protected]
Your Regular Weekly Schedule Rather then cancel all parish activities for the week, keep them on the schedule BUT make Attendance at the Mission their agenda or activity for the evening. Offer a dinner, a pizza festival, or some incentive to the group who has the best attendance at the Mission. Ask all ministries and activity participants (RCIA, Confirmation class, Teen Social Group) to write a short paragraph of their response to the Mission to be posted in an upcoming bulletin. Let them all know their involvement is IMPORTANT for the revitalization of the parish and their input is need for discernment of future missions.