3 Summertime Ideas
Frank DeSiano, CSP
1) Building up the RCIA.
Summer months can be times for parishes to hold informal receptions for people who might be interested in coming to know Jesus Christ in the strength of our Catholic way of life. From picnics to parties, parishioners can be invited to brings friends and neighbors who have asked about the Catholic faith.
Summer should also be a time of more intense invitation to the RCIA. While most parishes will, unfortunately, not have a RCIA process underway in the summer, staff can be placing effective invitations in various locales to get seekers to make contact. Often our approaches to inviting people to conversion are embarrassingly anemic. Summer is also an ideal time to begin involving seekers through a program like “Seeking Christ” which offers eight flexible modules for seekers and inquirers. Whether one-on-one, or the start of a pre-inquiry group, parishes can already be extending the Good News to people who are seeking faith today.
2) Getting Ready for Religious Education
Summer is also an excellent time for parishes to think about more effective recruitment of children for the fall. Often our announcements go only to folks who are already in some way associated with the parish; we put sign-up sheets in the back of church in a rather passive way. DREs and their catechists can design more dramatic ways to reach every family in their area, and think about interesting ways to involve parents and the whole family in the religious formation process come fall. Religious education teams need to be thinking: “How do I evangelize families?”, more than “how do I educate children.”
3) Young Adults
Summer is also a fine time for Theology on Tap, attracting young adults to a comfortable setting, allowing them to meet each other, offering an interesting and discussion-stimulating presentation, and encouraging the conversation. Staff should also be thinking about how to continue the exchange after summer is over, building a nucleus of young adult ministry-something desperately needed by parishes. Theology on Tap: http://www.renewtot.org/; and Young Adult Ministry: http://www.youngadultministryinabox.com/, from Busted Halo.