Thursday, November 8, 2007

The More the Merrier

From Uncle Jim, comes this idea of opening his household:

We currently have an invitation out to about 60 people to come for dinner next Saturday evening. The way the invite goes, the first 25 to respond get in. We do this 3 - 6 times a year I would guess. Each time there may be some of the same folks invited, especially from among those who couldn't make it the previous time ... or didn't make their response in time. Through the course of the year, we keep trying to get some new people in the door. It is usually a pretty good mix of folks - and most of the time it includes families - kids - a few or a lot. Once in a while we'll make it an adults only invite to people who don't have kids at home. But it is a lot of fun. I encourage others to try it. You don't have to go large - half a dozen would do. Invite 20 and say the first 6 or 8 to respond get in. Oh - and you let them know that once you have a head count and demographic, you'll be calling them to let them know what they can bring.

Now, instead of working on my next article for the Telegraph, this thought popped into my head: why not use this strategy to reinvigorate the life of a parish?

Hear me out: parishes already have a list of members, with addresses, and usually also broken down somewhat by ages, families with children, teens, DINKs, retirees. So, once a month (a week?), the parish would invite a group, sometimes connected, sometimes mixed, to dinner. The first x number to respond get in, the rest get put back on the list for future invites. I see this as a great chance for the pastor to lead and shepherd his parish, as he could give a short little reflection on different aspects of parish/Catholic life, and he would get to konw his people in a different light, and the people would get to know each other.

What do I mean by 'invite a group, sometimes connected, sometimes mixed'? Simple: one time it is for young families, sometimes for families with teens, some times it would be only for adults, other timese it would be for a smattering of each of these groups. I would clearly advertize this in the letter sent.

What do you think?

11 comments:

Rich Leonardi said...

We do that -- sort of -- on St. Joseph's Day, hosting a "table" with heaps of food in an "open house" format. Guests, most of whom are parishioners, come and go throughout the afternoon.

uncle jim said...

Gosh, why didn't I think of that for our parish. I think I may forward your version to our pastor.

I've invited him to ours a number of times and he's made it here a couple of them...and seemed to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and visiting with the folks - szvbafbome of whom are parishioners and some are not.

Adoro te Devote said...

Um...speaking as a single here...be sure you do something especially to reach out to single adults of all ages. We're in complete limbo most of the time. Some of us don't have family in the area.

So just include this particular demographic I am representing in your groupings. :-) We don't mind being grouped with others as long as we're recognized.

Now...moving on...I think it's a good idea. Good marketing. It can stress the whole "get one now while you can!" mentality of our consumer-driver market, and at the same time, help sort out those who WANT to be involved from those who DON'T...and when you can identify those who continually don't come, you now have a target group for outreach. And boy, will you find all sorts of problems that need God's intervention.

Father Schnippel said...

D'OH! Sorry, Adoro.

what's strange is that I was always the voice to make sure we included adult singles in the planning when I was on internship and in my first assignment. I guess it was just a slip of the keyboard?

Anonymous said...

I'll forgive you. This time.

:-)

~ Adoro

Father Schnippel said...

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti et tibi, 'Adoro,' quia peccavi nimis.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I have NO idea what you just said!

I know the first part must be "I confess to Almighty God" and I know that "peccavi" has to do with sin, but my brain has not had enough coffee to even make a semi-educated guess.

:-)

~ Adoro

Father Schnippel said...

It's the first part of the Confiteor at Mass, with a slight change: "I confess to Almighty God, and to you 'Adoro,' that I have sinned."

My brain is totally fried at this point and I need sleep, but won't get any for a few days yet.

Anonymous said...

Got it! So sad that our Latin heritage has been so lost that one has to use one's knowledge of Spanish and occasional words in Latin learned by accident to figure out parts of the Liturgy that SHOULD be in Latin according to Sacrosanctum Concilium.

/rant

Anyway...I feel your pain! It's going to be a crazy stressful weekend for me, too.

And next week won't be any better, next weekend isn't a weekend...it's class Friday through Sunday...and then Thanksgiving.

I need a day off.

uncle jim said...

and, for the record, the invitation usually includes several singles - this week, only one responded in time to attend [PhD in political science and works for US of A SSA], and she'll not feel lonesome, I assure you ... we work hard at trying to enagage everyone who comes

Anonymous said...

What a totally awesome idea!! Could you please share this with the priests of the diocese and let them know their parishioners would like it??? I would suggest it to him, but then I would end up having to plan and organize it, thus having it not be enjoyable at all!!!! :)

Thanks for an awesome idea!