Christmas represents an incredible opportunity to minister to “Creasters,” those nominal Catholics that only attend Mass during Christmas and Easter. But there is no “one size fits all” ministry answer to how to approach Creasters. Instead, a multi-faceted approach will ensure that you cast the widest net possible. Let’s call this the Creaster opportunity. Here are a few ideas:
- Train your greeters: These people not only need to be friendly but knowledgeable about what’s going on in the parish. Arm them with handouts listing future “come and see” events, regular Mass times, confession times, and so on.
- Have fellowship after Christmas Masses: This doesn’t need to be elaborate – coffee and Christmas cookies are just fine! But schedule these events and train your most committed parishioners to be on the lookout for new people or individuals sitting alone.
- Inform your staff: Dedicate time to discuss how to welcome lapsed Catholics this Christmas. Underscoring ministerial flexibility is key. Telling a lapsed Catholic who is seeking the Sacrament of Confirmation that he or she “missed the start of RCIA” and should “wait until next September” is a travesty. We can do better!
The Holy Spirit will make these people known to you, but you also need to prepare for them! Dedicate some time and effort to preparation and let God work this December. As you do so, remember what G.K. Chesterton once said: “The Church is a house with a hundred gates, and no two men enter at exactly the same angle.” Seize the Creaster opportunity with enthusiasm!