Encounter. Where and how do we encounter God? Where and how do we offer that opportunity to others?
One parish leader began by asking for the email addresses of all the parents who registered their children for faith formation/religious education sessions. She explained that she would be sending an email on Monday mornings, with a brief reflection to start the week. If anyone chose not to continue to receive it after a few weeks’ trial, they could unsubscribe. Instead, parishioners who did not have children or teens in the parish program started asking for it.
What was sent? There were reflections from a diverse group of authors, such as Fr. James Martin, S.J., Sr. Joyce Rupp, Loyola Press, Max Lucado and Franciscan Media, to name a few. During Lent, they received reflections on each of the Gospels and brief explanations of the liturgies of the Triduum – with a reminder of when they were held in the parish. Opening the email, readers might find blessings for children, prayers for a family or petitions for times of distress. With a wealth of resources available on the internet, it is not difficult to find just the right resource for each week.
Of course, sending an email does not guarantee that it will be read, but this parish leader has had people stop her in the grocery store, before and after classes or Mass, and thanked her for a recent message.
“Your Weekly Minute was just what I needed. It helped me through a difficult week.”
“I didn’t know all that stuff about Holy Week. Your email really helped.”
“I’ve been using that prayer you sent a few weeks ago…thank you.”
Other parishes have picked up on this idea, a gentle way to evangelize adults who may be engaged, marginally engaged, or even disengaged from our faith. Even the fully engaged can benefit from a spiritual boost, one coming gently into their email inboxes each week. This weekly minute can also be one more way to connect with those who may not be at Mass, leading them to consider returning.
Person by person, email by email, we lead others to encounter God’s love in their lives. It’s one small, but effective way to do evangelization.