There was never a greater act of evangelization than the first Easter Sunday, when the empty tomb sent a clear message to the whole world: God is alive. Your parish wants to send that same message, always and everywhere — and Easter is the perfect time. However secular or commercialized the holiday has become, its religious roots are undeniable and ubiquitous. Seize the moment and look for ways to engage with the wider community during a time when your church enjoys a period of high visibility, simply by virtue of being a Christian organization on the biggest holiday weekend of the spring season.
Processions offer a compelling public witness to our faith, and these traditions are included in the rites of Holy Week and Easter liturgies (Palm Sunday, the Easter Vigil, etc.). Make the most of this opportunity and plan your processions in a way that makes them as conspicuous and eye-catching as possible. Incorporate as much music and beauty as you can and encourage as many parishioners to turn out as possible. Be sure to alert community newspapers of this photo op, too (see more on that below!).
Plan a service opportunity
There is no better time to mimic Christ’s example of service than Holy Week and Easter. Focus on hyperlocal opportunities that will create interaction with individuals and organizations in close physical proximity to your parish. Get creative and think outside of the box: have the youth group bake cookies for local law enforcement or send out flyers to residents in the surrounding blocks asking if anyone needs help with yardwork or chores. Call local senior centers and inquire if anyone needs transportation to Holy Thursday Liturgy. Explain the parish’s desire to share Easter joy and honor the self-giving love of our Savior … and let your acts of service do the rest of the talking.
Invite the community to Mass
Put up simple signage advertising Holy Week and Easter services and provide yard signs for parishioners to do likewise. Consider an eye-catching tagline like “Easter: Not Just About a Bunny!” Signs on the church property can use language that specifically welcomes newcomers or those who have been away from Mass — let it be known that all are welcome. Challenge each parishioner to lovingly (and without pressure) personally invite one person in their life to church this holiday.
Pitch a story idea to your local paper
Every parish is full of stories — what stories does yours have to share? Maybe it’s the 42nd consecutive year that Clem has played the organ at the Easter Vigil, or the fifth year that all three of the Smith kids have served at the Triduum services. Local newspapers love to hear timely human-interest pitches like these, and it’s a great opportunity for evangelization.
Be ready for the new parishioners your efforts bring into your church this Easter, check out our blog From Visitor to Parishioner: Online Registration for Easter.