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Guidelines for events organisers

events

It is hoped that every parish in England and Wales will host some kind of event to mark this historic and missionary occasion. Some considerations when preparing for an event might be:

1 Does what you propose to do implicitly and explicitly proclaim the Gospel message?

(See: Evangelii Nuntiandi 25 - 39) An evening of hospitality, for example, should at some point include a prayer or some other respectful presentation of the reason for the gathering. Attendees should feel welcome and fully included, but also know that this is a Christian celebration.

2 “Put out into the deep”(Luke : ) and invite people who are no members of the parish to come to the event.

Whatever event you’re organising, consider who outside of the parish you can personally invite to come along; one-to-one invitations are especially important and effective. Advertising in public places can be also bear fruit such as, with permission, putting up a poster or flier in a local newsagent, supermarket or post office. Placing an advert in a local newspaper can also help to attract people to ‘come and see’. Contact with your local Churches Together (ecumenical) group is recommended.

3. Is the proposed music for the gathering easy for people to pick up?

Organisers should carefully consider if the hymns are easy for visitors to learn. If some of those gathered feel unable to join in it could have the effect of making them feel excluded.

4. Could everyone in attendance understand the language being used during the event (this includes what is written in possible service booklets)?

As a Church we use a lot of words that might not be understandable to those who are not Catholics. If ‘Catholic words’ are used, try to insert a brief explanation next to them in brackets. A Catholic glossary can be found on:

5. Will clear direction be offered during the proposed gathering?

If parish visitors are participating in, or watching an event, they need to be clearly directed when to sit, stand and sing, for example.

6. How do your proposed decorations and signs and symbols signpost people to God?

People learn in three ways: visually, orally and through doing an action (kinesthetic). Visuals are very important. For some, beauty is the main way through which they connect with God. Consider carefully therefore the suitability of your proposed decorations and, if necessary, be ready to explain them; a candle, for example, can be described as a visual reminder of God’s living presence and love amongst us. The gathering area should display a crucifix.

7 Have you asked a team of people to serve as welcomers?

It is very important to ensure that a team of people are in place to provide a warm welcome at the entrance to the event and to accompany people during the programme.

8 Next steps

The hope is that the event offered will foster the forming of relationships with new friends and that it may also encourage people to take a step of faith. Event organisers therefore need to factor into their planning advertising what attendees can do next, be that visiting a website, or attending a parish group or follow-up event.

www.beingcatholic.org has been designed to help adult Catholics in Scotland find information about opportunities to growin faith. The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is working in partnership with this team, who are part of the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, to resource the Papal Visit 2010.