3.2 Build Parishioner Sense of Belonging to Family

Becoming a strong community of faith does not just happen. Doing so relies on intentionality on the part of leaders who actively seek to draw people to Christ and to one another. Engaging people in your Family of Parishes is a process of deepening people’s sense of belonging within your Family as a community of faith. Such belonging builds strong bonds between people, as they pray together, interact with one another and serve together.

Church Reversed

“Parishes continually deepen the bonds of communion with other parishes.” (Church principle)

The pastoral life within your Family of Parishes offers many opportunities for people to become more deeply united in faith and create a spirit of community. 

To-do: Consider these ideas as a springboard for discussions as you seek ways to build belonging within your Family of Parishes:

  • Host common seasonal prayer experiences, such as Advent evening prayer, Lenten penance services, Holy Week liturgies and Pentecost celebrations.
  • Unify parishes’ service and outreach initiatives.
  • Combined sacramental preparation, such as the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) and Confirmation preparation.
  • Host social gatherings
  • Think about ways you might spark conversations and relationships among parishioners. Personal connections make a real difference in the way people perceive their experience in your Family!
  • Start or expand small faith groups, and encourage participation across parishes in your Family.
  • Offer seasonal study or reflection groups.
  • Ensure that members of all parishes are invited to participate when new ministries are suggested. 
  • Initiate discussions among already-involved parishioners to discern future unified ministries.
  • Host listening sessions or offer time after Mass when people may share ideas or concerns.

You can find additional ideas in Phase 1 Church 3.1: Foster Belonging.