You're Giving Books and/or CDs to Every Family... Now What?

Helping Your Gift Make the Greatest Difference

Thanks for joining us in this great evangelization effort of giving your parishioners a Catholic book and/or CD!  Lighthouse has received countless positive testimonials from people who have received gifts from their parishes on Christmas and Easter (yes, even bringing them back to the Church!) as well as excellent feedback from parishes.  And so... 

 

Now we'd like to add some important things you can do when distributing them so that they have the maximum impact in your parishioners' lives this Christmas.

Plan early... Ideas PRIOR to the give-away:

 

 

  • Pray.  Have all involved pray for this effort.  Lord, we place these gifts in your hands.  Please help parishioners and all recipients be open to receive the graces which will help them on their journeys of faith. 

 

  • Give books to staff, volunteers, and ministry leaders as a thank you gift for their help throughout the year.

 

  • Have a committee wrap the books (with wrapping paper or even with a simple ribbon) to help all see the books and CDs as a gift as they are intended.  Unwrapping creates curiosity and excitement, even bringing children into the act.  A gift is perceived differently than a 'freebie.'  

 

  • If giving the books away at entrances instead of usher-style (another idea below), find volunteers to hand books to families and individuals after all of the Masses.  Have multiple people for each door as people tend to leave quickly.  Consider inviting parish groups and committees to help.

 

  • Collect testimonials to use in the bulletin or from the pulpit. 

    • Put a short note in the bulletin now asking for anyone who has read Rome Sweet Home and has a personal testimony to call or email the office explaining how it impacted them. 

 

    • Collect personal testimonies from the staff and volunteers to share, again in the bulletin or from the pulpit.

 

  • Add a business card sized note in each book.  Using Avery form 28371, you can customize one and print

  • 10 per page.  On this card, include a person's contact information to contact for more information about

  • the Church.  Click for samples.

 

  • Place a sticker on the outside of each book / CD.  Using Avery form 48260, you can customize one and

  • print 30 per page.  Click for samples.

 

  • Insert a 1/2 sheet of an 8 1/2 x 11 paper into each book.  Here the parish could list a variety of items:  Mass times, confession times, parish website, ministries, pastor information, how to learn more about our Faith, an invite to a book discussion night, etc.  Click for samples.

 

  • It would be a bonus if the parish could set up a resource or welcome home page on their website which could be referenced on any of the inserts used above.  Many people may look for answers online before making a move to pick up the phone or email.  Included on this web page could be links to Catholics Come Home, Lighthouse Catholic Media, and other websites that give answers about the Faith.  Also included could be parish contact information for a specific person(s) to field inquiries.

 

 

Ideas for AT the Christmas Masses:

 

  • Make an announcement at the end of Mass.  Share simply that the parish has a gift for each family, college student, and especially invite visitors and guests to receive them.  View a sample announcement here.   

 

 

  • The gifts can be very simply distributed after communion "usher-style" to ensure reaching people who may leave early or who may be missed in the quick exit after Mass.

 

 

  • Give a friendly two-step challenge: to 1) read the book (you could add by a certain date) and to 2) pass it on when they are done (to either give it away or lend it to another).   

 

  • Have an individual(s) share a personal testimony.

 

  • Have volunteers hand out the books / CDs at each of your entries.  Again, have multiple people at each entrance as many people tend to leave quickly.

 

    • Encourage volunteers to: 

      • Go to the doors early to catch anyone leaving Mass early.

      • Wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

      • Do their best to catch each family, even those rushing by and out of the way.

      • Give one to each single person, including college students and the elderly.

 

    • The goal here is to get the books and CDs to people who may not pick them up on their own.  This book has brought many people back to the Catholic Church.  CDs given as gifts have lit the fire in many hearts to learn more and also return to Church.

 

 

  

Ideas for AFTER the give-away:

 

 

  • If you have any extras, place them in a basket by the entrance with a note:  "If we missed celebrating Christmas/Easter Mass with you here at St. _____, we have a Christmas/Easter gift for you.  Please take one, enjoy, and then share with another."

 

  • Use extra books to give away:

    • in a welcome packet when new parishioners join the parish.

    • to homebound and nursing home residents when Eucharistic Ministers take Holy Communion.

    • to new parents bringing their baby to be baptized.

    • to RCIA candidates.

 

  • Continue the momentum by inviting people to a book discussion night(s).  Your parish can host a meeting (or several at different times/dates) for people who have read the book to come and discuss it (book club style).  You can do the same for the CD.  Serve light refreshments.

 

    • Use three simple learn/live/share questions such as:

      • Learn it:  What message can you take from this book?  What did you learn about the teachings of the Church?

      • Live it:  What did the book present that you can apply to your life this week?

      • Share it:  With whom will you share this message or to whom will you give this book?

 

    • OR use detailed questions by chapter.  Click here for questions.

 

    • An invite with the date(s) and time and possibly the questions can be put inside the book prior to the give-away.  Questions can also be posted on the parish website with the webpage noted on the business card / book mark or 1/2 page insert.

 

  • Give friendly reminders over the next number of months, occasionally refer to the book and encourage those who haven't picked it up yet to do so.  Also, encourage those who have read the book to take another step..... to choose another book to read (LCM offers 21 at low cost) or to pick up and listen to a CD.

If you find any missing or incorrect link, outdated items, or typos,

please let me know.  Thank you for your help!