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“Invite One Back” initiative seeks to refill the pews

Ghost in the pews

CharlitoCZ | Shutterstock

Abandoned catholic church of St. George or Jiri, Lukova, Czech Republic. Ghosts line pews, statues by Jakub Hadrava, figures made of plaster, Ghostly figures, Spirit at mass

J-P Mauro - published on 03/16/24

The National Eucharistic Revival is focusing on parish-level efforts in 2024, and encouraging Mass-goers to invite back those who have fallen away.

The National Eucharistic Revival has entered the Year of Parish Revival, in which it will focus on parish-level outreach and renewal. As part of its efforts, Revival organizers are encouraging Catholic Mass-goers to invite back members of their parish who have stopped going to church, launching the “Invite One Back” initiative.

On its website, the Revival cites a 2014 study from Pew Research Center that found 13% of US adults are “former Catholics,” which suggests that for every Mass-going Catholic, there are 6.5 Catholics who no longer attend. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these figures, creating a further 7% decline in Sunday Mass attendance, compared to pre-pandemic data. 

The organizers wrote: 

“Just like the Good Shepherd, we will call each of the lost sheep home as a part of the Invite One Back initiative. This campaign begins now in anticipation of the upcoming Year of Mission, when the wider Church will be sent out to win new souls for Christ. Returning fallen-away members to the fold will set the groundwork for this new missionary chapter.”

How to do it

On the website, the National Eucharistic Revival offers suggestions for where to start. They note that rather than sending the entire parish out, leadership teams should be designated to work alongside the parish’s clergy and staff. These teams would identify those who have lapsed in their Mass attendance and discern the best ways to reach out to each parishioner that would be the most meaningful. 

Those who do not wish to take part in the person-to-person evangelical efforts are encouraged to form prayer groups, to pray for those who have lapsed. For the leadership teams, however, the Revival provides a “Tool Kit” that gives guidance on how to approach lapsed Catholics. This includes templates for letters and postcards, as well as suggestions for outreach over the phone. All of these materials are available in English and Spanish. 

Learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival’s “Invite One Back” initiative at the movement’s website. Be sure to talk with your pastor before you start organizing your parish’s outreach to lapsed Catholics.

Eucharistic RevivalNew EvangelizationParish lifeUnited States
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