GRAND STRAND SC (CR NEWS) — The parish bulletin! It was the topic of some very excited conversations recently at a campground along the South Strand. Nearly everyone agreed that they don’t regularly read the parish bulletin and, in fact, some weeks, they don’t even look at it.
“I love my parish,” one snowbird from Pennsylvania said. “But why should I read that thing? There’s nothing in it that I need to know that I don’t already know!”
“Yeah,” a fellow camper said as he flipped some burgers on his grill. “I already know what time mass is. I know who the parish priest is. And I don’t have much control on how much money was in the collection plate last weekend. There’s really nothing in there for me.”
“What!” a young teen exclaimed. He seemed unsure whether he should laugh or not. “What do you mean, ‘when was the last time I read it?”
“I never read it,” the teen said. “They don’t write that for me. They write it for my grandparents.”
One young woman with two small children seemed to agree, but she had a very different perspective.
“I want to read it. I want to like it. But I feel like most of the information in this Sunday’s bulletin will be just like the information last Sunday.”
So we asked a question that seemed to create a lot of silence among the campers who were gathered around the grills. The cool breeze and thin cloud layer made the air feel refreshing as the campers paused to ponder what we had asked.
“So what should your parish do? How might your parish change the bulletin into a resource that really adds value to the parishioners and the community around the church?”
“Wow!” one lively, old guy said. “I never thought of that. Too bad they can’t put videos or music in the parish bulletin!”
“Yeah, too bad they couldn’t put some kind of widget-gizmo-thingy that let’s people chat with each other like they do on social media,” another guy added. “Of course, not during mass,” he added.
Nearly everyone laughed at that comment.
That’s when the conversation seemed to shift to using modern technology with the parish bulletin to add features that make the bulletin something special that people look forward to seeing.
“Yeah, but who’s going to do that stuff?” another camper added. “That takes time and talent!”
“Well, it’s worth it,” the camper from Pennsylvania added. “There are souls at stake here. My children and grandchildren’s souls are at risk!”
“It requires a ministry attitude,” a woman from Texas added. “I mean, why can’t media and communications be part of the ministry of every local parish? Every parish already has some people that know a little about websites and social media. Just start with what you have?” she asked.
“You’re wasting your time,” a camper from Wisconsin said. “I tell you, I’ve been part of the church a long time, and I love the church, but she isn’t going to change. That’s for sure.”
He added, “If the mimeograph machine was good enough for my parents, the copy machine is good enough for me. There’s too many people asking too many questions these days, if you asked me!” he said.
The opinions seemed mixed, but nearly everyone agreed that sharing the Gospel is a primary mission of the Church, and souls are important to Jesus. Nobody seemed to be opposed to making some changes in their parish to the bulletin, but nearly everyone thought it was someone else’s job. They had enough to worry about making sure those hamburgers and hotdogs didn’t burn up in the hell of a charcoal fire at the beach.
That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. It’s cool to be Catholic. COOL2B!
NOTE: Click on the video below to watch it.