St. Ann Church of Groesbeck in Cincinnati, Ohio first acquired their FORMED subscription in 2015. Although they saw an initial burst of activity, in the years since, St. Ann’s found that the parish and its members weren’t engaging with the faith-enriching resources on FORMED like they would hope.
St. Ann’s Father McCarthy recruited Cincinnati local and Augustine Institute’s Senior Orientation Specialist, Louise Karas, to facilitate a relaunch of FORMED in their parish. Louise outlined 5 simple steps she took to relaunch FORMED with an engaging parish-wide study:
1. Choose a weekend.
St. Ann’s Parish used the liturgical calendar to their advantage by selecting the first weekend of Lent to re-introduce FORMED. Because they aligned the start of their parish-wide study with the beginning of Lent, many parishioners were more inclined to invest in their faith over the coming weeks.
2. Select a series on FORMED for a parish-wide study.
For their relaunch at Lent, Father McCarthy chose to lead his community through A Lent to Remember, a beautiful study on God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Confession that uses Augustine Institute original series Forgiven and Symbolon. Parish-wide studies give new FORMED users a place to start exploring all the faith resources on FORMED, and also give your parish family a common place to begin faith-sharing conversations with one another. Many do not know where to begin learning about their faith, much less discussing their personal faith journey, but giving the entire community the opportunity to engage with the same faith materials and topics gives them a natural starting point.
3. Prepare FORMED Parish-Wide Study Promotional Materials.
Louise wanted the parishioners to have a physical reminder of FORMED and the parish-wide study when they left the parish. She was able to print FORMED business cards at a reasonable cost of $25 for 1,000. These cards included details on the parish-wide study and instructions on how to sign up for a free FORMED account using St. Ann’s newly-created Custom Registration URL.
4. Include a Personal Invitation from the Pulpit from Father and/or a Parishioner.
Father McCarthy included FORMED in his announcements and Louise spoke for 2-3 minutes at the end of each Mass, offering brief words about FORMED and the upcoming parish-wide study.
5. Conduct a “Reverse Collection” to give your parishioners an at-home reminder.
Ushers at St. Ann’s distributed baskets and parishioners were encouraged to take home one of the printed business cards explaining how to sign up for FORMED and how to find the selected study.
After the initial weekend, Father McCarthy and parish leaders continued the relaunch efforts throughout Lent by inviting the parish to an upcoming four weeks of Fish Fry events and Stations of the Cross, to be followed by a viewing of A Lent to Remember and a discussion.
After their relaunch, 48 parishioners joined FORMED during Lent. Engagement among these parishioners likewise saw impressive gains, with more persons actively utilizing FORMED resources each day. Father McCarthy said: “It is the priest’s job to lead people to Christ, to show them how much they are loved and get them to realize their duty to evangelize the Good News to others. I learned early on as a priest that very few know their faith, and those who do, don’t really know it. FORMED is amazing and has helped do that. With our recent successful relaunch, my parishioners continue to thank me for providing this service. I can’t wait to see all the new materials FORMED will be providing in the future.”
To learn more about conducting your own successful relaunch, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a conversation with Louise Karas today!