Best Practices

Increase Efficiency without Losing Personal Touch

Parish

Mary Queen Of Peace
Rogers, MN
Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis
United States

More Info

For more information, email Karen Sester.

Categories: Family, Outreach

Progressive dinner allows priest to reach out in a personal way to multiple families in just one night.

"It seemed like a mini-pilgrimage that allowed us not only to travel to homes, but also deeper into the hearts (of parish families hosting courses of the progressive dinner). Moving from home to home created a deeper community of spirit among us." Fr. Mark Moriarty, Mary Queen of Peace, Rogers, MN

The need it meets

Efficient use of the pastor's time in giving personal attention to families.

Where it came from

A parishioner asked Fr. Moriarty if he would like to attend a progressive dinner with 4-5 parishioners. This would allow him to visit 4 to 5 families in one evening, in their homes, while also building community among the different families.

How it works

Organizers invited four families to join in hosting the pastor for a progressive dinner.

  • Each family prepared one part of the meal.
  • 5:00 - The whole group met at the first home for beverages and appetizers. Father played "stump the priest," inviting the couples to ask him anything about the Catholic Faith. One participant noted, "It was really fun and a solid moment of formation as well as an ice breaker."
  • 6:00 - The group moved to the second home for salad. Here, the priest asked each person to tell about the most spiritual moment in their life. This discussion deepened the relationship between the priest and parishioners and reminded all participants about God's presence in their lives.
  • 7:00 - The group moved to the next home for the main course.
  • 8:00 - They moved to the final home for desserts. Since this home also provided childcare (so that the little ones could also spend time with Father), much of the talk was centered on his giving attention to the children and the babysitters.

The results

The couples who participated all subsequently engaged in at least one ministry in the parish and a formation program, and Father formed a relationship with each of them and their children. One priest was able to visit five families in their homes in one night.

Key elements

Involve at least one family that is dynamic, enthusiastic, and well-integrated in the parish. Invite families who have never invited a priest into their homes. After making personal invitations and getting commitments from 4-5 families, send a follow up invitation to Father and to the couples to set the personal tone of the event.

How to implement it

When a family invites you to dinner, suggest a progressive dinner. Have some ice-breakers and conversation-starters up your sleeve. Some examples are as follows:

  1. Stump the priest: You can ask him anything biblical or from the Catechism to stump him.
  2. Talk about your most spiritual moment.
  3. Share any favorite... specific or categorized.

Submitted by Karen Sester on May 21, 2008.
Fr. Mark Moriarty is pastor of Mary Queen Of Peace.

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