How to Make Easter an Evangelizing Event

Photo: Mauricio Fanfa via Unsplash

How to Make Easter an Evangelizing Event


I heard about a pastor who one Easter asked his congregation who was there the week before. A number of the gathered raised their hands, and a large number did not.

"To those of you who raised your hands,” he said, “good for you. And to those of you who didn’t, shame on you."

I felt sad when I heard this story. While I can understand the pastor's point (we really must keep Sunday holy by attending Mass, and to miss without a serious reason is a sin), I really don’t think that wagging finger is going to be effective in keeping non-church goers in church.

Rather, I think we should see those high holidays like Christmas and Easter as key opportunities for helping the non-regulars reconsider their level of involvement in the Church.

How much grace does God bestow on us around this high solemnity? How about we use the grace he gives to desperately try to pull others closer to him?

If you want to make Easter an evangelizing event, it is possible to do so. Here is one way you can in 4 simple steps:

1. Plan an activity or program aimed at sharing the Gospel with people and run it right after Easter

Some parishes are starting to actually do evangelizing programs (praise God!). At our parish we are using the Alpha program to share the Gospel with people and invite them to an encounter with Jesus Christ.

This year, for the first time, we are starting our program the week after Easter. What this allows us to do is invite people who only come to church on Easter or Christmas to come to a program that doesn’t presume you go to church.

In other words, we are catering to the non-church goers who come to church on Easter. And I’m proud of that. Yes, we could wag a finger at them, but I’d rather cook them dinner.

After all, I used to be one of them.

2. Invite people in the neighbourhoods around your parish to your Easter services and to this activity

Who are the flock entrusted to your parish? Those who choose to show up? Those who are registered parishioners? Actually, no...

The people entrusted to your parish are the people within the geographic boundaries set up for your parish by the diocese. In other words, your parish has a responsibility even to those who do not go to church!

Now they have the freedom to choose to go to church or not, but we owe them the respect of an invitation.

What might this look like? Maybe a couple of people coming to their door and greeting them on behalf of the parish. Maybe giving them an invitation which has the Easter service times on it. Maybe including also an invitation to the evangelizing program, which doesn’t presume prior religious experience.

“Easter is coming, which is a very joyful time for us. We’d like to invite you to be a part of it if you like. Here is an invitation.”

As scary as that sounds, I think we can manage it. What do you think?

3. Make the homilies of the Easter Triduum especially kerygmatic, and make them lead to this evangelizing event you have planned

Hopefully your pastor is on board with this program and can tailor his preaching to the “first proclamation.” This is a simple telling of God’s creating us in love, our loss of relationship through sin, God’s initiative in delivering us from our sin by the Cross, and the freedom to be in relationship with the Risen and Living Christ today.

Maybe he can preach about how we sometimes don’t feel the full effect of this message in the way we live our lives, and how at the parish we want to delve deeper into this message like we are hearing it for the first time.

And if you would like to be a part of this, whether you are here for the first time or you come every week, we’d like to give you something on your way out today.

I heard about a priest named Fr. John Riccardo saying (in reference to their Alpha program):

"Hey, if you're new here, we'd like to buy you dinner for the next 10 weeks."

4. Go out of your way to effusively welcome and invite people to said event during Mass and while they are making their way out

Coming back to the story at the beginning of this post, imagine if instead of shaming the people who only come to church once in a while we applauded that they accepted God’s invitation to be here?

Again, I am not saying that it is ok to miss Mass. But if they aren’t sticking yet, maybe we can try and love them back to Mass?

What does that look like? Well, let’s designate welcome tables specifically for “new comers” and those who don’t come around often. Let’s give them a gift bag with chocolate eggs, a magnet with the Mass times, and an invitation to Alpha or whatever other event you have starting right after Easter.


We are still early in Lent, but if you want to make Easter an evangelizing event, planning starts now!

Are you game?

“The church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” -Pope Francis, EG 114

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