One of the hardest things to do when it comes to Sacramental Preparation is to get people involved in the process. Oftentimes, a couple preparing for marriage or preparing for the baptism of their child will come to their required meetings, but beyond that have no touchpoints with the process. If anything, even very devout parishioners view the process as just “something they have to do.” It’s time to flip the script.
Freedom is a Gift
One of the greatest gifts God gives us is our free will. With it, we have the opportunity to choose how we respond when we hear God call us by name, choose whether or not to cooperate with His grace, and in general choose how we act. Out of his respect for that freedom, God never forces us one way or the other. Instead, he constantly invites us to choose to cooperate with His grace, and to walk with Him.
Invited to participate
Through incorporating Pathway Links into the Sacramental Preparation process, Pastoral Parish changes the process from a checklist of tasks to be accomplished, to an invitation to participate in the journey. Pathway Links are links sent directly to a parishioner, allowing them to log-in to Pastoral Parish, input their personal information, and input a wide range of pertinent information for whatever Sacrament they are preparing to receive, all on their own time.
Through this arrangement, meetings take on greater meaning as they can fully focus on formation and preparation instead of gathering basic information. Additionally, parishioners feel more respected in their autonomy, and are empowered to engage more fully in the process. This changes Sacramental Preparation from a list of things to be done, to an invitation to walk with the priest or minister on the path towards receiving a Sacrament.
Walk together towards Christ
So long as Sacramental Preparation is seen as just “something they have to do,” parishioners will never be fully alive in the Sacramental life. There’s no magic program that can change minds and hearts, but accompanying people along the journey can. Pastoral Parish is not a silver bullet, but through features like Pathway Links, it is specifically designed to help priests and ministers personally invite and walk with each of their parishioners towards Christ in the Sacraments.