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Advent & Christmas eResources Room at the Inn Pastoral Planning Kit to Prepare for Christmas Visitors

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Pastoral Planning Kit to Prepare for Christmas Visitors
Advent & Christmas eResources
Room at the Inn
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On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, your parish is likely visited by many unfamiliar faces.  Here is a great opportunity for you to make an impression on these occasional visitors: to make them feel welcome and make a case for why the Catholic faith and your parish matter in their lives.  Don't miss your chance!

This very practical guide includes:

  • suggestions on how to form a "Room at the Inn" team and structure meetings
  • single-page handouts on key approaches with specific ideas for implementation, designed for easy group discussion
  • a calendar listing suggested action steps by when they should occur
  • links to two of our free resources that can be used as gifts for your attendees

The guide (briefly) covers the following topics:

  • Putting on their Shoes - Look at your parish from the perspective of a visitor
  • All Hands on Deck - Hospitality requires everyone from the pastor to those sitting in the back pews to be intentional: here's where to start
  • Check Your Attitude - Subtle judgmental attitudes can undermine your attempts to be welcoming: here's how to get on the same page
  • First Contact - Visitors' first experience will be through your website or phone line: don't lose them before they set foot on your grounds
  • Make the Invitation - Personal and impersonal invitations can make a big difference: make sure visitors know you want them to come
  • Entering Bethlehem - Make sure your visitors get into your pews feeling welcomed, not grumpy
  • At the Service - Engage your visitors during the service and lay a foundation for future contact
  • The Message - The homily is one of the largest factors determining whether visitors will return: here's what to say (and not say)
  • Send a Gift Home - Give visitors something to remember you by and enrich their faith
  • Next Steps - Learn from your efforts and follow up with your visitors

Make a difference to visitors this Christmas, and use this as a launching point to become a more welcoming community throughout the year.

Paul & Ann married in 2004, when they committed to a common rule of life. They live in Alameda, California with their daughters Madeleine (10) & Rachel (7), and five chickens.  Their family operates their mini-urban farm, loves to bike around town, and find creative ways to build community in their neighborhood. They do their best to navigate parenthood based on Gospel values. 

Cover photo by Doremo, Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0.

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This is a downloadable, reproducible product sold with a lifetime parish or school license. Please read the full license terms below.

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This reproducible eResource is sold with a lifetime license for use within a parish, school, or diocesan office. You are allowed to make unlimited copies for use within your own community. You may also email these to members of your team or participants in your program. If you serve more than one parish or school, each should purchase its own license. You may not post our eResources to any web site without explicit permission to do so. Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for cooperating with our honor system regarding our product licenses.

Format: eResource
Product code: PC300
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 15 pages
The Pastoral Center
Written by Paul Canavese and Ann Naffziger


Paul Canavese serves as director of The Pastoral Center (, author, frequent conference speaker, and pastoral consultant. He has his MTS from the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley. He directs (focused on coaching parents) and ("intentional daily life Catholicism"). He has served in a wide range of parish ministries, most recently as a pastoral consultant at Corpus Christi Parish in Piedmont, CA. Paul also has 20 years of experience in software development and management with technology startups and social media. Along with his wife Ann, two daughters, and seven chickens, he lives in Alameda, CA, where they operate a mini-urban farm and looks for creative ways to build community in their neighborhood.

View all resources by Paul Canavese

Ann Naffziger has her MDiv from the Jesuit School of Theology and MA in Biblical Languages from the Graduate Theological Union, both in Berkeley.  Ann has worked in a variety of parish roles, as well as serving as a hospital chaplain, spiritual director, scripture instructor, and adjunct faculty member at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University. She has written articles in the field of spirituality and scripture for AmericaBustedHalo.comCommonwealThe National Catholic ReporterSpiritual Life: A Journal of Contemplative Spirituality, and other publications. Ann is the author of The Catholic Way, annual Advent & Lent bookets, and a variety of other pastoral resources published by The Pastoral Center, which she co-directs with her husband Paul Canavese. She is also a Master Gardener and girls' softball coach. She lives in Alameda, CA, with her husband and two daughters.

View all resources by Ann Naffziger