Using Video to Extend Invitations to Ash Wednesday Services

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on January 20, 2015

in Facebook, parish, Video

Soul Wind/DPCSoon we will be accepting ashes on our foreheads and entering into the season of Lent, a time of repentance and renewal. Ash Wednesday has a special pull on the hearts of Catholics, active and inactive. It is a day when all of us become pilgrims on the way to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is an occasion when invitations by the Catholic community to “Join Us” have a good chance of being accepted.

Last year I wrote on how we can use the Cover Photo on our parish’s Facebook page to get the invitation out. If you missed the article you can read it here.

This year, I would like to encourage you to use video as another way to extend your Ash Wednesday invitations. The video can be very simple—the important thing is to invite and give people the specifics needed to attend. Here is a video that I created for St. John Bosco Parish in Parma Heights, Ohio.

This video is less than a minute long. It focuses on one message: join us on Ash Wednesday. In closing, it offers an opportunity to learn more at the parish website. It is not complicated. We will be posting this video on Facebook for our followers to see and share beginning the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. We will also be promoting it to Facebook users in the city through a Facebook ad.

When issuing an invitation such as this, a parish has the responsibility to provide:

  • a welcoming environment to all who come on Ash Wednesday
  • a meaningful celebration of the Ash Wednesday Liturgy
  • a welcoming website where other enriching Lenten activities are easy to find

If we do our best to be welcoming and provide our “visitors” with a good experience online and in person, there is a very good chance that some of them may consider becoming regular participants.

Special Offer for Current Subscribers to Catholic Web Solutions

Free Ash Wednesday video for your parish Facebook Page

If you subscribed to Catholic Web Solutions before today (January 20, 2015), have a parish Facebook Page and permission from your pastor to use a video to invite people to your Ash Wednesday services, I will customize the above video for your parish and send you an .mp4 file that you can save to your computer and then upload to your parish Facebook Page. You will need to send me:

  1. the times of your Ash Wednesday services
  2. the name and complete address of your parish and
  3. a photo (you or the parish must own the photo) jpeg format preferred

This is a $60 value. I am making this gift as a contribution to the evangelizing mission of our parishes. The deadline for requesting this free video is, 5:00 PM Eastern on Friday, January 23, 2015.

Click here for the application form. (This is a Word document.  You may need to Enable Editing to complete it.)

If you want an original video for your parish, religious community or ministry contact me separately. Visit my Animated Video Page for more information. Tell me what you have in mind and I will get back to you. The most effective animated videos are less than 60 seconds.

Video Icon: ©Soul Wind/Dollar Photo Club

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lawrence Jurcak January 20, 2015 at 10:35 am

I can honestly say that at Saint John Bosco we have implemented the suggestions that Sister Susan has offered to us. They have been warmly received. Each video has raised the awareness of the celebration (liturgical and civic) and let people know that they are welcome to join us. It is amazing how many people share them with their friends. It is getting the message of the gospel out there to the people.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND January 20, 2015 at 11:04 am

Thanks, for your endorsement, Fr. Jurcak. We have been using the videos less than a year at SJB and I have been impressed with how effective they have been. Our experience is in line with what the online gurus are telling us: use video, it works.

Jane January 20, 2015 at 3:16 pm

This is certainly a very generous offer. We have 4 Masses among our 3 parishes and they all are very well attended. It seems that people in our area treat Ash Wednesday as a pseudo holyday of obligation!

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND January 20, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Jane, you are making my point. Ash Wednesday has its own natural attraction to both active and inactive Catholics. That is what makes it an ideal time for us
1) to communicate “welcome”
2) to provide ways for people to learn more about us from our websites and
3) to encourage people to connect with us on social media so that we can regularly provide them with spiritual nourishment (assuming that is what we are doing on our social media sites).
The video promotion is an effort to connect to people in multiple ways beyond “getting ashes”.

Jack Cooper February 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

I created my own Ash Wednesday invite video for our bilingual parish. My first ad was not approved by Facebook because there was more than 20% text showing on the video preview snapshot. I had used a large font, and it was in both English and French. So I redid the video, just putting English first, and made the font smaller. This second ad was approved. (BTW the first video does still seem to be there in a post and is still getting likes and shares….)
Thank you so much for all the hints including the ‘Learn More’ button and URL

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