Suffering for a brand

Have you ever met someone who’s willing to suffer for a brand?

For example, I love the store Boscov’s. It’s my favorite store because they have inexpensive, nice dresses and dress clothes that match my sense of style and don’t break the bank.

However, if for some reason I had to be electric shocked every time I wore one of their clothes, my brand loyalty would plummet quickly. I’m only loyal to the brand because I am getting value from it, not because I am deeply invested in their mission or company. The second I cease to receive value from the product or service is the second I move on to another favorite store.

I was met with a similar situation recently at the doctor’s office. The doctor wanted to prescribe me a medication that I believe is morally wrong, and since there are other options available that are not against my faith, I held firm to my views despite her persistence in telling me that it wasn’t a problem.

Finally, she asked, “So if this were the only option, you still wouldn’t take it?”

“Yes,” I responded without hesitation.

You see, the only brand I’m willing to “suffer” for, to die to self with, is Catholicism. It might not be easy, convenient, or fun at times. It might cause me to have to get red in the face and bumble over my words a bit as I go against popular opinion. But that’s how much I believe in this brand.

Think about the centurion’s response at Jesus’ death – “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39). He was so moved by Jesus’ willingness to die in support of the Truth that it changed His heart.

Now, imagine that I loved Boscov’s so much that I was willing to be shocked for the brand. That would mean that I was definitely a very committed and loyal customer, to the point that even if something were that wrong, I would still come back. That’s what we want for our churches, businesses, schools, and ministries. We want the assurance that our target audience is not just there because we make them feel good or are convenient, but that they will support us even when mistakes happen (because trust me, they inevitably will).

Thankfully for us as Catholic marketers, there are many who stand staunchly behind Catholicism no matter what. Our job then is to draw on this brand loyalty – a.k.a. faith – and use it as a tool. There are very few other “brands” out there besides religion that people would defend so much, even to the point of death. There’s no greater testimony or witness than that, which is why it is such an effective place to begin evangelization – and from a business standpoint, our marketing as well.

Because that’s the thing – if we’re doing our Catholic marketing right, our business goal and our evangelization goal are one in the same – bring others to Christ.

For me, I wasn’t called on to die for my faith at the doctor’s office – in fact, the conversation ended there, and we began to discuss the other options, as the doctor had simply been trying to evaluate how staunchly I was against this medication. Still, there was a small part of me that hoped my strong resistance to going against my faith, however annoying for her, gave her something to reflect on after, that I believe in my faith so much that I’d be willing to do anything to uphold its principles.

At the end of the day, I’m a firm brand advocate for Christ, and nothing can shake that.

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants…I have called you friends.” John 15:13-15

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FREE Catholic Social Media guide

There’s plenty of stats out there about when and how people use social media, but none about Catholics specifically.

We decided to change that.

This survey features the results of 375 Catholics on self-reported social media usage. The respondents represent both men and women, a variety of age ranges, and varying levels of involvement in the faith. Our hope is that this survey will help you to have a better understanding of social media usage by Catholics for use in your ministry.

You’ll find tons of resources in this FREE 9-page pdf, including pie charts and bar graphs of the survey results from each question (14 total) as well as analysis of results and tips on applying these results to your social media strategy.*

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Having a holy Holy Week: Parish workers and volunteers

Ah, Holy Week. The most centered, holiest week of the year.

Unless you work or volunteer for a Catholic parish.

For the last 10+ years, Holy Week has been, well, a little less than holy for me, largely due to my parish responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong – I loved working for my parish, but for parish workers and volunteers, Holy Week is just a marathon of Masses and services that never seem to end and require lots of planning, coordination, and working with others, all for very little thanks and no breaks.

Apparently Jesus wasn’t thinking of the liturgical consequences of having all of the major events of His public ministry happen in one week.

Personally, I’ve been behind the scenes for just about every part of Holy Week over the last decade: organizing the youth group Passion Play (and trying not to have nightmares about the kids dropping “Jesus”); handling the technical end of a concert Stations of the Cross; setting up and decorating the church for processions and simultaneously-occurring Masses in the main church, chapel, and social hall; coordinating all liturgical ministers (and priests) for all of the Masses we do once a year and can never remember the order of; and so on. So for the last few years, my favorite part of Holy Week has been when it was over (and not just because I got to break my Lenten fasts after the Easter Vigil with the priests in the rectory…although that is pretty awesome).

So, if you work or volunteer for a parish, how can you make this Holy Week a holy experience, not just for the parishioners, but also for yourself?

  • First, take time to pray – and probably not at the parish. Whether it’s participating in Lectio Divina, spending a few moments in the Adoration Chapel before heading to work, or even praying in the car as you drive to the store for lighter fluid for the Easter Vigil fire, taking time for personal prayer outside of your parish responsibilities will allow you to connect with the Lord one-on-one this week. If you feel like there’s no time to pray this week, take some advice from my friend Amy over at Prayer Wine Chocolate.
  • Even better, consider praying as a staff or group. We recently discussed this in our Catholic Church Employees Facebook group, about how few churches actually start out their days with a staff prayer. It’s a great way to center everyone, and remember the common goal that you’re all working towards. If you don’t work for the parish, take the initiative to ask the priest for a quick moment of prayer with the other volunteers before you begin your task or Mass, or lead one yourself. Here’s one for each day of Holy Week.
  • Second, consider an extra sacrifice for Holy Week. I know what you’re thinking – giving all of this time to the church isn’t a sacrifice enough? No, and here’s why: It’s easy to forget why we are putting in all of this effort for Holy Week – to give glory to God and to hopefully inspire a few “Easter Catholics” to come back to Mass even after the season. In the midst of the chaos of planning and execution however (especially when it goes unappreciated), it is so easy to lose sight of the real reason for our work. So, during the week, when you desire whatever you’re giving up (perhaps sweets or meat), you can remember all of those for whom you are doing this work, and the real reason for your labors. Here are some unique ideas for Holy Week tweaks from my friend Sara of To Jesus, Sincerely.
  • Third, take a peek at the readings for the liturgy before attending Mass. Chances are that you’ll be distracted during the Holy Week liturgies, so reading the readings beforehand will allow them to resonate with you even if you end up getting pulled in other directions (plus it’s great practice for when you get “drafted” last minute to take one of the Good Friday spots). Or, treat yourself to a Holy Week devotional, like this printable one from my friend Sara again (only available through Palm Sunday!), and actually commit to taking the time for yourself each day.
  • Fourth, pray a small prayer when someone gets on your nerves (trust me, they’ll be plenty of opportunities!). Just because you are working at a parish doesn’t mean that everyone you interact with will be pleasant. Try to keep in mind (I know it’s hard) that the priests are highly stressed about remembering all the parts of these difficult liturgies, the parish workers and volunteers have been laboring for days and just want to sleep, and the parishioners oftentimes are dealing with stressful family situations around the holidays. So when someone lashes out at you for there not being room in the main church for Mass or for the parking lot being too crowded, try to say a quick Hail Mary for their intentions instead of hiding in the sacristy plotting their demise. If Jesus could forgive those killing Him, then I suppose I can forgive the grumpy old lady who couldn’t hear the homily. Here’s a quick prayer to try.
  • Finally, try to keep your expectations for yourself low. Holy Thursday has been my favorite day of the year since I was little, but I found that once I started altar serving and then later coordinating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, it lost its specialness. Each year, I would be full of anticipation about how beautiful the Mass would be, and then I would end up missing most of it because of my responsibilities. There were a few years I didn’t even get to receive because I had to be over at the repository across the street finalizing the procession. Recognize that Jesus knows your heart, so relish the moments you do get to be engaged in the liturgy and let everything else go.

If you want more, keep reading below for a day by day guide to get through Holy Week as a parish worker or volunteer!

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Palm Sunday:

Palm Sunday is often the prime day for live Stations, in addition to the long liturgy. Do your best to pace yourself today. You’re going to feel the rush of energy that comes with the beginning of Holy Week, but you’re going to have to sustain that for an entire week. Say the Rosary with your family as a quiet meditation before bed, with the intention of blessing the fruits of your labors this coming week.

Monday:

I used to always joke that I wanted to go to confessions about 15 minutes before the Easter Vigil, because any time before that, and I’d still have to go again before Mass. However, the great thing about the Sacrament of Reconciliation is that it also gives you the strength to keep from sinning, and going earlier in the week might help as you deal with the variety of different personalities you’re going to face. This year, Reconciliation Monday is during Holy Week, and I think that’s for a reason. Consider availing yourself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation today to help you make it through the rest of the week.

Tuesday:

Tuesday is probably the “quietest” day of Holy Week for parish workers and volunteers. Take some time for your own spirituality today by attending daily Mass and mentally preparing yourself for the week ahead. Don’t forget to catch up on your sleep and maybe even take care of the other major tasks of the week like meal planning, laundry, and grocery shopping, so that it’s out of the way for the long weekend.

Wednesday:

This is the day you’re “finalizing” everything as best you can and having rehearsals for all of the liturgical ministers, so the best way to stay holy today is to do the best you can in your labors for the Lord. Try praying this prayer to St. Joseph the Worker for inspiration. If you have to deal with people who perhaps aren’t as pleasant as they could be, unite yourself to Jesus as He was mocked and persecuted by those who watched Him die and offer up a smile in response.

Holy Thursday:

For me, Holy Thursday was always just as chaotic as the Easter Vigil. With a Eucharistic procession, washing of the feet, and semi-constant incense refills, it was always a circus that night.

There is a tradition to visit with Jesus at multiple churches after attending the Holy Thursday Mass. If you can, visit a few neighboring churches’ repositories after the Holy Thursday Mass to take some time for personal prayer. Don’t spend a lot of time at your own parish – you’ll just end up critiquing where you placed that one flower pot or starting a to do list of things to take care of tomorrow. (Totally hypothetical.) Instead, carve out the time for yourself to spend the hour watching with Jesus, enjoying the fruit of other parishes’ labors and taking time to harvest your own spirituality for a few moments.

Good Friday:

Ah, Good Friday. It’s always fun combining already high tensions for Holy Week with fasting – it’s sure to make everyone pleasant. (Insert eye roll here.)

Try to put everything away between the hours of noon-3. Even if you are going to be serving at the service or need to finalize last minute details for Stations, make an effort to spend some time in contemplation from noon-3. Also, consider attending Stations of the Cross or Tenebrae at another parish after the Good Friday service (if you aren’t running them at your own!) to help you connect with the day.

Easter Vigil (Saturday):

If you are participating in the Easter Vigil – may God be with you.

Seriously, the Easter Vigil is stressful and hectic. Everyone’s tensions are high because that liturgy is only celebrated once a year, and there are a lot of moving parts. The Easter Vigil is a great time to reflect on John, the beloved disciple. The Gospel tells us that he went along quietly as Jesus was being crucified, the only disciple to stick around. As a result, Jesus entrusted him with the greatest of gifts, the protection of Mary. Try uniting yourself to John by doing little things for those around you today – saying a prayer with the nervous RCIA catechumens, having a bottle of water ready for the parish priests or choir members, and simply standing by to help with last minute details.

Easter Sunday:

You made it! Congratulations and Happy Easter!

Even if you already attended the Easter Vigil, go to Mass with your family, and sneak in at the last minute so you won’t be “drafted” to help out (or express to your priest beforehand your need to just attend the liturgy). It’s hard to really attend Mass if you’re involved in a ministry of some sort, and of all the Masses to really be attentive to, it’s definitely Easter! Fair warning: It will be the absolute LAST thing you feel like doing, but trust me – it’ll be worth it, and you’ll feel so much more in the Easter mood afterwards.


Above all, as a parish worker or volunteer during Holy Week, the most important thing to remember is why we are doing all of this. For many folks, this is the one time of year that they actually invest in their faith. As a result, we may have to sacrifice a bit of our own spiritual connectedness to have the chance to bring someone fully back into the faith. If nothing else, in the midst of the craziness, try to take a moment to thank God for your own faith and that you have the opportunity sacrifice a bit of your own spiritual fulfillment to feed others’.

Prayers for a blessed and holy Holy Week!

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Introducing MassCards.org

Welcome to MassCards.org, a Mass card scheduler for Catholic parishes.

How many times have you ever wanted to buy a Mass card, but the parish didn’t offer any convenient times to purchase them? Or wanted to purchase a Mass card for a funeral from the person’s home parish, but couldn’t drive three states over just for a Mass card?

The days of in-person Mass card sales are over. Introducing MassCards.org, a real-time, online scheduling calendar for Mass card sales.

Are you a parish administrator interested in implementing MassCards.org at your parish? Contact us at info@gloriammarketing.com for more information!

Special introductory price: $50 set-up fee and $19.95 per month for software and maintenance coverage

Explore our demo site!

Marketing Services

Whether you recognize it or not, the cornerstone of effective evangelization begins with good marketing. Think about it: isn’t evangelization really just marketing the faith?

Here at Gloriam, there’s no limit to the ways we can help you get the word out about your parish or organization and share the Good News.

  • Looking to tell others about your parish or organization? We can help you create promotional items like t-shirts or hats with your logo, pens or business cards to hand out at a fair or conference, refrigerator magnets with Mass times for new parishioners, or press releases to local newspapers about upcoming events, Mass schedules, or event photos.
  • Does your website welcome and encourage new parishioners or customers? We can help perfect your website’s design and assist in writing engaging content that will draw people in and make them want to learn more. We can also help you set up social media accounts and discuss best practices for engagement.
  • What about programs that you already have? Gloriam is skilled in creating brochures and flyers promoting the parish youth group, RCIA program, baptism and wedding procedures, events, clubs, and more. Don’t know what to say? No worries – we can help you come up with the perfect wording to describe each of your programs, events, offerings, and Sacraments.

Brochures  ~  Posters  ~  Promotional Items
Social Media  ~  Writing/Editing
and so much more!

Consulting Services

You’re not meant to go this alone!

Sometimes it’s nice to have a helping hand, and Gloriam’s consultants are happy to offer advice and share knowledge of best practices. We have experience and specialized training in both Catholicism and marketing, so let us use our expertise to help you.

While our consultants have specific training in church-related software and practices that will be especially helpful for churches, many of these consulting functions can also be used in schools or businesses, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us for help outside of the church sector!

Gloriam offers training and consulting in:

  • Liturgy
  • Ministry training
  • Church layout and Mass organization (ie. Communion line, Liturgical minister seating, etc.)
  • Sacrament coordination (preparation process, logistics planning, etc.)
  • Parish Office management
  • Bulletin layout and design (check out our Did You Know columns!)
  • Youth Ministry
  • Faith Formation
  • Social Media/Web design
  • Parish evangelization
  • Marketing/promotional strategy
  • Event ideas

Looking for help with something that’s not here? Contact us today and let’s see how we can help!

Event Planning

Looking to plan your next church, school, or organization’s event but don’t know where to start? Let us help you!

Our consultants have hosted dozens of church events including:

  • Parish outreach activities
  • Family Catechesis nights (i.e. Advent wreath making)
  • Youth group Olympics with cluster parishes and Teen Masses
  • Ministry appreciation nights/retreats
  • St. Nick-themed breakfasts
  • Parish-wide feast days & outdoor Masses
  • Dedications and blessings of buildings, memorials, etc.
  • Visits from Cardinal Dolan and auxiliary bishops

Our event planning services include

  • Event consultation
  • Pre-event checklists and planning
  • Event supplies shopping/ordering

Looking for specific party help? Just ask and we’ll be happy to discuss personal arrangements.

Wedding Programs and Inserts

Getting married involves lots of details – the dress, the guest list, invitations, the dress, cake, music, flowers, candles, food, hors d’oeuvres – the list goes on and on. In the midst of it all, even very religious brides can fall into the trap of losing sight of the most important part of their wedding – the Sacrament.

While prepping for her own wedding in June of 2017, Gloriam’s founder Emily ran into an issue trying to figure out how to politely yet accurately phrase a portion of her wedding program that would instruct non-Catholics what to do during Communion. She agonized for hours over wording, fonts, and more, spending so much time on what at the time seemed to be a menial task. As she worked on the programs more and more, however, she began to realize that her wedding was quite possibly the one opportunity she would ever have to evangelize to members of her family and friends and that whatwas needed was a more thorough explanation of the Sacrament. And thus, the Catholic Custom Wedding Insert was born.

As an offshoot of Gloriam, Emily also offers her services to Catholic brides looking for wedding program design and printing. Using a standard template for a Catholic wedding Mass, Emily will design the program according to your liking and fill in the blanks with your readers, gift bearers, etc. You won’t have to worry about looking up all of the nuances of a Catholic nuptial as Emily already has it all laid out. Additionally, the Catholic Custom Wedding Insert, based off of the one Emily created for her own wedding, can also be customized to fit your needs if you would like to include anexplanation of the Sacrament of Matrimony in with your wedding program. Emily will work with you closely to provide an insert that is both catechetical and fun, covering topics such as the meaning behind the exchange of rings, fun facts about the readings chosen for the Mass, and the distribution of Communion. Click here to view an example of the insert, but remember – it’s completely customizable to your needs! For more information, please email info@gloriammarketing.com.

**Churches, Gloriam also offers the Catholic Custom Wedding Insert as an instructional booklet about the meaning of the Sacrament of Marriage. This booklet can be purchased and distributed to engaged couples in your parish. Please email info@gloriammarketing.com for more information.

Photo credit: Newman Photos