Perhaps unsurprisingly to regular Massgoers, respondents to our poll said overwhelmingly that their parishes kept them up-to-date with paper bulletins (97 percent) and announcements at Mass (91 percent). Respondents also noted their parishes’ use of social media (60 percent), email (59 percent) and their websites (58 percent) to inform parishioners. Mail updates (41 percent) were less commonly reported, and phone/text announcements (12 percent) were even more rare.
Although parishes appear to be using a range of methods of communication, some respondents called for better quality of communication. An anonymous reader from State College, Pa., wrote: “My parish uses various forms of media inconsistently. They need to decide how the parish wants to receive information, and then always provide it through that medium. For better or worse, more frequent communication from the parish in various forms will keep the parish relevant in people’s daily lives.”
Other respondents emphasized the importance of face-to-face communication. Sue Palmer of Lapeer, Mich., wrote that her parish could be “more welcoming and friendly when we are there in person, not just a name on email blast.” Mike Hoffman of Homewood, Ill., said that “the pastor could make himself available before and after Masses so that people can have an opportunity to ask questions or comment.”
In addition to these suggestions, many respondents praised how their parish keeps them informed. A number of respondents also told America that parishioners could be better communication partners. Jill Johnson of Cincinnati, Ohio, said, “Our parish communicates effectively—sometimes parishioners do not pay attention.” Katherine of New York, N.Y., similarly noted: “If we want more communication, we should take the initiative ourselves as parishioners. We are not consumers of a church—we are the church.”