The Day of Remembrance national team has provided a host of resource to help you spread the word about your memorial service, with special attention to reaching out to local churches, which are likely to be your best avenue for letting people know about the event—as well as a great source for guest speakers, like the local Catholic bishop.
- Spreading the word
- Promoting your memorial service in local churches
Spreading the word
Get the word out about the Day of Remembrance through every avenue at your disposal: all your email contacts, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, church bulletins, flyers, even phone calls.
Reach out to the pro-life community in your area
As soon as you’ve settled the time and location for your memorial service, reach out individually by phone or email to local pro-life leaders. Let them know about the memorial service and invite their participation. Those to contact include:
- Heads of pro-life organizations and pregnancy assistance centers
- Organizers of 40 Days for Life and sidewalk counseling
- The diocesan respect life director
- Vocal pro-life clergy
- Pro-family groups and other organizations friendly to the pro-life cause
Hearing about the Day of Remembrance early on will make it more likely that these leaders will help promote the event. They can also be a great resource for both your leadership team and your special guest speakers.
Customizable flyer to pass out in your community
The national team has prepared a customizable flyer that you can download and fill out with your Day of Remembrance information.
Take care to follow the instructions below precisely or you may not end up with a usable flyer:
- Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, which you can find here. This is the program you will use to open and edit your flyer.
- Download a copy of the flyer to your computer. [NOTE: The link to the flyer is found at the end of these instructions.] To download, right click the link for the version of the flyer you’re going to use and select the option to “Save link as.” When your computer asks where you want to save the file, choose an appropriate location and click “Save.” The flyer will not work correctly if you try to edit it in your web browser.
- Open the file and fill in the bracketed information with the details pertinent to your city. Several fields are required, including the basic information. Additional fields may be left blank or filled in with other information you feel is pertinent to your memorial service. For the best look, keep the use of lower case and capital letters consistent with the case of the bracketed text.
- Important: If you do not have relevant information for any of the fields, be sure to delete any “space saver” text in those fields, or it will appear on your flyer.
- Save your customized flyer. Don’t just print out your customized flyer—save the flyer with your information as a new file with a different file name, too. Otherwise, the information you’ve filled in won’t be there next time you or someone else opens the file.
- Print your customized flyer. The flyer is designed to be printed on regular letter paper. You can print a small number of copies on your home computer. If you need a larger quantity, consider getting them printed at a professional print shop like FedEx Office or Office Depot.
Note: Some Windows users have had trouble printing the customizable flyer. If you are having trouble, tell Adobe Reader to print the file, but before giving the final print command, go into the “Advanced Options” menu and choose “Print as Image” and it should print correctly.
Click here to download the customizable flyer! [PDF]
You can pass out the flyer at church or at special events where interested people might be in attendance, or submit it to local churches for printing in the bulletin.
Promoting your Day of Remembrance through email
Use this sample email invitation to let your local contacts know about your memorial service. Whether you use this sample as is, modify it or write your own, follow these guidelines:
- Write as if you’re addressing a single person. People are more likely to respond to an individual plea (“Dear Friend”) than one addressed to a whole group (“Dear Friends”).
- Avoid using the word “we” to refer to a group that the recipient is not a part of, since that can be subtly alienating. Using “we” to mean “you and I” will help your recipients feel included.
- Keep paragraphs short—a maximum of 4 lines of normal length.
- Wait until you have your memorial site confirmed before sending out any messages. Better to send your message a week later with all the info than to send it now and look like you’re disorganized.
One Week Out: A week before the Day of Remembrance, email all your contacts again to remind them about the event. The national team will provide a sample “one week out” message you can customize for your email contacts.
Note: The sample email messages are provided in plain text format in order to make them usable on a wide variety of email systems. If you encounter problems using these files, please contact the national team.
Promoting your memorial service on Facebook, Twitter and other sites
Facebook, Twitter and other online communities like LinkedIn and Pinterest have become essential for getting the word out about important events like the Day of Remembrance. If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you should either sign up or enlist someone for your team who can handle this side of the promotion effort.
Facebook Event: The best way to promote your memorial service on Facebook is to create a “Facebook event” and invite your friends—and ask them to invite theirs. If you’re not familiar with how to set up a Facebook event, check out the instructions here.
To help “brand” your event, the national team has provided a special “Cover Photo” for your event page. You can use or modify the following text for your event description:
A solemn memorial service will be held at [INSERT NAME OF GRAVESITE OR MEMORIAL SITE] as part of the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.
Special Guests include:
[LIST GUEST SPEAKERS AND MUSICAL GUESTS]
Memorial services will also be held at hundreds of other locations across the nation. A full listing is available here:
Once you’ve set up a Facebook event for your memorial, invite all your friends to attend and spread the word, even if they don’t live nearby. Someone in your town may learn about the Day of Remembrance through a mutual Facebook friend.
But don’t just stop with one mention of the event. It’s easy to miss things on Facebook, so make a point of inviting your friends each week from now until the Day of Remembrance. And share the event regularly on your wall.
Be sure to send a link to your Facebook event to the national team so we can include it in the information about your memorial service that appears on the Day of Remembrance website.
Facebook Cover Photo: Use this cover photo on your Facebook timeline to help get the word out and encourage your Facebook friends to do the same! Or you may choose to use an appropriate photo from a previous Day of Remembrance prayer service. This could also serve as a cover photo for your Facebook event page. Find instructions on changing your cover photo here.
Facebook Status: During the weeks before the Day of Remembrance, post status updates on your wall and any pages you manage. If you’re on Twitter or any other social media site, posts updates there, too. Sample social media messages will be posted here.
Broadcast your memorial service with a public service announcement (PSA)
Public service announcements (PSAs) on local radio are a powerful, free way to get the word out about the Day of Remembrance.
Your first step is to find out what radio stations in your area offer this service, starting with the website for each station. If you don’t find the information you need, make a phone call. Find out what the guidelines and deadlines are for getting a PSA on the air.
The national team has provided customizable PSA scripts for your Day of Remembrance memorial service. Be sure to use the appropriate script, depending on whether your memorial service is at an unborn gravesite or not.
You can often go to the local radio station to record your audio for your PSA, but if that’s not possible, most operating systems like Windows have a built-in voice recording application you could use to record from your home computer with a microphone. If you have a laptop, it likely has a microphone built in.
For better quality audio, use an external microphone (you can get one on Amazon.com for less than $10) and dedicated audio recording software like Audacity.
Be sure to ask what format the radio station wants the audio file to be and to save it in that format before sending it to them.
Promoting your memorial service in local churches
Getting the word out about the Day of Remembrance through local churches is absolutely critical. Churches will prove to be your most effective means for bringing out a healthy crowd to honor the memory of abortion’s victims if you follow the guidelines below.
Announcing the Day of Remembrance in bulletins and from the pulpit
Bulletin announcements and pulpit announcements are solid gold for drawing people out to your memorial service—perhaps the most important promotional action you can take.
The national team has provided a sample bulletin announcement you can submit to churches for their bulletin or pulpit announcements. You may also wish to have the full Day of Remembrance flyer printed in the bulletin, or have copies stuffed into bulletins (offer to have volunteers do the work).
Deadlines: Deadlines will vary by church, but we recommend submitting your bulletin announcements two Fridays before the Sunday you wish the announcement to run. Don’t miss these deadlines for the coming weeks’ bulletins:
|Submit materials by:||For bulletin date:|
|Friday, August 12||Sunday, August 21|
|Friday, August 19||Sunday, August 28|
|Friday, August 26||Sunday, September 4|
Since this is a free service, there’s no reason not to have an announcement in every church bulletin you can.
Follow up on sending your announcement with a phone call. If there are a lot of churches you need to reach, consider breaking up the list and having multiple members of your team make a handful of calls each.
Partnering with Protestant churches
To effectively work with all the churches in your area, it’s important to understand the differing structures of Catholic and Protestant churches, which may be unfamiliar to you.
For a Protestant church, getting to the Pastor is key, and that usually means going through his secretary. A direct phone call is best for getting attention and results.
Even better than the secretary would be a personal friend or acquaintance of the pastor. If they can make contact and broach the subject of supporting or speaking at the memorial service, he will be all the more likely to support your efforts.
Some Protestant denominations have additional structures in place or might have a specific pro-life or pro-family ministry. Directors of those ministries would be excellent contacts as well.
Partnering with Catholic churches
Working with the Catholic churches can be a bit more complex due to the bureaucratic nature of the diocesan structure.
Even many lifelong Catholics aren’t sure who to talk to to get results. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with some offices, officials and terminology to cut through the red tape. See also the section on inviting your bishop for more details on diocesan structure.
The Respect Life Director: The Respect Life Director runs the Respect Life committee or office and they need to become your very best friend at the diocese. Respect Life may work under Peace and Justice or Family Life. A look at the diocesan website or a phone call will help you figure out who you’re looking for.
The Respect Life director has the ability to get information into every parish in the diocese. This is your gateway to bulletin announcements in every Catholic church in your area.
The Catholic Conference: You’ll also want to take advantage of the state Catholic Conference to promote the Day of Remembrance. Your state’s Catholic Conference is a church agency representing the dioceses within a state in order to provide for the coordination of the public policy concerns of the church.
The executive director of the Catholic Conference, usually a layperson, serves as the liaison between the world and all of the bishops in your state. He will know what the bishops want and are capable of and will be able to help convince them that supporting the Day of Remembrance and promoting it in the churches is a good idea.
You should be able to get the executive director’s contact information on the conference’s website. Give them a call and offer them the chance to be involved with your memorial service.
Remember to present the Day of Remembrance as an opportunity for the conference and the bishops, not a chore you want them to do for you.
Inviting the local Catholic bishop to attend your memorial service
One of the most impactful speakers you can have for your Day of Remembrance memorial service would be the local Catholic bishop. Not only will the bishop’s presence be an inspiration to those in attendance, it will help draw the media.
Request the bishop’s presence with a letter to his office. You will not get results from most Catholic bishops with an e-mail; plus, a physical letter shows a degree of due respect for the office of bishop.
If the bishop cannot attend in person, you may wish to request an audio recording that could be played at your memorial services offering the bishop’s blessing and support.
Sample Letter: The national team has prepared a sample letter you can modify with your memorial service details to request the bishop to speak or offer a blessing.
Follow-Up Phone Call: Be sure to follow up your letter with a phone call to see if your letter was received and keep yourself on the mind of those who guard the bishop’s time and resources.
In addition to tips outlined above, it will help to know about a few other things about diocesan structure:
Local Ordinary: This is the technical title of the bishop of a diocese. He is the pastor of every church in his diocese and he is the point where all authority in the diocese terminates. He is also known as the diocesan bishop.
Auxiliary Bishop: An auxiliary bishop is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because the diocesan bishop needs assistance in performing all the duties of his office. Many larger dioceses have more than one auxiliary bishop. If the diocesan bishop is not available, an auxiliary would be every bit as good. In some cases, if your local ordinary is not supportive of your efforts, an auxiliary bishop who does share your viewpoint might even be a better choice. But the local ordinary should be invited first as a matter of respect.
Chancellor: The Chancellor is a usually a priest, often a canon lawyer, who is the head of the chancery, the record-keeping office of the diocese. The Chancellor has direct interaction with the bishop and could be a good channel to get your request to the bishop.
Vicar General: The Vicar General is the “business manager” for the diocese and he is the most important person in the diocese outside the bishop. He is always a priest, sometimes an auxiliary bishop, who acts on behalf of the bishop and handles the day to day operations under the bishop’s authority. He may be the one to read a letter from the bishop if your bishop is unable to attend but sends a greeting.
The Catholic bishop will draw more people than any other single person to your memorial service and his absence will be noted if he does not attend or send greetings, so put in every possible effort through all of the channels mentioned above to obtain his presence.