Quick Start Guide:
1. Give passports to parishioners, if using personal stamp sheets, pass those out as well.
2. Dedicate an area in church where passports can be collected, stamped, and postcards can be mailed.
3. Keep the passport area well stocked with upcoming stamps.
4. Announce the Pascha Passports and Lenten Journey materials.
5. Display Lenten Journey Posters and hand out postcards.
Uses in Church School Programs:
We have had a lot of feedback that this makes a fantastic Church School accompaniment. Children keep their own Passports or can leave them at church, and each week teachers pass out stamps and perhaps Postcards and engage with kids about each Sunday of Lent. The Lenten Journey Map is also great for this visual use, as kids can literally walk through Lent towards Pascha using the Map.
Can I customize the passport for our church?
On the inside front cover of all Passports there is an area for your church’s name and stamp/seal to be placed. A photo of the Passport owner can be affixed to the inside cover, as well as personal information such as Saint’s Name, Baptism date, Feast date and signature.
How is the Passport used?
The Pascha Passport is meant to be an additional resource in your Lenten tool bag. It can involve the whole parish, helping all who participate to monitor their own private journey toward Christ and His Resurrection, as well as to follow along on the corporate journey of the Church through Her beautiful and intentional services. Each section of the Pascha Passport explains why the Church offers these services and what they are meant to teach us as we travel the road to the Empty Tomb.
How does the Passport Program work?
At a church, the passports can be self-guided, administered by the Church School, or by some other representative. At our parish, adults use them as well as children to help them along their journey to Pascha. We do not necessarily use it as a reward system but rather as a means of enrichment and education. Also please see the “Information Sheet” given with each order that details everything you need to know about running the program successfully.
At home they can be a good conversation starter and encouragement for kids to go to as many services as they can and get the stamps either from parents or place them in their Pascha Passport themselves. The Personal Stamp Sheet makes using the passports just as a family very easy and cost effective.
Who generally manages this process?
It is good to have a main point person to manage the “stamping” at each service, but we have also found that having some self-management is important. Some of the passport requires self-governance such as logging your prayer time, your reading, your fasting; this is done on an individual basis. Other activities like going to Pre-Sanctified Liturgy or other mid-week services are activities that are not accompanied by Church School. So having a “Passport Office” set up so that children can stamp their passports is a good idea (see photos of our Passport Office example). On the other hand, Sunday is a busy day and most children are in attendance that day, so having a good system for distributing and stamping passports is important. In our Parish, the Youth Director and Religious Education Director manage and run the passport stamping process.
How is this promoted to the community?
Like any new activity, participation is increased if the idea and use of the passports is explained and demonstrated. Excitement is built with regular discussion of the passports, having the Passport Office set up (directions for a Passport Office are included in the Information Sheet that comes with your order), and making use of the Travel Posters. All of it builds the momentum of a special journey. Of course, the parish priest will have to promote and explain the passport himself to get community support. The Raising Lazarus Project can be easily promoted as a companion tool that fits into the Lenten Journey. Every Sunday the Priest or Deacon can unwrap one of the cloths around the icon and talk about the Sacrament of Confession. This can have a major impact on parishioners and increase the number of people participating in confession.
What age groups are targeted?
We gave everyone in the parish a Passport and we had people of all ages participating, even our priest. Some parishes target their Sunday school students and other parishes invite all parishioners to participate.