Marketing spiritual services
IT is not, of course, a matter of indulging in commercialization of things spiritual and of religion and piety. That would be simony, a no no. But given the temper of the times, I think we need to be more pro-active in promoting the spiritual services, such as the sacraments and others like spiritual counselling and spiritual direction.
Truth is of all the things that we most need, one thinks, the spiritual things, the very means of our sanctification and of developing a lifestyle that would lead us to our eternal life, should rank first. As such, they should not be confined to some restricted and confined
means of promoting them, like just depending on some word of mouth and putting some notices on bulletin boards of churches, etc. In fact, one cannot anymore depend solely on homilies to do this. These spiritual services can and should be more visible and audible in the media also.
We can generate a lot of interest for them. With many people entangled if not sunk in complicated situations and predicaments, they will soon realize that there are other very effective ways of tackling them other than the usual material means, like pills, food supplements, exercises, etc. We cannot deny that many people are stuck with bad habits, vices and all kinds of addiction—from alcohol to drugs to sex to the Internet to games, etc., etc. Self-abuse, pre- and extra-marital sex are rampant. Corruption, greed, deception in high places are now into epidemic proportions. Cases of depression and mental illness are increasing at a frightening rate.
Even at these times, there seem to be a very big market out there of people who would be highly benefited if given the appropriate spiritual services. The spiritual services, like the sacraments of confession and the Holy Eucharist, spiritual direction and counselling, etc., can actually offer remedies and relief that attend more to the more important constituent of our nature, which is our spiritual soul. If people only know the effectiveness of these spiritual services!
Of course, we have to make everyone understand the priority that the care of our spiritual soul has over that of our physical body, without ever disparaging the importance of the latter. It is in the state of our spiritual soul where the ultimate quality of our life is actually determined. This is actually a point that needs to be explained more.
We need to do a lot of advertising the benefits of the spiritual services, slowly but steadily explaining the details of the benefits involved. And we can do this by making use of the usual means of advertising, like making commercials for radio, TV and even online.
There is now a lot of marketing being done online. Let us hope that we can count on competent people to do this. The clergy should lead the way, but the laypeople can and should be highly involved in this job. With their exposure to the real world and their creativity, many laypeople can be most effective in this department.
Yes, appropriate gimmicks, slogans and the so-called “hugot” lines can be used—anything that can legitimately grab the attention of the people. Of course, we should not forget the traditional means of promoting these spiritual services, but neither should we be stuck with them.
Times have changed, and there are people who do not feel at home anymore with the old traditional means. We need to adapt to the times. We may have to do some changing of attitudes and acquiring new skills for this purpose.
Let’s hope that the spiritual services can be made mainstream in the world of media!