Ads in Church Bulletins


#1

Hi.

I’m a practicing cradle Catholic and know that I will very much enjoy the spiritual richness of the site.

However, I discovered it during an Internet search for a much more practical question. I was asked to find out if parishioners ever read and respond to ads in church bulletins and, if so, what types of advertisers arre contacted. I’d be interested in the opinions of site members.

I’m not selling or promoting anything.

Thanks so much. Your help is greatly appreciated!


#2

I see who advertises in our bulletin; and if I need one of the services, I try to use parishioners whether they advertise or not.


#3

Generally, the ads let you know what businesses support the parish. You don't see an ad for a hardware store and think, "Gee. What hardware could I think of to buy, to support this business?" But you keep them in mind if you ever need hardware.

The ads that have the names of the parishioners who own or run the businesses are particularly compelling, I think.


#4

My wife and I actually found our Realtor in our Parish Bulletin, and bought our first house under her guidance in 2008 :thumbsup:


#5

I am from a small parish and we do not have ads. Some of the large parishes in my area have the whole back page full of ads. It does help the cost of bulletins and let’s parishiners know who supports the church.


#6

My husband sells these ads. His company prints the bulletins at no cost to the parish, relying on the advertising revenue to cover the cost of printing. At the end of the year, if certain conditions are met, the parish may receive a portion of the ad revenue. He sells to businesses in the general area where the churches are, but not necessarily only to parishioners. A very large percentage of the businesses renew the ads year after year. Advertisers are happy with the ads because people keep the bulletins at home and because they are placed in people's hands week after week for a full year for consistent, repeated exposure. Many include a coupon so they can see exactly how many of the customers are coming from the bulletin ads. Apparently, it's enough.

Businesses represented in the ads include restaurants, hardware stores, contractors, pharmacies, doctors and counselors, veterinarians, real estate agents, spas and hairdressers, auto repair shops, funeral homes, florists, plumbers, nursing homes, supermarkets, health clubs, etc., etc., etc. Basically everyone in the neighborhood.


#7

They are mostly the same week to week. We do look at them every now and then so that we can make a mental note of their support.

We recently needed to replace some windows, remembered one of the sponsors did that, found them in the current bulletin and ended-up using them.

FWIW - they found exactly the replacements we wanted and were less expensive then the alternative we found.

All other things being equal, I would always support these advertisers.


#8

Honestly, I don't look at them. The former Protestant in me still somehow cringes at the very idea of ads on church bulletins, so I generally just ignore them. I do know my husband glances at them from time to time, but we've never patronized a business specifically because it's an advertiser there.


#9

[quote="Romanova, post:8, topic:225690"]
The former Protestant in me still somehow cringes at the very idea of ads on church bulletins

[/quote]

How so?


#10

One of the car washes in town puts a coupon in the bulletin. I use it all the time. Also if I need a service I tend to check the bulletin first. I found the Auto Body shop I use from it, also when I needed a plumber I checked there first.


#11

There are several restaurants that advertise in my church bulletin that I have been meaning to go and and visit. Most of the ads are for services such as handywork and painting that as a current renter I have no need for. However, my husband and I are planning to buy a house this spring so I may end up needing to contact them at some point.


#12

[quote="Romanova, post:8, topic:225690"]
Honestly, I don't look at them. The former Protestant in me still somehow cringes at the very idea of ads on church bulletins, so I generally just ignore them. I do know my husband glances at them from time to time, but we've never patronized a business specifically because it's an advertiser there.

[/quote]

Our pastor once very bluntly put it like this - these are the businesses in our community that are making a weekly or monthly contribution to this parish. We should likewise do our business with them when possible. Our parish is running at an extreme deficit which is sad (40K) last month thanks to the cold - which if every registered parishioner threw $2 in every week we would be covered - so yes, when I need services I try to use those who pay the fees to advertise first.


#13

[quote="Romanova, post:8, topic:225690"]
Honestly, I don't look at them. The former Protestant in me still somehow cringes at the very idea of ads on church bulletins, so I generally just ignore them. I do know my husband glances at them from time to time, but we've never patronized a business specifically because it's an advertiser there.

[/quote]

There's something about it that has always made me cringe at it was well. It seems a step below commercials during the service or the priest having his garb covered with NASCAR like stickers


#14

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:13, topic:225690"]
There's something about it that has always made me cringe at it was well. It seems a step below commercials during the service or the priest having his garb covered with NASCAR like stickers

[/quote]

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel. I know that these businesses support the parish etc., and that the ads defray the cost of printing the bulletins, and that it's good to know what businesses support the parish so that if you have a choice, you could patronize them... but having ads on the bulletin just bothers me. Not quite the same as money-changers in the temple, or commercials during Mass, but it still just bothers me.

And as far as the Protestant reference, I only mentioned that to give context. I grew up in an evangelical Protestant church that printed weekly bulletins far more substantial than my current parish's bulletins, and they did it without ads. So I had never even fathomed that a church would put ads on a bulletin, until I started going to Mass and getting Catholic parish bulletins. Cultural difference, I guess.


#15

I had a twinge of that same feeling when I converted (I’m a former United Methodist)…it just didn’t feel ‘right’ at first blush to be advertising in a Church document.

But when I really reasoned it through, well, I figure every dollar the Church doesn’t have to pay for printing the bulletin is a dollar that can go to something more important, like evangelizing or serving the poor (or building upkeep or whatever else).

Definitely have to be boundaries though…I’ve been in a well-known Catholic Cathedral that had a gift store in the back corner of the nave. That definitely didn’t feel right to me. Even though the money was going to a good cause, it just seems like it ought to be outside of the worship space!

God bless.


#16

[quote="mark_a, post:9, topic:225690"]
How so?

[/quote]

As a former protestant, for me, the story of Jesus running the money changers out of the temple comes to mind.


#17

[quote="LCMS_No_More, post:16, topic:225690"]
As a former protestant, for me, the story of Jesus running the money changers out of the temple comes to mind.

[/quote]

I would suggest a good reading of Dei Verbum so that you may have a better understanding of the context that this was written in. The money changers were also committing the sin of usury - the problem was not necessarily the business being conducted but the exorbitant rates it was being conducted at. We must be careful to read things in the full context they are to be taken in.


#18

[quote="joandarc2008, post:17, topic:225690"]
I would suggest a good reading of Dei Verbum so that you may have a better understanding of the context that this was written in. The money changers were also committing the sin of usury - the problem was not necessarily the business being conducted but the exorbitant rates it was being conducted at. We must be careful to read things in the full context they are to be taken in.

[/quote]

But usury isn't the only problem... Surely there is a line other than usury at which certain activities are unacceptable in the house of God.

Let's posit an example that was suggested by LutheranTeach above -- a commercial at Mass. "This Mass brought to you by your local Popeye's Chicken." If usury was the only problem, then there should be nothing wrong with that (Popeye's being cheap and not usurious)...

So where would you draw the line? What commercialized activities are acceptable in the house of God, and which are not?


#19

I just had to comment, as I used to be Lutheran and I too thought it was really odd that they had ads on the back of the bulletins when I first went to Mass. I didn't realize I wasn't the only one.

Sure, I understand that it helps with the cost of printing and that those businesses support that church, but I still think it's odd.

I think it's just one of those things, grow up Catholic and you're used to it. Come into the Church and it's just one thing that is different.

Personally, I rarely look at them.


#20

The commercial would interfere with liturgical practices and be directly opposed to the GIRM which would be disobedience to the Magisterium. The ads in the bulletin do no such thing unless you are reading the bulletin during Mass which at our parish we don’t pass out the bulletins until after mass for that very reason.


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