CHN Community Responds

CHN Community Responds: Could Potlucks Work at Catholic Parishes?

August 5, 2016 No Comments

In our ongoing series where we pose various questions related to the theological and practical implications of converting to Catholicism, we asked our members the following question:

Could the tradition of Sunday potluck dinners work in Catholic parishes?


“Sure it could.  It just depends on the local congregation and dynamics.  In rural Catholic parishes it might work very well.  Our parish in Steubenville does a pancake breakfast after masses once a month, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.  It’s a long tradition and a major element of the parish culture.”

Dr John Bergsma, Associate Professor of Theology, Franciscan University


“Catholics usually think of parish meals as fundraisers, usually put on by one of the parish groups. Protestants usually think of church meals as reasons to have fellowship and potluck makes it free. Both are traditional for them and neither are right nor wrong.”

Buck S., via Facebook


“I think church pot lucks are fabulous! In the UM tradition i grew up in, it was a great way to get to know the others in the church. Instead of running out to the parking lot after service, it gave a reason for fellowship.”

Tom M., via Facebook


”I love the idea of potlucks after Sunday Church services. I think it would definitely work at smaller parishes. At larger parishes, administrations are always looking for a way to create smaller groups of fellowship within the church. At a parish of 1000 families, not everyone can be meaningful friends, which is why smaller groups of fellowship and support need to emerge. The smaller group of people who inevitably become regulars at the potluck, could create one of those desired smaller groups.” 

Teresa Grodi, Catholic Faith Journeys


“We’ve had one such potluck per year (usually in September) at the parish I go to. The Parish swings for the Brats and Hamburgers,(cooked onsite) and everything else brought potluck by the parishioners. It’s complete with an outdoor Mass before eating, we had games for kids, soccer for the agile, and Bingo for the not so agile. We also had a band playing dance music, the priest was a music major before seminary, so it was great, and mostly to get to know people and be inclusive. Unfortunately they moved our priest to another parish, so currently the Parish Picnic is not quite so wonderful. But, I keep hope alive.”

Mary K., via Facebook


“I always enjoyed pot-luck. One suggestion, perhaps organize a set-up and take-down committee on a rotating basis….otherwise the same folks end up with the clean-up making for a quick burnout. Good luck!”

Beatrice Q., via Facebook


“Our parish did something like a potluck when we had a 25th anniversary celebration for our priest. It was a great turnout and great food.With a large turnout it was important to have great volunteers with great organization skills. It can be done.”

gachristian, CHNetwork Community Forums


As you can see, the thoughts from our membership were overwhelmingly positive- please add your own in the comments below, and let us know if you start things up in your home parish!