Parish Websites: Doors not Windows

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I love Blessed John XXIII.  I fell in love with him, in the form of Ed Asner, during my many viewings of the movie: Pope John XXIII: The Pope of Peace.  Specifically, I was drawn to his humility.

I love this description of him I found on CatholicCulture.org:

“The faithful saw in him a reflection of the goodness of God and called him “the good Pope.” He was sustained by a profound spirit of prayer. He launched an extensive renewal of the Church, while radiating the peace of one who always trusted in the Lord.”

Ah, yes – peace from trusting the Lord, formed in a deep spirit of prayer. That is definitely hero-making stuff or in this case, saint-making!

John-XXIII

So what does that have to do with the parish bearing his name and the website and app review that are the subject of this Tech Talk?

It is all in how I found them. I Googled “Blessed Pope John XXIII,” because I was curious about his life and papacy, you know — beyond the movie, and in anticipation of his upcoming canonization on April 27.

My search uncovered more site results for locations NAMED for him, than websites actually about him.  In particular, I was drawn to a church in Perrysburg, Ohio bearing the name of this humble pope.

Today’s review is about a parish website (and companion app) that absolutely WOWed me!!

I have this theory about Parish websites: they should be DOORS into the parish, and not merely WINDOWS.  In other words, they should show people visiting the site how to enter into the parish family, and not just steam up the window with their breath as they observe how other people worship God.

Obvious from their time on the parish site should be all the options available for community as well as how to fully participate in all the sacraments.

I’ve had the experience of joining two new parishes in the last eight years, and came away from each with many blessings and some bumps in the road.  The most important point I walked away from was that people need to be able to find a place where they belong, where they feel wanted and even needed, and where their spiritual lives will be fostered and fanned.

Blessed John XXIII with the site subtitle: Catholic Community, has a well designed, inviting, and informative website, including a sweet welcome video from the Pastor. This was my first experience with a parish app, and it has piqued my interest on this innovative evangelization tool. (Note: More to come on the use of parish apps in a future Tech Talk).

iOsBLJohn

I highly recommend visiting the parish site, and downloading their free app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPadAndroid and even Windows!

Blessedjohn.org Window App page

Blessedjohn.org Window App page

Parishes looking to create outreach using new and/or social media could really be inspired by Blessed John XXIII – the parish and the soon-to-be saint.

Even if you are not ready or completely interested in the big picture inclusion of these ideas, you may definitely find others that inspire you and enhance how you approach outreach and daily ministering.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2014 Allison Gingras

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About Author

Allison Gingras, founder www.ReconciledToYou.com (RTY); and host of A Seeking Heart on Breadbox Media weekdays 10 am ET. Allison created the "Words with" daily devotional App Series: Words with Jesus and Words with Mary. Allison offers retreats and talks on: Forgiveness; Works of Mercy; Trust and JOY!

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