For the last ten years, I’ve been designing what I think is a pretty nice parish bulletin. It’s been part of my evolving job on our parish staff, and it’s something I really enjoy.
And it involves more than just the printed paper we hand to parishioners on Sundays.
As part of my work in the parish, I’m also our parish webmaster, which includes social media.
The two aspects of my role go hand-in-hand: the bulletin and the online ventures use much of the same information. We have a highly visual and graphic-heavy bulletin, and I use many of those graphics in other places.
Recently, our pastor (and my boss) reminded me of what our bulletin is out to accomplish. It “is more than a bulletin of facts and meeting information. It is a vital tool that projects the image of our parish. It fosters community. It engages readers.”
To get our parish bulletin, you pretty much have to walk through the doors of our parish (either our church or our activity center) or find the link on our website. There’s opportunity with that. There’s also limitation.
On the topic of our website, Father had this to say: “The New Evangelization means making the Good News present in forms that engage others. Maintaining a dynamic informative presence on the Internet is the first line of evangelization.” To that end, we strive to create opportunities for faith enrichment by linking resources and people and maintaining a current access to homilies, announcements, and promotions.
The website, then, puts the information out where it’s easily found by a different (online) audience.
The internet and social media have made the Catholic Church more accessible than ever. People can check out a parish long before they ever physically show up for Mass.
You can learn a lot about a parish from its online presence. You can find out the physical locations and times for things, but you can also get a sense of personality. What’s the pastor’s homily sound like? How does religious education registration work? What’s the bulletin say?
OK, so I made the last question up because it makes me feel better. But much of our online content comes from our bulletin. And if you’re used to reading and writing online, you can apply that skill set to your parish bulletin.
The new parish bulletin is online: literally, because you can probably download it, but also in other ways. A lot of the information that used to be in the bulletin or in periodic newsletters is on our parish blog and social media, sometimes in addition to and other times instead of in the parish bulletin.
The New Evangelization begins at home, and for me, that als0 means my home parish.
What can YOUR parish do to grow in this area? How can you offer to help? What excites you about this idea?
Copyright © 2013, Sarah Reinhard