As we celebrate this First Sunday of Advent, which is also the beginning of our new liturgical year, there is another something “new” I would like to announce: the rolling out of our newly redesigned parish web page! This is the culmination of (without exaggeration) several months of work by our parish Webmistress (and social media maven) Bethany Ippolito who does all of this work for us on a purely voluntary basis. She has been laboring incredibly hard revamping the visual look of the site, rearranging where information is to be found and how it is presented in order to make it easier to locate information one is searching for, and to increase the functionality of many aspects of the site.
Visually the website has been significantly upgraded. Menu items, icons, and critical information like the Mass schedule and Online Giving buttons are larger and more easily located. We have incorporated newer photos in many of the sections of the site, replacing photos that in some cases dated back almost 10 years. We are still looking for additional photos, especially to help supplement some of the “sacraments” pages.
If you or your family have recently had a wedding, baptism, Confirmation, First Communion, or other sacrament in the parish and have a good quality photo of it you would be willing to allow us to use on the parish website, please pass those along to Bethany at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who access the site on a mobile device will immediately notice it is much more “user friendly” now on cell phones than it was previously, and even offers fixed menu buttons at the bottom of the cell phone screen to access the bulletin, call or email the parish office, and so forth.
We are also very excited to announce that it will now be possible to register for the parish (or, for current parishioners to update their registration) completely online! No longer is it necessary to locate a PDF of the parish registration form, print it out, fill it out by hand, and drop it off (or mail it in). All information can be entered in a web form right on the site.
For those who, for COVID or other health reasons, remain at home and rely on our online streaming of Masses, it is now possible to watch our streamed Masses directly from the parish web site! No longer is it necessary to watch them via Facebook or YouTube (though they will continue to be on those sites as well). At the very top of our own parish page there is a banner that says “Livestream Mass Daily 12:00 PM” with a “click to watch” button that will take you directly to our livestream. If there is not currently a Mass streaming, then clicking on the livestream button will allow you to access the last 30 days’ worth of streamed Masses. (Masses older than 30 days will only be archived on YouTube and Facebook).
Related to this, we are happy to announce that St. Mary Church now has a professional quality streaming system installed and operational. No more relying on the fathers’ cell phones! The sound quality is far improved and the new system will allow us to have an “operator” actually moving the camera around during the course of Mass, so that it can zoom in on the pulpit when the priest is up there, zoom in on the altar when he is there, and so forth. We still need to train “camera operators” to do this, so it might be a couple of weeks before you start seeing it in action on the Mass stream… but it is definitely on its way!
Back to the website… the “Get Involved” menu (under the “parish life” tab) now makes it much easier to see the whole variety of ministries and groups in the parish and to learn more about each one. Our hope is that this will assist everyone in finding some way in which they can become more involved in parish life.
For those who enjoy reading the pastor’s weekly bulletin letters, there is now a page where the letters will be permanently archived, with the titles, first sentence or two, and a themed picture next to each one for easy access. All of this and more can be found on our new parish web page, which can still be found at the same URL as it has always been:
I would once again like to thank Bethany for her incredible effort in putting this together; our parish secretary Eliza as well as Fathers Joachim, Leo, and Ignatius for contributing content and revisions; and all of the parish ministry/group leaders who provided information.
Finally, I would like to thank Todd Ahern, our former webmaster (often ably assisted by his daughter Miriam) who put in so much work revamping our previous website when I first arrived as Pastor five years ago. Todd’s initial redesign and revamping is what gave us the amazing website we have had the last half decade, which served our parishioners so well over these past years and which also brought new people to our parish. Our latest revamping is truly the case of building on the shoulders of those who contributed before us. I hope everyone in the parish, with hearts full of thanksgiving, will offer up a quick prayer for Todd, Miriam, and Bethany for the amazing way they have, and are, helping our parish to grow and flourish.
Fr. John Paul