Category Archives: Administrators

think outside the box

myParish App: Think Outside The Box

myParish App isn’t just about the features you see on the screen. If you do a little creative thinking, you can use the app in some unique ways.

small town street

For instance, it’s easy to get stuck thinking about just our own parish. Here is Applandia, at Saint Alphege the Bald Catholic Church, we try and think about the universal church, as well. Here are some things we’ve done:

    • Consider a parish-wide novena using the app. Send the novena prayer as a daily message. (Need ideas for novenas? Check out this page.)
    • How much do you know about your parish’s patron saint? Send a message on the saint’s feast or send a message with a prayer for your patron’s intercession on a regular schedule (weekly, or monthly.)
    • Send a message with the Holy Father’s intentions on the first day of the month, and encourage parishioners to pray the Morning Offering for them. The Morning Offering can be found in the Prayers tab in the app, where prayers are listed alphabetically. (You can find the Holy Father’s monthly intentions here.)

With just a little effort, your parish community can use myParish App to stay connected to the world-wide Catholic community in prayer, and learn some new things as well.

Truth & Life Audio Bible

New Feature: Truth & Life Audio Bible

Here in Applandia, we are always on the look-out for the best Catholic content for myParish App. With this in mind, we are thrilled to now offer an audio Bible feature that app administrators can add for their parish community.

We wanted the very best Bible audio program we could find, and we found it in Truth & Life.

The Truth & Life Dramatized audio Bible New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Voiced by award winning internationally-renowned actors including: Neal McDonough, Kristen Bell, Sean Astin, Michael York, Blair Underwood, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Brian Cox, Julia Ormond, John Rhys-Davies and many more.

For many people, reading the Bible can be difficult or inconvenient. With the addition of the Truth & Life Audio Bible to myParish App, the Bible will come to life. Not only that, but this feature will allow a person to listen anywhere they have their phone.

If you’d like to add this feature to the app for your parish, please call us at (800) 997-8805, and our staff will gladly help you.

Remember too: when you add a new feature to the app, be sure to make note of it in your parish bulletin and other announcements. Keep your faith community informed as to what features myParish App has in store for them.

best practice

Best Practice: Making myParish App More Visible

No, we don’t think the app is invisible. But it can get overlooked. People forget that it’s on their phone, or maybe your staff is still a little reluctant to use it.St. Alphege the BaldAt Saint Alphege the Bald Catholic Church here in Applandia, the staff has best practices down to an art form. Here are a few tips:

  • Post the “Download myParish App” image to your Facebook page. Pin it at the top of your FB page so that it’s the first thing people see in your feed.
  • In the bulletin, put in instructions about how to download the app. You don’t have to do this every week, but a couple of times a month is good.
  • Use the App Feature of the Week in the bulletin. (Go to myparishapp.com and look under the “Features” tab.) There’s one for each basic button on your app; that’s 12 weeks of tips!

By dedicating a few minutes every week to “best practices” for the app, you’ll see an increase of parishioner use and participation. And that means your job in the parish is easier, and most importantly, people are connecting with their faith, every day.

launch relaunch

We’ve Launched The App; Now What?

You’ve had a successful launch! Parishioners are excited about the app, and people are using it.

Now what?

In a word: Relaunch. Now that doesn’t mean you have to have another big, pull-out-all-the-stops weekend. Instead, think about “relaunching” like maintenance.

small town street

Here in Applandia, we have a great hardware store. It’s got everything you need to fix a leaky pipe, clean the vinyl siding on your house, regrout your tub or rake the leaves. (Yeah, it’s not exciting, but it’s got to be done.) Better yet, the Applandia hardware store is staffed with terrific people who can help. You don’t know what tool to use? Not sure how to get that pipe back on once you’ve got it off? We can help.

Here are a few ideas for “Relaunch” or app maintenance:

  • Include information about the app in your parish’s welcome packet. Be sure to mention it when new parishioners stop in the office to register.
  • Be sure to put information about myParish App in parent information packets for back-to-school and religious ed. The Groups feature is a terrific way for teachers and parents to communicate.
  • Make sure  your parish leaders/staff know that the app should be their “go-to” for communication. While the Groups feature is great for Bible studies, small groups and RCIA, it’s equally terrific for making sure the choir members know which pieces of music to bring for practice, or for sending out the Pastoral Council minutes before the next meeting.
  • Remind parishioners via all your communications channels about myParish App. Put information about how to download in your bulletin on a regular basis. The same goes for your parish Facebook page.
  • If you have a Time/Talent/Treasure or Stewardship Sunday, make sure you include an information table about the app.

Relaunching won’t be burdensome if you follow these suggestions. And if you have a question or need some help, our friendly support staff (just like the folks at the hardware store) will be happy to lend a hand. Give us a call at 1-800-997-8805.

Living The Good News: Another Inspiring Feature For Your Parish

If you think of Applandia as a small town, with the Saint Alphege the Bald Catholic Church on one end of town and the general store at the other, right in the middle of Main Street, you’ll find the newspaper. Of course, it’s not really a newspaper, since we’re in the virtual realm.

small town street

It’s a blog, and it’s called Living the Good News. We write it here in Applandia, and just like any small town paper, we try to make sure it’s relevant to the people reading it. Learn about saints and holy days, Scripture and news. At Living the Good News, we follow the Olympics just like you, but with a Catholic twist. When the pope speaks, we listen and discuss.With 2000 years of glorious Church history, teaching and people, you’ll be sure to learn something new – or learn something old in a new way.

If you’d like to add Living the Good News to myParish App for your faith community, let us know. We’ll be happy to help.

Scott Hahn Bible Reflections Feature

Here in Applandia (as we like to call it) we’re always looking for ways that mobile technology can aid our faith. As such, we’re very excited to announce a new partnership with Dr. Scott Hahn and the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

Known for both his speaking and writing skills, Dr. Hahn is the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb’s Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are Many Are Called, Hope for Hard TimesThe Catholic Bible Dictionary, Covenant and Communion, and Signs of Life. With his weekly Sunday Bible Reflections, Dr. Hahn offers inspiring insights into a fuller understanding of the readings heard every Sunday at Mass.

His talks have been effective in helping thousands of Protestants and fallen away Catholics to (re)embrace the Catholic faith.

A new “Reflections” button with Dr. Hahn’s  weekly Sunday bible reflections is now available for your parish’s app. If you would like us to add this button to your parish’s app, please let us know.

Be sure to also check out the other special features with great content for your parish’s app, including: Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic, daily Gospel reflections from CatholicMom.com, Year of Mercy reflections from the Diocese of La Crosse, daily Mass from CatholicTV, and inspiration with Living the Good News from us here at Diocesan Publications.

Understanding Parish App Usage

As a myParish app user, you already know how valuable the content can be to your faith community. However, if you spend a little bit of time getting to understand the analytics part of the app, you’ll be able to communicate even more efficiently with your parishioners.

It’s tempting, when looking at analytics, to focus only on how many users we want to reach. While we do want to evangelize as many people as possible, being familiar with the analytics will allow you to do so much more. Simply having a lot of people download the app doesn’t mean you are communicating well with all of them. Taking time to look at the analytics will help you, as the app manager, do the best job possible in reaching out to your faith community.

Below is some general analytics information to get you started. Being familiar with this information will help you manage the app more effectively.

We’ll be sending more app and analytics information in the future. However, if you have questions, you can always reach out to us at 1-800-997-8805. We love to help people!

NOTE: When viewing any of the following analytics, remember to adjust the Start and End dates to your desired date range. The Start date must be AFTER August 20th, 2015.

Users

A high percentage of Returning Visitors and a consistent number of New Visitors is ideal for your parish’s app.

NOTE: Numbers will only be reported accurately back to August 20, 2015 when these analytics were implemented.

Users

Map

The US map is meant to give you a rough idea of the geographic distribution of your app’s users. You may hover clusters or dark circles with your cursor to zoom.

NOTE: Some small inaccuracies may appear here due to Google Analytics not always correlating  city names with the correct state.

Map

Engagement

This tab shows the number of app users for your parish’s app by day, week, or month, as well as the average number of sessions (times using the app) for each user on each of those occasion (day, week, month).

NOTE: A time period of 2 months or more is best viewed in Month or Week mode.

Engagement

Sessions

This tab will show you the total number of times people used your app each day this week versus last week. You can see if usage of your parish’s app is consistent week to week or if spikes appear because of special events or increased engagement such as messages sent with push notifications.

Sessions

Screens

Here you can see the amount of time users spent on different features of your parish’s app over a period of time.

Screens

Year over Year

This tab shows how the number of parishioners actively using your app varies month to month. After your parish has used the app for one whole year (post Aug. 20, 2015) these stats may be helpful in identifying seasonal usage trends and variation year to year.

Year over Year

 

As you dive into numbers, percentages, and averages for your parish’s app, remember to keep an eye out for potential areas of improvement in communication and evangelization with your parishioners and visitors. And remember to contact us at 1-800-997-8805 if you have specific questions.

Adding Bulletins to myParish App

Bulletins are still a great (and often expected) form of communication to parishioners, and as such, it is a good idea to make them easily accessible on mobile devices. When your bulletin is available in your parish app, it is easy for parishioners to find, if they forget to pick one up on Sunday or are out-of-town or visiting a different parish for a special occasion.

This year we have worked hard to make the bulletin manual upload capabilities for myParish app simple yet robust and flexible for special circumstances. Bulletin customers of Diocesan & Trinity Publications will still have their bulletins uploaded automatically for each Sunday, but can add special uploads manually if desired. Let’s take a look at the improved manual upload feature now.

After logging into the Administrator Portal for your parish app, select the CHURCH page from the top menu. About two-thirds down the CHURCH page you will see the BULLETIN UPLOADS section (below).

Uploading a New Bulletin

Bulletin Uploads

Three (3) things to keep in mind when adding bulletins to your parish’s app:

  • You can upload bulletins for any day of the week
  • Bulletin file must be PDF format (.pdf)
  • The app will display up to six (6) bulletins (current bulletin plus five past bulletins)

For each bulletin you want to add you will need to assign a Bulletin Date, a Publish Date, and Browse or Choose the bulletin file from your computer.

1) Always start by selecting a Bulletin Date. This is the date of the bulletin (usually Sundays). You can select any past or future date. If a bulletin already exists for the selected date, the “How To” box will notify you that There is a bulletin for this date already and will give you directions for what you can do with the existing file (see below for more details).

2) Next select a Publish Date. This is the date you wish the bulletin to be made available for access in the app. This allows you to upload this coming Sunday’s bulletin ahead of time.

3) Last you will need to click the Browse or Choose File button. This will open another window on your computer allowing you to pick the file you want to upload to the app. (Note: the file will need to be in PDF format for the best mobile viewing experience.) After selecting the file you will need to click the button with the cloud and arrow upload icon in order to complete the upload process.

Changing a Preexisting Bulletin

If you have previously uploaded a bulletin, you can Preview the bulletin before it is published, Update it with a different publish date, or Remove it completely from the app (this may also be used to change the bulletin file that appears for a specific date).

To make any of these changes to a preexisting bulletin, simply select the bulletin date that the bulletin appears on. After selecting the date, the “How To” box will notify you that There is a bulletin for this date already and will give you directions for what you can do with the existing file. Three new buttons will also appear allowing you to make the changes, as seen below.

Bulletin Uploads 2

Always feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Call us at 1-800-997-8805 or email us.