All posts by Andrea Perry

Praying for 2021

After many of us have struggled through the difficulties and uncertainties of 2020, I believe that we are all ready to move forward with a fresh outlook and even resolutions that we’ve been reluctant to make in the past. In our church community, it’s important to channel messaging and resolutions based on what parishioners have available to them – the bulletin, email, myParish App, Evangelus, social media, or all of these. Resolutions and effective communication can work hand in hand.

If one of your resolutions would be to improve the timeliness and quality of the information to your parishioners, then how is the current communication process in your parish? In your role as the App administrator, try sharing meaningful messages with your parishioners that keep them engaged, strengthen their faith, give newfound ways to use the app, and share it with others. Keep resolutions concise and attainable. Here are a few you might want to share:

myParish app New Year’s Resolutions

  1.  Relaunch the app
    1. Use the bulletin cover and promo materials to reintroduce the app to the parish
    2. Announce the app from the pulpit
    3. Have a team of volunteers ready to help people install the app
    4. Make sure the download link is readily available on your website
  2.  Commit to sending at least two or three messages per week through the app
    1. Send informational messages
    2. Send inspirational messages
  3. Contact the myParish app customer support team and do an app refresh
    1. An app expert will look over your app and make suggestions on how to improve
    2. Now is the time to change your background if you have had any remodels or .revamps to your church
  4. Make sure you are using your custom download link
    1. Website
    2. Signature line of emails
    3. Facebook
    4. Personal invitations to download the app via email or text
    5. Create a custom QR code:  https://www.qr-code-generator.com/
    6. Evangelus? 
  5. New and custom buttons
    1. YouTube
    2. Facebook Mass Videos
    3. RSS feeds
  6. Review and add or subtract administrators
  7. Purchase a new myParish app banner and stand
  8. Update your staff directory, confession times, and Mass times as needed
  9. Explore the Admin Resource Center:  https://myparishapp.com/apptools/
  10. Explore the Diocesan Classroom for interesting webinars:  http://diocesan.com/classroom

Happy New Year from all of us at Diocesan. God Bless.

Preparing for Advent

As we looked forward to 2020, I believe many of us were filled with hope and enthusiasm. Early into the year, we learned that we needed to adjust our lives due to Covid-19. As difficult as that has been, can you imagine how much more difficult it would have been if we had not started with hope?

With the beginning of Advent just days away, the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love are once again on our minds as we prepare for Christmas. In your role as the App administrator, you have an opportunity to foster these gifts in the lives of your parishioners. Try sending meaningful messages that will keep them engaged, strengthen their faith, give newfound ways to use the app, and share it with others. Starting November 29, 2020, the first Sunday of Advent, there will be Advent Reflections that can be accessed by tapping the ‘Advent’ button in the app.  

Additionally, here are a few Advent ideas you might want to share with your parishioners:

  • Encourage small group daily devotion. Because of the health risks we are faced with.Try using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or a simple phone call. Share a couple of readings and prayer found on the App with a friend, family member or group. Remember, “Inspiration Daily” can be delivered right to your email box. Click here to subscribe.
  • Listen to beautiful Advent music. “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” is a favorite. Enjoy this beautiful version from The Piano Guys. https://youtu.be/iO7ySn-Swwc
  • Light an Advent wreath. Advent wreath traditions can be simple, lovely ways to strengthen your faith at home. https://www.stjeromeonline.org/prayers-for-the-home-advent-wreath.html
  • With or without small children, reading classic Christmas stories each evening can be very peaceful. “24 Christmas Stories” is a popular one. https://www.catholiccompany.com/twenty-four-christmas-stories-welcome-jesus-i112911/
  • Give to your church, your neighbors, your community. Again, keeping cautious with health regulations, leaving a simple gift on a friend’s porch can mean so much.
  • Consider the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Advent is about preparation. Prepare your heart and spirit for Christmas.

Keep hope in your heart. Be at peace. Experience joy in new, simple ways. And, as 2020 has shown us, it’s love that bonds us together. Don’t take it lightly during these challenging days, and encourage your parishioners. God’s greatest gift to us is LOVE. 

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10

Preparing for Lent and Communicating the Message

In the time before Lent, many of us start thinking about what we and our family members are going to “give up for Lent” Many bad habits are put on hold during that six week period, while other habits are given up completely. As the years have passed and I don’t have small children to guide through the process, I find myself looking for a balance. Not only do I focus on something I can give up, but something I can change about myself to help me be more in touch with the beauty of the Lenten and Easter Season. 

Lent is a special time of grace in the Church and as parish communicators, we can support and foster our visitors in their desire to grow in holiness through inspiring and welcoming images, thoughtful reflections and links to meaningful content. Preplan your Lenten online communications. Ash Wednesday is February 26th.  

As others approach you to share their sacrifice, below are a few that you might offer:

  1. Take the time to set up online giving, it is easy to do and will help you give consistently throughout the year.
  2. Set a prayer reminder and pray every day. Need more accountability? Set one with a group of friends.
  3. Start a daily Lenten reflection through the Inspire Daily button.
  4. Be more accepting of other peoples’ habits that seem to push you over the edge. Close your eyes, smile and think about why that person or action annoys you. When you take a moment to think about it, you might feel better about yourself which will in turn help you to be more accepting of others.
  5. Start weekly and offer acts of kindness to your friends; surprise a friend with a meal, stop by with a little inexpensive gift for them, offer to run an errand for someone or pick up something from the grocery store for them. Even as simple as a happy text. Seeing the gratitude from others will encourage you to continue this lifestyle habit.

myParish App has a wealth of resources to help your community make this Lent meaningful.

Make the Lenten Season a time for YOUR change.

Communication Builds Trust

Churches do not need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to communicating with their parishioners or guests.

Think about building relationships in your personal life and what makes them successful. How did you earn trust, build rapport, and make people feel important? Thriving churches communicate using the same key themes needed to build lasting relationships in our personal lives. If you’re eager to improve as a parish communicator in 2020, it helps to have a plan—or at least a few goals to shoot for.  As an App Administrator, you have the unique ability to reach a wide range of your community at one time.  Here are four relevant resolutions for communication pros to commit to and keep:

  1. Asking Questions – People tend to tune out if they are always asked for things or told to do something. Conversations are enhanced by asking good questions and truly listening.
  2. Keeping it Short – Give people options to learn more and ways to find additional information so they can digest it in their own time. Try not to overwhelm people with too much at one time.
  3. From the Heart – All communications from your church, whether written or spoken, need to feel like a one-on-one conversation with the other person.
  4. Say ‘Thank You’ – Showing gratitude, even for the little things, goes a long way toward building trust and cultivating an atmosphere of appreciation.

These tips may not only help you in your parish communications but assist you in living  Catholic Life every day!

Resolutions 2020

Resolutions. To many, a dreaded word in December. But after listening to the homily on Sunday morning, the First Sunday of Advent, I’m finding it easier to list my New Year resolutions. Communication. I have always considered myself a communicator. I was a marketing communications major in college and it was the goal of our cohort to communicate continuously. Through careers and years, I have learned that while communication is important, choosing the right medium and message is key. In our church community it’s important to channel the messaging based on what parishioners have available to them – the bulletin, email, myParish App, and social media.  Why resolutions and communications in the same message, you asked? Maybe one of your resolutions would be to improve the timeliness and quality of the information to your parishioners. How is the current communication process in your parish? Everyone knows what’s going on? No one does? Most probably fall somewhere in between. 

In your role as the App administrator, try sharing meaningful messages with your parishioners that will keep them engaged, strengthen their faith, give newfound ways to use the app, and share it with others. Keep resolutions concise and attainable. Here are a few you might want to share:

Read Scripture – Too few Christians have actually followed through with and read the Bible. What kind of reading plan is best? Of course, the one you’re going to finish is. Get friends together and commit to a plan. Daily readings are available on myParish App or at usccb.org.

Spend a Holy Hour in Adoration – Quotes of our Popes and Saints concerning Holy Hours show we can see how much importance they placed on adoration for a healthy spiritual life. These writings tell us that our Holy Hour is more powerful than anything in this world outside of Mass. Check out Our Catholic Prayer website to learn more about the value of a holy hour.

Journey with a Saint – Use this fun Saint generator to learn about a new Saint and include them in your journey of faith throughout the year. http://saintsnamegenerator.com/

Increase Your Bulletin Readership – Try making it a routine to read your bulletin each week. Be informed.  

Merry Christmas Blessings to you and may you close the year in peace and look forward to 2020 with joy.

The New Season is Almost Here

The next several weeks are jammed packed with special activities in our church and family lives.

The myParish App has a built in EVENTS calendar that can help your parishioners (and visitors to your church community) stay up to date during this busy time of the year. There are two separate components to the calendar feature.

Google calendars are easily attached (using the public ical link found in your google settings) at the bottom of the page in the events tab, on the myParish App administration main page. Need help getting your google calendar to sync with the App? Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-997-8805. We are here 9am – 5pm EST to assist you.

You can draw special attention to specific events at your church by going to your admin page and using the “add event” feature. Just click on the “Add Event” box on the upper left hand side of the EVENTS tab (on the myParish App admin home page). Fill in the applicable information and click ‘save’ at the bottom of the page when you are done. It’s that easy.

All these aspects of Catholic life and more can be found in your myParish app. May it lead you to an experience of our faith, just a fingertip away. Catholic life every day.

Work Smarter Not Harder!

Your App must be integrated in all aspects of your parish communications. Why?

The Rule of 7. The marketing rule of seven states that a person must see a message 7 times before they will take action. The myParish App was built for Catholic parishes, designed for YOUR parish to engage your parishioners in their Catholic life everyday!

Follow these simple guidelines to get great results!

On your Website:  Section off part of your site exclusively for the App, or, have pop-up page display whenever someone visits your site.

In your emails: Any email that is sent out, whether it be from the parish office, your newsletter or even a payment confirmation email, should include a footer with one line advertising your App. Include details such as what can be accomplished through the App and a link redirecting towards the download page. Emails not including App information is a missed opportunity.

Twitter or Facebook presence: Promote your App here as well. A simple banner with the name of your app and where to find it is all you need.

Want to encourage ongoing App downloads? Place promo cards in the vestibule or parish office, verbal pulpit announcements, or a bulletin article informing the parish that you have a mobile App. This may be new information or a reminder that the App is available to keep them connected with parish and catholic life everyday.

Rejuvenate Your Workspace With Prayer

The busy days of fall are here. We need to take the time to make sure our offices are a sacred space. By doing so we can intentionally bless all those whose names and lives we touch (literally) through our workspace and fingertips: at the door, at our computer, over the phone, or through our writing.  It’s time to rededicate our work space to be an extension of prayer for each and every one with whom we come in contact, in every moment of every day.   

There are several great prayers available in the myParish app for those times you feel moved to offer a specific prayer for one of your parishioners or co-workers. The prayers also come in handy when praying in a large group, each person has access to the same wording and all can actively participate.

There is a nice little prayer service from Catholic News Agency with blessings for an office, shop or factory.

All these aspects of Catholic life and more can be found in your myParish app.
May it lead you to an experience of our faith, just a fingertip away. Catholic life every day.

Time for an App Refresh? 

You’ve been using myParish app for a while now–and you’re accustomed to sending messages, setting up groups, and encouraging your parish to use the app. But, how well is your parish using the myParish app? 

The summer is a great time to set up an App Refresh. You can go to the myParish App Admin Resource Center (here’s the link: https://myparishapp.com/apptools/) and find a wealth of information from short, how-to videos to frequently asked questions for both app administrators and parishioners that can spark new ideas. 

Another option is to contact our team of App Experts for an App Refresh. They will review your app and give you constructive ideas to help enliven the use of the myParish app at your church. 

You can send an email to sign up for an AppRefresh or request other assistance at support.myparishapp.com.

Or hey, give us a call. Sometimes dialoguing with us will lead you to think of things you might not have considered before, or clarify an issue you weren’t quite sure of.  By calling 1-800-997-8805, you can speak directly with our Customer Care team (9am-5pm EDT). We are always happy to chat and to assist you with bringing an experience of Catholic life every day to your parishioners with myParish App. And remember, behind every phone is a person.

 

Relax, Refresh, and Renew

June typically signals a time to slow down for the summer (unless you are involved in youth ministry and vacation bible school). It’s a time to relax, refresh and renew both personally and spiritually.

While you’re out at the beach, a lake, in the park or waiting for an appointment, your myParish app gives you quick access to many aspects of your Catholic life every day.

One touch takes you to the USCCB readings of the day. Another and you will find 49 prayers in the Prayer button. Catching up on the news is a snap by touching the News button. There are interesting articles from the Catholic News Agency. Looking for someone to share a rosary? Push the Rosary button and hear the soothing voice of Fr. John Riccardo.

Have a moment for a quick read? Click the Inspire Daily light bulb and find daily blogs from Catholic writers based on the day’s readings.

Trying to find a church while traveling this summer? Tap the 3 lines in the upper left hand corner while on the myParish app. Then type in the zip code of your destination where it says Find a Parish. In seconds you will see the closest 10 parishes to that location using the app. Don’t know the zip code? Touch the Discover Mass button and enter a city name and state.

All these aspects of Catholic life and more can be found in your myParish app.

May it allow you an experience of our faith, just a fingertip away. Catholic life every day.