Websites can be your best friend and your worst enemy.
For too long, websites have been the worst enemy of parishes and dioceses everywhere. Oftentimes, they’re more time consuming, frustrating, challenging and attention-demanding than getting my three-month-old son to sleep for more than three and a half hours at a time.
Fortunately, the dominoes are falling. Little by little, the Church is improving its online presence. And the Bismarck Diocese strives to be a part of the revolution.
If you haven’t checked out bismarckdiocese.com lately, please do! Last August, the diocese launched a much-needed website redesign. Now after months of research, refinements and lessons learned, the diocese has taken another step to field an even better website that is attractive, useful and user-friendly.
A feature I hope you find most useful on the new website is the parish finder. Each of the 98 parishes now has a profile that includes Mass, confession and eucharistic adoration times, photos of pastors and church addresses and contacts—all in a searchable database. Next time you’re on the road, just enter a city and preferred Mass time and see the hundreds of options for celebrating the Eucharist in western N.D.
There’s more: we now have an onlinedirectory of priests and diocesan staff members, feeds of news and events that you can subscribe to via RSS, postings of church-related job opportunities across North Dakota, not to mention the weekly Dash Report and DCA Online videos. Our hope is that bismarckdiocese.com becomes one of your regular stops as you take your daily dive into cyberspace. Why? The goal is to help people become engaged in their faith, making it an every-day-of-the-week subject of interest rather than a one-day-a-week obligation.
Terrific at Twitter
Since being convinced to open an account on Twitter (after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI took the plunge into the Twitter-sphere this past December), our Bishop Kagan (aka
) has faithfully tweeted every day, averaging over four new followers each day. Rest assured that this was not an easy or natural step for our bishop, yet he gave it a shot and will now admit he kinda-sorta enjoys it…
Add this to a diocesan Facebook page (
) that is approaching 1,000 likes since being launched less than a year ago. The diocese (and the universal Church) is reaching out like never before, hoping to make the Church seem less distant and vague and more personal, available and concrete. Are you responding?