Where do we send our parishioners regarding questions about the Faith? Certainly the pastor, deacons and associates are all good sources, but they are not always available. Does your parish have a decent library?
It is more likely that parishioners will search the web for their answers. Why not have them find the answers on the parish website? Should we not take responsibility for providing basic information about what we believe and why? As we become more accustomed to finding information on the internet, we also must step up the level of information we provide.
First we must raise the level of priority of the web site as part of our parish communications. As part of our planning we must consider who our website is reaching. Usually we think of the site for visitors, so we include schedules and bulletins. But we also can make the website a source for our parishioners, by including great information about what we believe, and also daily meditations and news articles that help inform us. We won't attract people to the site regularly unless we have interesting and useful information available there.
Research from Villanova University, and the Archdiocese of Boston indicates that parishioners are looking for more than a glorified bulletin when we look for information about parishes. And others are looking for a home that welcomes them. Our Sunday Visitor is helping to meet this need with Catholic content built into websites.
For a couple good examples of parish websites, visit: http://www.stannecsg.com/ and http://www.sacredheartquincy.org/.