December 10, 2014
Evangelizing on the Internet
Diocese launches new website to continue improving its use of technology as a tool for spreading the Good News
By MICHAEL WOJCIK
CLIFTON — Bishop Serratelli is inviting the faithful everywhere to visit the diocese’s new website — launched Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception — that gives the Church of Paterson’s presence online a significant new way to more effectively evangelize.
In a video on its home page, Bishop Serratelli welcomes visitors to the site (www.rcdop.org), encourages them to explore it, to come back often and let the diocese know what they think about it. “I am very pleased with the results. I know you will be too,” says Bishop Serratelli, who convened a committee early this year to undertake the development and production of a new website. In the video, the bishop tells visitors, “See how extensive the work of the Paterson Diocese truly is. I know you will come to realize the dynamism that is Roman Catholicism in our counties of Morris, Passaic and Sussex.”
The website takes advantage of technology that makes it easier to navigate and for the diocese to maintain and update daily. These capabilities, in part, “bring communications in the diocese into the 21st century,” said Dennis Rodano, diocesan projects manager and a member of the Communications Department committee.
The site also takes advantage of the newest technology that optimizes it for mobile devices, such as Smartphones and tablets. The pages are automatically compressed so they can fit on the screen of the device’s web browser. The Texas-based web developer eCatholic also used by the Archdioceses of New York and Boston provided the platform for the site, while the committee oversaw the posting and editing of the vast volumes of content from the Diocesan Pastoral Center.
Other committee members were: Richard Sokerka, communications director, editor/general manager of The Beacon and committee chairman; Edward Card, former technology director of the Schools Office; Thomas Barrett, diocesan coordinator for special projects; Father Edward Lambro, director of public relations and development for Catholic Charities; and Sister Catherine McDonnell, vice chancellor for planning and urban ministry.
“The committee worked diligently and collaboratively for many months to bring this launch date to fruition,” said Sokerka, “and we are very pleased with the result.” But the launch is only a starting point, he said. “Our long-term communications plan for the diocesan site includes improving content regularly, becoming involved in social media and partnering with eCatholic to build a new website for The Beacon.”
“This site makes the diocese — a complex organization — more understandable to the faithful. It also shows that “The Diocese” includes everyone in the Church of Paterson,” said Barrett, who acknowledged and thanked Joseph Cece, who created the diocese’s previous site from its inception for many years. “Joe Cece provided a great service to the Diocese with the initial build of the original website; he continues to host sites for us and he helps us with the content transition to the new site.
“We hope the new site is a vehicle to connect the faithful to the ministries of the local Church,” he said.
Just a few of what visitors to the site can view are a diocesan calendar; news from The Beacon, as well as live feeds from the Vatican and Catholic web services for up-to-date worldwide Church news; updates on the renovation of St. John’s Cathedral; a directory of priests, deacons and departments and offices; charitable works in diocese and a blog on consecrated life. Visitors can easily search the site by topic, such as finding a list of parishes in the diocese that celebrate a 7 p.m. Mass on Sundays, Father Lambro said.
The site provides links to other diocesan agencies that host their own sites, including St. Paul Inside the Walls, which now uses the eCatholic platform; Catholic Family and Community Services; Straight and Narrow; the Department for Persons with Disabilities; and the Schools Office, Barrett said, adding the diocese hopes to expand the site to include a directory for and religious. Helping the diocese create the site with her programming skills is web developer and computer professional Mary Lennon of Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Sparta, who was graduated from both Rev. Brown School and Pope John XXIII Regional High School, both in Sparta.
“This new site not only gives the diocese a fresh look online, but it also gives us a way to evangelize — to spread the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel,” Sister Catherine said.
Father Lambro called the new site “”light and bright” and said that it “reflects a Catholic sense of joy, welcoming and community.” He noted that the site even features a section where people can report good things that are happening in the local Church.
“There is so much good news about what the Church is doing. Sometimes it is hard to get the good news out to people so they can be aware of what the Church, and in our case, the Paterson Diocese, is doing. This is similar to what Pope Francis has been trying to achieve — helping people to know that in the midst of real problems, there is so much good being accomplished by the Catholic Church. The Beacon tells our story every week, but it is not enough,” said Msgr. James Mahoney, vicar general, moderator of the Curia and pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, Chatham Township. “The new website is another important way of telling the Good News. It will give those who visit the site a rather good understanding of the scope of the work of the diocese and necessary information about all phases of diocesan life. This site is a work in progress that, while diocesan in scope, will also give people an easy way to connect with their parish’s communication efforts as well. We will keep adding to it, changing it, and helping everyone to see the vitality of the Church of Paterson. It is a story worth telling,” he said.