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Diocesan website hosting survey on the family

Posted By February 6, 2015 | 11:31 am | Featured Article #1
family-website

For the month of February the Diocese of Worcester’s  website will  host an online survey on the family. The diocese has  posted the online survey to gather input in preparation for the fall Synod of Bishops on the Family. The survey is based on the “relatio” or summary document which was issued following the extraordinary synod held last fall in Rome. Each American diocese is being asked to respond to a series of questions for subsequent compilation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to Raymond L. Delisle, chancellor and director of communications. Bishop McManus wanted anyone in the diocese who was interested in reading the relatio and responding to the questions to have access to it, including clergy, those living the consecrated life and lay faithful.
As the instructions on the survey note, respondents only need to focus on those questions which are pertinent to their own experiences.
“As one reads through each section and reflects on the questions, it can be an excellent way to have insight into the discussions the bishops had about our understanding of marriage and family in relation to the mission of the Catholic Church,” noted Mr. Delisle.
The survey is  posted on the Bishop’s Office page under the Departments section, he said. All responses must be completed by Feb. 28.

The diocese ‘s new website, hosted by eCatholic of Texas, is easier to use and maintain and takes advantage of the many resources eCatholic provides for Catholic dioceses and parishes around the country, according to Mr. Delisle. Mr Delisle said the move to the new platform for the website has been under way for a few months.

It has the same address –www.worcesterdiocese.org – as the old site.
“We’re pleased with how smoothly the process went to design and migrate the significant content that was present on our former site,” Mr. Delisle said. “Departments have been working on updating their many pages and files so that we could be more responsive to parishes as well as individuals who are seeking a variety of information about the Catholic Church in Central Massachusetts.
“Thanks to eCatholic, we were able to use off-the-shelf, proven technology to respond to the way people surf for info on computers, smartphones and tablets. If users can’t find information quickly and on a variety of media, they quickly give up and that would not serve our mission as a diocese to be inviting people to know more about the faith,” he said.
Typically, he said, the site gets 3,500 to 4,000 unique visitors each week. Some visitors look for Mass times, church locations and  information about the faith. Parish personnel also go to the diocesan website for parish bulletin inserts, forms and policies. They also share information with other parishes about events.
Along with being mobile friendly, the new site offers features which make it easier to locate churches and schools, get directions using Google maps, and link directly to a parish’s website for Mass times and other information, all with one click from a map.
Flexible event modules let users view timely events in the way they want to view them and videos can stream directly on the site, he said.
The new site incorporates hundreds of pages and resource files from many diocesan departments and agencies.
A new section under the Office of Fiscal Affairs shares the annual financial reports from all 100 parishes in the diocese. This fulfills a promise made  by Bishop McManus last year in a letter to parishes about financial reporting.
Blogs will be expanded by various departments and new features will be available during the Lenten and Advent seasons from well-respected resources such as Father Robert Barron, producer of Word on Fire, Mr. Delisle said.
“Our principal goal is always to support parishes in their efforts to evangelize on the local level, but not everyone is ready to be active in a parish, so we need to provide support for those individuals who are searching,” Mr. Delisle said.
“The seasonal spirituality sections, Daily Mass, and online learning are just some ways we are serving Catholics directly via the web. Hopefully this will also inspire parishes who have been seeking an easier way to connect to people via the Internet to see how easy it is to utilize a resource like eCatholic,” he said.