Sandy Hook NJ
And The Winner Is

The 1000th Post on Diary of a Parish Priest

Well, I guess that is a milestone of sorts. The blog has proven more useful than I thought when I first started it years ago as cyberspace becomes a more important way to communicate - "the information superhighway" (groan). 

There have been a little over 114,000 page views of the blog in that time. Many of the views are surprisingly enough, from Google's image search - people looking for clip art, images I've tagged on the saints or architecture, Respect Life issues, etc.  It's difficult to know how helpful the blog has actually been in communicating parish news to parishioners. Some people still rely on the printed bulletin, a relatively slow moving method. Others primarily check the school website for information they need. In general, I've made it more difficult to leave comments, since the internet is generally not a place people feel compelled to be civil or polite.

In recent months, the blog has been helpful to me in disseminating news about the church construction project. Not only is the information helpful when it's actually read, but having it on the blog contributes to the project's transparency and is at least a rhetorical defense against "I didn't know" or "you didn't tell us."

Not many adults are using Twitter, I'm told, so that I shouldn't expect much of a following on Twitter anytime soon (@PastorHolyCross). I felt like a real rookie when I tried to figure out how to open the account! It seemed a good place to put brief project updates, we'll see.

I found Facebook too intrusive, so I've deactivated my account there, and though I receive many requests from Linkedin to connect, it seems more a business contact model not too useful for a parish. 

The Trenton diocese, like many others, is evaluating the effectiveness of its media communication, particularly the printed newspapers which were established by many dioceses decades ago before the arrival of the Internet, can you imagine? Many of the "The Monitors" we receive are not even taken from the church. Even so, much of the content is available online. Bishop O'Connell has informed us that in the coming months, the editors and circulation manager of The Monitor will be meeting with pastors to explore ways to increase readership of the Diocesan paper. Some of you may know that the Archdiocese of Newark has discontinued publication of its printed newspaper. 

Habits are hard to change, especially when it comes to our most preferred way of gathering information. I remember the resistance to changing the "Wednesday envelope" from printed material to an electronic format. The resources of paper, copy machine time and personnel to collate and stuff all those envelopes seem staggering now that they are saved.

We'll keep experimenting and certainly, for now, keep blogging. The New Evangelization certainly calls for novel and effective ways of communicating the Good News of the Gospel and the practical, everyday work of the parish communities striving to spread it.