Spotlight Makeover: Refreshing St. Bernard Parish’s Website

Posted on March 31, 2017 by - Catholic Tech Talk

St. BernardsThere are a few things to consider when refreshing your parish website including knowing what your audience needs, wants, and expects, and making sure the look is consistent with your parish communications. After that, all you need to update your parish website is a brighter, more modern design and a little reorganization.

When Christine, the webmaster at St. Bernard Parish in Wauwatosa, WI, asked LPi for help this is exactly what we did to refresh her church website.

Choose a new look

If you are using a website service with templates, choose a template that has the colors you use in your church communications or offers the choice to use those colors. In this case, we chose a template that would show off the beautiful brand identity already created.

Add a headline

The headline on your website is the first thing a visitor will read. We recommend the headline stay between 5 and 7 words. For St. Bernard Parish, we selected the tagline they already use with their logo and on their church communications.

Simplify the home page

Working closely with St. Bernard’s parishioners, Christine had specific content she had identified that was needed and wanted on the home page. The next step was to simplify how it was presented by placing the most important information first and reorganizing the related content together. This is important not only for readability on a full desktop, but also for a mobile-friendly environment because the content will display vertically from left to right.

Reorganize the menu

A menu should have no more than seven items visible when the page loads. One way to think of these menu items is as categories. So, all other Web pages must be moved under these categories. For St. Bernard, we adjusted the menu options to be one word that communicates simple categories for easy assessment, readability, and organization of all the content within the website.St Bernards Image 2

Adjust the layout on other pages

When you change a template, it is important to review all existing pages to make sure they are displaying correctly in the new template. Through the assessment of the St. Bernard website, we identified several pages where we could combine the content into one page. Then we established guidelines for which header style to use on every page. Lastly, we rearranged pages to match the menu bar and included images and videos.

Do You Need a Sign?

Posted on March 31, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent

God billboardWhen I am driving throughout the United States, I enjoy seeing the billboards that dot the highways speaking for God. A couple of my favorites: “Life is short. Eternity is not. – God;” and “Let’s meet at my house this Sunday, before the game. – God.”

God must have a pretty big advertising budget because He has billboards in pretty much every state!

One billboard I saw read, “You asked God for a sign, and here it is!” After a chuckle, I realized that we are always looking for a sign. We say we believe, but sometimes, we act like we just want to be sure.

LazarusIn the Gospels, Jesus performs miracles and healings so that people would believe. The healing of Lazarus was surely a profound moment for all who were there. Jesus was able to show that He has power over even death itself, a foreshadowing to his Resurrection that will occur in the not too distant future.

For all who doubt, be assured that Jesus is the giver of life. He has given living water to the woman at the well, sight to the blind, and now has raised a man from the grave.

As Easter draws ever closer, how many more signs do you need? What else can Jesus do to convince you that His call on your life comes from the source of all life?

As the US Bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship lays this out, we have been challenged, we are asked to choose, and then our lives will be transformed. May all the signs of God around us, even billboards on the side of the road, move us to choose a path of giving of ourselves like Jesus.

Lent Reflection: 4th Friday of Lent

Posted on March 31, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

March 31, 2017
Lent Reflection: 4th Friday of Lent (March 31, 2017) - ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.’(Responsorial Psalm)

Reflection

We all have situations in our lives that have caused heartbreak. Sometimes we respond by being independent—by thinking that we can solve the situation. We are often not inclined to share our saddest moments with those who can support us. This might happen because we think another person would see us as weak. Think of an aspect of life that still causes you heartbreak.


Challenge

  • I will place the situation that causes me heartbreak before the Lord, and ponder how it feels to know that God is close to me in this moment and in this place.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 4th Thursday of Lent

Posted on March 30, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

March 30, 2017
Lent Reflection: 4th Thursday of Lent (March 30, 2017) - ‘Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.’(Responsorial Psalm)

Reflection

One of the things we focus on during Lent is repentance. We repent for the sin we have committed, for the times when we have readily stepped away from God and created disunity. We know that this is not a new problem but rather a part of the human condition—it was there when the prophets were writing.


Challenge

  • Today, I will identify one aspect of my life that is causing disunity between me and God. I ask for the grace to acknowledge this, to feel remorse, to make amends if necessary, and then to make a new start.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 4th Wednesday of Lent

Posted on March 29, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

March 29, 2017
Lent Reflection: 4th Wednesday of Lent (March 29, 2017) - ‘Jesus answered the Jews: ‘My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.’’(John 5:17)

Reflection

Jesus put his trust in the Father and was obedient to his will. How often do we put our trust in God and allow him to work through us? We need to have the grace to accept our call to mirror God in our daily lives.


Challenge

  • I will watch those around me today and try to be conscious of God working through them, even if they are not conscious of that themselves.
  • How can I mirror God today?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Breath of Life

Posted on March 28, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, April 02, 2017, 5th Sunday of Lent

Ezekiel 37:12-14
Romans 8:8-11
John 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45

We are familiar with the story of how God created the first man, Adam. After forming him from clay, he blew into his nostrils the gift of life. This is different from the way God created any of the animals or any of the plants. By giving Adam his very breath, God was sharing his life with him. Breath is life. We are aware that someone is alive if he or she is breathing. To stop breathing—or to be unable to breathe—is to die.

The word “spirit” is closely related to the word for breath. We call breathing “respiration.” To stop breathing or to breathe out is to “expire.” Both of those words are related to the word for “spirit.” In this way we can understand the Holy Spirit to be the breath of God, the life of God. We have that life not only because we have been created by God, but also through the gift of faith. Through baptism and confirmation, in particular, God breathes the Holy Spirit into us. God shares with us his very life. (more…)

Lent Reflection: 4th Tuesday of Lent

Posted on March 28, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

March 28, 2017
Lent Reflection: 4th Tuesday of Lent (March 28, 2017) - ‘Immediately the man became well.’(John 5:9)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel we hear of the cure of the man by the pool at Bethesda. Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be well?” We all have flaws and areas of our lives that lead us into disunity with God. Imagine that God asks you, “Do you want to be well?” Which aspect of your life needs healing today?


Challenge

  • I will try to have the humility to name an area of my life that needs healing.
  • I will ask God for the grace to help me change so that I can become more like Jesus in word and deed.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 4th Monday of Lent

Posted on March 27, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

March 27, 2017
Lent Reflection: 4th Monday of Lent (March 27, 2017) - ‘Your son will live.’(John 4:53)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus cures the son of a court official. Imagine what it would have been like to witness one of Jesus’ miracles. What difference would it have made to your faith in God? Do you think you would have been amazed or do you think you would have been skeptical that there was some other explanation for what had happened? When the official heard that his son had indeed been cured, we are told that everyone in the household believed. We may not see children being cured in this way, but we are surrounded by small miracles every day.


Challenge

  • I will spend a few moments thinking about a miracle of God that I have witnessed recently and give thanks to God for this.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 4th Sunday of Lent

Posted on March 26, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

March 26, 2017
Lent Reflection: 4th Sunday of Lent (March 26, 2017) - ‘The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.’(Responsorial Psalm)

Reflection

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most famous of all the psalms. The image of a shepherd is an interesting one: we know that shepherds tend and look after their flocks and care for them despite the weather. This is also a favorite hymn for funerals. Imagine you are planning your funeral; do you truly believe these words? That with God to shepherd you, you have no need to worry?


Challenge

  • At the end of today, I will make a list of all the things that are troubling me. I will sit quietly and try to offer the list to God for safekeeping while I sleep. How does it feel to place my burdens in God’s hands?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord – 3rd Saturday of Lent

Posted on March 25, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

March 25, 2017 Lent Reflection: The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord - 3rd Saturday of Lent (March 25, 2017) - ‘Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’’(Luke 1:38)

Reflection

We live in a society in which humility is considered to be a weakness. We are encouraged to be proud of our abilities and push ourselves forward for recognition, even at the expense of others. Instead we should look out for others, especially the weaker members of our community, and encourage them to use their gifts.  

Challenge

  • Today I will look for an opportunity to affirm someone else and allow them to step forward as I step back to let this happen.
Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.