Communication with Clarity, Expression with Beauty: Our New Parish Website

An important part of maintaining a spiritually fruitful parish is communication—both to regular parishioners and to those who have not yet joined us, but who want to, or who might. In our society we have for quite some time been habituated to electronic communications and to the world of virtual experience on the internet. Like any tool, the technology of the internet can be used for good or for ill. In the effort to do our proper diligence in using the internet and electronic communications for the good, Holy Cross is committed to representing itself online in the most helpful and visually beautiful way that we can. Thus for the past five months we have worked to make use of the latest in digital and web-design technology, and to employ the best design-expertise we could find, in the hopes that an updated and refreshed virtual presence will augment the experience of all present and future Holy Cross parishioners and visitors.

We are pleased to debut the new website, which has already been “live” for the past week. The site resides at the same address as before: ourholycross.org. Here are the main goals and principle features of the new site:

  • Give the user the most in-demand information quickly. Sunday Mass times as well as the most important upcoming events or special messages are featured on the first page. There are quick-links to daily Mass times and Confession times as well, posted in an obvious way.

  • Information on Sacraments and registration. The Sacraments page offers simple and direct information to the user, with the inclusion of online electronic registration forms for Baptism, Marriage, Confirmation, Children’s Faith Formation/Sacrament Prep, and RCIA, forms which can be submitted with the click of a mouse and thus streamline the registration process to better serve everyone.

  • Join the parish with a simple mouse-click on the first page. Well, not exactly. But a simple inquiry form (electronically submitted) which starts the process of joining Holy Cross is included on the homepage.

  • Receive our weekly bulletin electronically. By subscribing to our eBulletin service, or by simply downloading the bulletin on your computer or phone.

  • Mainpage interfacing with FORMED.ORG. This marvelous website, which I’ve taken to calling “Netflix for Catholics”, makes a wide array of catechetical and devotional material (videos and movies, podcasts, audio and ebooks) available to all parishioners for free, simply by accessing the FORMED.ORG site via the Holy Cross weblink.

  • Parish Involvement Portal. Easily discover the various faith formation and service opportunities at Holy Cross, and access our parish calendar to sync your life to the events that are important to you. Also via this portal one can manifest private or public (weekly bulletin) prayer intentions and submit Mass Intentions, register for Eucharistic Adoration hours in our Adoration Chapel, and request a parish Prayer Shawl.

  • Affiliates portal. Introduction to and links to John Paul II Catholic School, our Holy Cross Polish Community, Bethany House, and the formation and community outreach initiative Northeast Catholic Collective.

  • Online Giving. Carried forward from our previous website is a link via special button to our weshareonline.org page, for electronic donations to Holy Cross.

  • Article and Special Message Archive. Via our Blog portal, past bulletin articles and special messages and announcements, insofar as they remain relevant after-the-fact, will remain available.

  • Photo Gallery. Get acquainted with fellow parishioners by seeing them (and yourselves!) in the concrete activities of parish life—at liturgies, social gatherings, or any number of moments in the life of Holy Cross and all her campuses. The Photo Gallery will be constantly maintained and updated so that the life of our parish family is documented in a lovely and current virtual memoire.

  • Beauty of Presentation and Virtual Environment. Our new site is beautiful, simple, and elegant, combining easy-to-read black, grey, and white text in fonts both bold and soothing with full-color photographs and artwork that illustrate the message of the gospel and communicate the heart of the parish. The aesthetic is both contemporary and classic, and possesses a unity of design and approach throughout.

  • Format allows for easy maintenance and expansion. The new Squarespace format is state-of-the-art and yet technically simple enough to allow for continuous maintenance, augmentation, and even redesign—a virtual platform that will provide online stability for years and years to come.

A special word of thanks is in order to those integral to the website development:

Principle Designer: Mary Shaffer (as devout a Catholic as she is an accomplished artist!) Additional Coding:  Barbara McIntyre (our very own parishioner!) Design Consultant Team: Holy Cross parishioners Paul Nguyen, Julia Weir, Monica Buettel, Kuba and Aly Kraszkiewicz, Kathleen Gorzycki; staff members Caroline Lyngdal and Madeline McNeil; and our good friend and designer, Isaac Huss.

Fr. Hagan