June 1, 2012 – Five Years and Counting

As I have mentioned before, being a single guy means that I really don’t get to mark many anniversaries.  I of course mark dates such as birthdays, dates when the Cardinals won a World Series, etc.  This weekend I mark another little anniversary.  This Sunday, June 3 will mark 5 years since our website, www.maryhoc.org, went online for the whole world to see.  Granted, this is no earth shattering anniversary, but it sticks in my mind because of the doubt that lurked in my mind as I was working to get the website together.

Actually, I had thought before this time that it would be nice if our church had a simple little website just to post some basic information on.  Our school already had a website, but there was no place to post parish related things such as a copy of the bulletin, a monthly calendar, the lector/extraordinary minister schedule, and maybe a few other things.  However, even though I love to play with computers and all other genres of electronic gadgets, I had never explored what it would take to get a website up and running, so I laid low on this task.  Then, the magical moment happened.  Like the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, like the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles as tongues of fire; OK, it wasn’t anything that dramatic, but it’s my story.  The magical moment was when Fr. Gene asked me “So what do you know about websites?”.  And with that, my mission had started.

As I began working on this project, there were two things I had to find out.  One was how to actually start a website.  This involved a lot of Google searches and comparing plans until I found one that was relatively inexpensive and also easy to use.  I went with a plan from Yahoo which is still what I use today.  Now with this step complete, the second and more complicated task was ahead, which was deciding what to actually include on the website and how to get it all on there.  So I did the creative thing – I went to other church websites and stole, er, borrowed what they were doing.  As I began working to set things up, I tried to keep in mind simple, simple, simple.  Put up the basic information and roll with it.  Of course, even the simple tasks on the computer can sometimes go awry, and naturally there were some bugs to work out as I got things ready to go.  After about two weeks, I reached the point where I felt enough progress was made to go ahead and give the commands to turn our website loose onto the world, and cyberspace has never been the same.

OK, so now we had our little website with some basic information to share.  Mission accomplished, right?  Well, not exactly.  When people have trouble going to sleep at night, you are told that you are supposed to count sheep.  Well, I would start to think of more things that our website should include.  Actually, thinking back, perhaps this was why I had trouble sleeping in the first place.  So I began to add pages for the different organizations such as the K of C, Council of Catholic Women, Parish Council, etc.  OK, looking good.  Got what we need.  Well…., it seems like people enjoy looking at pictures on different websites, so maybe we’ll add a few pictures.  I’ll take my camera when we have a special event, and other people can submit photos.  OK, now we got our information, organizations, photos – we are good to go.  Well…..

At the end of 2007, evidently still fuzzy from the holiday celebrations, I though that these things called blogs were becoming very popular.  Blogs, short for “weblogs”, are basically journals or diaries that are done online.  So I thought, not having nearly enough to do, I would take a crack at this blogging thing.  I didn’t know how often I would do it – once a month, twice a month maybe, and it would probably just be a novelty thing that would die out in a few months anyway.  Well, here we are in 2012, and 188 blogs later, I’m still waiting for the novelty to wear off, as I’m sure many of the readers are also.  All right, now we’ve got everything we need for a pretty nice little website.  Well …..

As you know, social media has exploded since 2007, particularly Facebook.  I began noticing that parishes were starting their own Facebook pages.  So in 2010, I began St. Mary’s own Facebook page.  Again, when I started it, my thought was that this just may be a novelty thing, so I didn’t have high expectations for it.  Now here we are in 2012, with 56 % of the U.S. adult population now on Facebook, and our page with 60 members and more items being added all the time.  So here we are, on June 1, 2012, and our website includes everything we need.  Well …..

In all honesty, I’m not sure what new features we’ll be putting on our website in the future.  Also, in all honesty, I didn’t think 5 years ago at this time that our website would still exist, let alone include all of the features that it now does.  I did not write about this in order to give myself a pat on the back, but to give you a little perspective on how things evolved to where we are now.  I also did it as a means to acknowledge the many people who have helped make our website what it has become.  To those who have contributed photos and information for the website, to those who have offered suggestions, to those who have offered their compliments, and of course to the many who use the website, thank you very, very much.  It has been a labor of love, and I look forward to seeing what evolves in the next 5 years.  The internet has become an ever increasing means of communication, and it is important not just for us, but for the church as a whole to continue to take advantage of what it has to offer.

Have a great week.  Pray that the Cardinals break out of their funk.  Peace.

 

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2 Responses to “June 1, 2012 – Five Years and Counting”

  1. Fr. Gene Says:

    Congratulations! GREAT JOB! What a blessing for St. Mary’s! Thank you for all the hard work and the wonderful Parish, Religious and Spiritual information you have assembled and posted for our Parish. God Bless you and cyber blessings on all your work on our website! The Holy Spirit is ethereal and elusive. He travels today on the wireless winds and fire of today’s technology. Perhaps, if the apostles were sent forth from the upper room on Pentecost they would all be bloggers!
    Pax,
    Fr. Gene

  2. michael bievenue Says:

    Brian–Thank you–thank you for all your hard work on this site. I can’t tell you how many times we have gone to the website for info on something or another…it’s always there for us! And don’t quit blogging….the whole parish loves it!!
    thanks again
    Mike and Anita Bievenue

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