CHICAGO, IL [DOM] – The Diocese of the Midwest is launching a new centralized communication platform for the diocese bringing the information and resources conveniently to the phones of the clergy and faithful. The app and website combo, called, “Our Diocese™” was created by one of the priests of the diocese to better facilitate community in the diocese and within each community.
At the December meeting, the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the Midwest, under the chairmanship of His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Chicago and the Midwest, a new tool was approved for development and distribution. “I am very pleased with the development of this diocesan app. The Diocese of the Midwest is a large territory which can at times feel isolating. This app will be a way to keep the clergy and faithful closer together, and update them to the happenings of the Diocese,” said His Eminence. “It’s also another way in which the diocese can serve and assist it’s communities providing valuable and current technology.”
In addition to being a resource of diocesan news, the app also features private “groups” for departments and ministries throughout the diocese. Each parish will also have its own private and closed group in which they can facilitate community life. “Each parish is essentially getting its own app,” reported Priest Alexander Koranda, Director of Communications for the diocese. “This is an exciting step and investment that the diocese is making providing an important resource for each community. Regardless of the size of the community, each parish will now be provided with a private group allowing clergy to communicate with their parish in a way that is more common for people today.”
The app features a number of tools including posts, pictures, and instant messages for interactions to take place. Each group is private to each community, and one must be invited to or request to join their private parish group to participate. Priest Joel Wilson, owner of Rolla Creative, the creator and developer of the website and app, shared a number of ways in which this app is of great use:
“The purpose of Our Diocese™ is meant to facilitate parish growth and in-person interaction. In addition to posts and messages on a parish group level, Our Diocese™ enables interaction between parishioners and clergy all over the diocese, regardless of whether they prefer to use the website or a mobile app. Campers can join and connect with their friends between summers. Clergy can reach out to other clergy with questions and support. Faithful can find others with similar interests and not have to reinvent the wheel at their own parish when starting a new ministry.
“Our Diocese™ also offers nuance in communication which is becoming more and more important today. Email is a wonderful tool, but each message carries the same level of importance and can feel like an imposition: Decide if it’s urgent or not, read it or delete it, do or don’t do something being asked of you in the email, etc.
“Our Diocese™ is different: Non-urgent information to be posted in the parish group and read at leisure. Urgent information like service schedule changes or deaths in the community can be sent to notify everyone immediately.
“So instead of people feeling like the priest is emailing them unnecessarily, or the priest debating whether something is worth sending an email, Our Diocese™ gives the priest and people a way to differentiate between urgent and not urgent information.
“Our Diocese™ also allows parishioners to coordinate events on their own without relying on the priest to disseminate information, or hijacking the parish email list and then themselves feel like they’re bothering people.”
Parish rectors will receive invites and are encouraged to visit the website and download the app from the app stores. Once they become familiar with the app they can send out invitations to their parishioners for full access to the many resources of Our Diocese™.