Internet in Parish Ministry

From VincentWiki

The Internet in Parish Ministry offers perspectives on the immense resources for parish ministry of all forms. (Inclusion here is not an endorsement but rather an indication of the breadth of resources and approaches available.)

This page began life as a Powerpoint presentation developed by John Freund, CM in conjunction with workshops he presents related to the use of the Internet in various forms of ministry.
In its second phase it was transformed into a web site, John Freund's Parish Resources, as a way of allowing participants to continue the learning process of the workshop.
That page is no longer being maintained since it has now been converted to this format which also serves as a demonstration of the utility of a wiki in ministry settings.
In accordance with wiki principles feel free to make modification or mail suggestions to John Freund, C.M.

"Point-and-Click" Culture

The Net is an ocean - how many pages (drops of water)? How do the currents run? Where do currents converge? Where do they split?

The Internet is growing at an annualized rate of 18% and now has one billion users. A second billion users will follow in the next ten years.
Dated but still significant insights into what it means to grow up digital and its implications including different views of authority... shift from top down communication and teaching. The Web is flat.
According to Trends Magazine February 2006
"As the first generation to grow up with iTunes, blogs, e-mail, and instant messaging, Millennials are more comfortable on-line than their parents or older siblings. Millions of high school and college-aged Americans are staying connected to each other by using on-line social networks. These networks are shaping new forms of social behavior in the first generation ever to begin using them as children. These users are distinct from adults, who view the Web as a tool to supplement their daily activities. Adults make purchases, check the news or weather, or send e-mails.
But many of the Millennials actually live on-line part of the time. Nearly 90 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds use the Internet now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Teens between the ages of 15 and 18 spend six and a half hours a day either on the Net, playing video games, or watching TV, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
As technologies converge, these technologies will all become one seamless on-line stream of content. At present, those youths are using on-line social networks nearly 90 minutes each day, which represents the largest growth in Internet usage, up 300 percent in the last five years.
The three top sites, ranked by their number of users, according to BusinessWeek, are: with 40 million users. with 6.4 million users.
Facebook.comwith 4.2 million users. was the 15th most-visited Web site last October according to Nielsen//NetRatings, when it accounted for 10 percent of all the Internet.

On the light side... Cartoons about the Internet

Current Internet trends

The shift from publication to participation.

See also Establishing Web Presence (first section)

Parish Ministry in an Internet Age

Church in an Internet World

Insighful Vatican Documents

One of the earliest presentations of why Catholics and even monks should use the Internet.
A well-written overview of how people are searching for meaning on the Internet.
"A typical search will turn up about 1,948,000 hits for "Christ," 2,100,000 for "Jesus," and 3,675,000 for "God."
See left column of the above link for origins and demise of a pioneer website
Benedictines have a long history with pages and their Scriptoria

Ethical Issues

Overview of "new" social justice issues raised by the Internet
New Tech The above presentation was part of a historic symposium
Both of the above links are currently only found on the WebArchive. (This is a handy site to visit on the chance that a web site you once visited is no longer available.)

The Digital Divide

Most visited Catholic Websites

This, according to ALEXA, is a list of the busiest 20 Catholic websites in the which are not necessarily the best Catholic websites. This list was updated on March 14, 2007.

The Holy See
ACI Digital
4 Marks
New Advent
Centro Católico de Evangelización
Catholic Answers
Catholic Exchange
Catholic Online
Zenit News Agency
Conférence des évêques de France
Spirit Daily
The Catholic Company
Catholic Community Forum
Christus Rex
American Catholic

What can be done with a parish website

What can be done with an Archdiocesan Website (L.A.)

  • See his very fine piece on 10 questions for planning a website and Best practices
See also his critiques of his own sites a collection of writings

General Resources for Ministry

Theology Library
An amazing collection of over 8,000 quality links clearly grouped into categories such as Church, Revelation, Liturgy, Justsice, Theology, Morality, Spirituality, Evangelization, Religion, etc. each of these categories is further sub-divided. This site could serve many parishes as their online resource library.
Bread on the Waters
"Web Pages to Feed the Websurfers Spirit" An eminently practical site, well-designed with material parishioners can relate to such as sections providing perspectives on prayer, teaching children how to pray, stations of the cross and their history and variations today, virtual retreats, etc.
The site also provides rich resources from the Passionist tradition.
The website devoted to the practice of gratefulness in daily inspired by noted lecturer and spiritual writer Brother David Steindl-Rast. Among the outstanding features are a contemporary look at the meaning of the liturgy of the hours in ordinary life, a virtual experience of lighting candles, aids for pratciing gratefulness, etc.
New Advent
The second businest Catholic website according to Alexa search engine rankings. It features Catholic Encyclopedia with more than 11,000 articles on Catholic topics, Summa Theologica as well as the writings of the Church Fathers.
This site features resources related to the weekly scriptural readings. Other fascinating segments of the site are a movie concordance in which one can serach of database contemporary movies to discover spiritual themes embedded in them or go in the reverse direction by searching for movies that contains specific biblical themes. There is also an art concordance which the same for works of art. As such this site can provide rich insights into art and the movies.
Catholic Catechism Search Engine
Exactly what it says... a search engine devoted exclusively to the Official Catholic Catechism. Search of a concept and immediately find every instance where it appears in the Catholic Catechism.
Daily Gospel
The «Daily Gospel» provides a free, personalized e-mail each morning, containing the text of the Gospel of the day according to the calendar fixed by the Catholic Church

Religious News


John Allen's well respected weekly column from Rome

Specific Ministries



Youth and Young Adult

Social Justice

Site comes with WARNING: The study, practice, and spirituality of Catholic social justice teachings may be hazardous to your hard-heartedness, complacency, skepticism, indifference, and hubris. Proceed at your own risk!
Excellent resource
Very practical and detailed resource
Excellent starting point for overview of online resources
A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility
Exactly what it says - "In this virtual classroom, NetAction will teach you how to use email and the Web as effective, inexpensive, and efficient tools for organizing, outreach, and advocacy."



Excellent starting point for overview of online resources


"Real prayer, virtual retreat"
Brought to you by the Cybermonk
A very popular 'Spiritual watering hole" with sections of it available in more than 20 languages

Inspirational Movies

Excellent resource for slowing down
Part of a very popular series of movies
Part of an evangelically-oriented series of videos attractive to children. Available in 12 languages
Just what it says

Ethnic Ministries

General Ethnic ministry resources

  • United States Catholic Conference - Ethnic Ministry Resources
Pathway to resources on the USCC-NCCB site
  • Serving an Multi-Ethnic Community
From the Catholic CHurch in England and Wales
  • U.S. Catholic Bishops - Office of Migration & Refugee Services

African American

Excellent starting point for locating online resources
Xavier University of Louisiana is Catholic and historically Black. The ultimate purpose of the University is the promotion of a more just and humane society.


English pages with many resources including powerpoint presentations
Spanish pages

Asian Ministries

Excellent starting point for online resources

Miscellaneous Resources

Pastoral Councils, Planning

Protecting Children Online

Statment release by the USCC - perspectives and practggical guidelines
NCH one of the UK's leading children's charities, helping children achieve their full potential. Through our services we support some of the UK's most vulnerable and excluded children and young people.

Full Spectrum of Views

women and sacred ministry]

Miscellaneous outreach

A global awareness ministry and resource for parishes sponsored by Pastoral Arts Associates of North America with assistance from mission-spirited benefactors.
Exiled Bishop to Partenia, a diocese that disappeared under the sand of the Sahara desert since the 5th century. Jacques Gaillot took the challenge of this appointment. Partenia is revived in becoming a virtual and worldwide diocese.



Search Engines

Tips About Internet Search Engines & Search Engine Submission


Religious Communities

This listing can not help in vocational discerment but also give some indication of how the communities are using the Internt



  • OFM - Rome - Links
  • Franciscans Int'l North America


  • OFM - Roma - Pagina principale
  • Franciscans International - North America
  • Franciscan Federation
  • OFM - Rome - English Main page



Pauline Books & Media - Daughters of St. Paul The Claretians

Top of Page

Web Presence

See more detailed article Establishing Web Presence

Web assessment

Which is the "Real" Mankato?

Web design and hosting

Non-profit Resources for software

  • TechSoup The Technology Place for Non-Profits

Web Logs or Blogs

As of October 2005, Technorati is now tracking 19.6 million weblogs
The total number of weblogs tracked continues to double about every 5 months
The blogosphere is now over 30 times as big as it was 3 years ago, with no signs of letup in growth
About 70,000 new weblogs are created every day
About a new weblog is created each second
2% - 8% of new weblogs per day are fake or spam weblogs
Between 700,000 and 1.3 million posts are made each day
About 33,000 posts are created per hour, or 9.2 posts per second
An additional 5.8% of posts (or about 50,000 posts/day) seen each day are from spam or fake blogs, on average
"...19.6 Million weblogs, and the total number of weblogs tracked continues to double about every 5 months. This trend has been consistent for at least the last 36 months. In other words, the blogosphere has doubled at least 5 times in the last 3 years. Another way of looking at it is that the blogosphere is now over 30 times as big as it was 3 years ago"
New opportunities, strategies, and technologies of sharing the "timeless" GOOD NEWS to the uttermost parts of the world. A career Urban Missionary catches the vision and potential of adding Internet Evangelism to his missionary endeavors. Blazing this exciting new path cannot be done alone...Come along for the adventure of your life... Adventures of a Web Evangelist"
'Blogging Church is a one-stop resource for pastors and leaders who want to know the why, what, and how of blogging.
Why should my church embrace blogging?
What can blogs accomplish in my church?
How can we get started.
"Recently in Liverpool, England, Bridge Chapel Christian church has also been using podcasting to reach people who you wouldn’t normally find in seated in a worship service; they report a rise in attendance too."
Now, many of the Catholic Church's cardinals, the high-ranking priests from whom the next Pope will be elected, are following suit, using the internet to address their congregations.
Holy Weblog - Reviewing the good, the bad and the quirky in the religious world.
"... Journey to Vatican III by Rebecca Nappi gives you breaking news and trend alerts in the Roman Catholic Church that signal major reforms to come in the next few years."
St. Blog's church: America's most vibrant parish?
Blog of well know Christian commentator; wealth of blog related resources


Oh, by the way, don't forget to check out the wikis. They are coming!

A radically new approach to encylopedias that anyone can edit and which is available in over 100 languages.
Wikis exemplify what is called "Web 2.0" or the "New Web" wherfe the shift is from publication to participation.
Vincentian adaptation of the same software behind Wikipedia]
What can a wiki do?

How accurate can Wikipedia Be?

Many question whether an encyclopedia can edit can be accurate and valid as a source of information.

Others question whether it can used in a newspaper editorial page context. The following link is to the Los Angeles Times which ran a short-lived experience in June, 2005.


This section will be undergoing extensive revision. Your suggestions are welcome.

RSS Feeds

This has nothing to do with feeding the IRS but is rather a way to be kept in the loop on latest developments on a website, etc. you wish to monitor.

RSS for Nonprofits - Web content on your terms Some very practical implications for church-related sites.

See also What is RSS and How Will It Benefit Me?


Big-screen churches according to Zenit

New media techniques are also being used to liven up church services. So far the tendency is more common in Protestant churches. Last Saturday (January 14, 2006) the Los Angeles Times described how the Santa Margarita United Methodist Church, in Orange County, uses large screens to put up the words for hymns. When the pastor gives his sermon he uses film clips from movies to accompany his words. Three cameras record everything for use on the church\'s Web site.
According to the article, last year more than 60% of the nation\'s Protestant churches used a large-screen projection system, up from 39% in 2000. And the percentage of congregations using video services doubled over the same time, to 61%. Some churches also send out material via e-mail and podcasts.
The technology doesn't come cheap. The Orange County church spent about $75,000 in equipment, plus $15,000 a year for staffing and maintenance.
Not all are enthusiastic about the changes. Baptist pastor Ken Uyeda Fong said some people don\'t see the new aids as being very religious. Others aren\'t keen on people just staring at screens in church, instead of more active and traditional means of participating.
At the individual level multimedia programs are also flourishing. Annual sales of religious software have reached the $80 million mark, the Boston Globe reported Jan. 2. A multitude of programs exist offering Bible translations, images, commentaries and other material. God\'s word, it seems, is indeed spreading fast.

Using video to tell the story of the poor


Use in Ministry

For a more detailed treatment see Powerpoint in Ministry

Preaching and Multi-media Resources

Christian graphics for your church service, multimedia ministry at your church, fast and inexpensive system for creating beautiful PowerPoint sermons

Related Internal (Vincentian Encyclopedia) links

Parish Websites






External links

See also Vincentians in Cyberspace

John Freund

"From Parchment to Cyberspace" Review for Religious 1997
"The Genius of Vincent" Commentary on the 1998 General Assembly Document and the commitment to use new means of communication.
"Serving the Poor in the New Millennium"
"New Means of Communication" Article published in VINCENTIANA as part of special issue devoted to the 1998 General Assembly
"Website as Community Room" Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission Newsletter circa 2002