The day has finally come! After all these months of waiting! What will it look like? You’re probably asking yourself: “What in the world is he talking about?!” I’m talking about the new St. Mary website. If you go to stmaryguthrie.com no longer will you see an Under Construction banner. Now you’ll see the fruit of months of work on the part of many people. About 130 people made this website possible! If you all remember it was a cold night, two days after Christmas, when I asked all the parishioners to come and take a picture of us all in the dark church holding vigil candles. About 120 of you came that cold evening, two days after Christmas. It nearly brought me to tears that so many of you would come. It made for a beautiful picture. The pictures were so well-done that Solutio, our web design company, has asked if they can use these pictures on some other websites they are designing. Who ever thought little St. Mary Church in Guthrie, America would be a trend-setting parish?! Thank you to the 120 of you who came out two days after Christmas to indulge your pastor. It was a wonderful Christmas present and it is my hope this website will serve St. Mary for years to come!
There are some things to notice on the website. The first is our front page is not designed for current parish members. The front page – called a landing page in web design lingo – is there for those who are looking for a church home. It is designed for those seeking and searching. The landing page has four main frames. The first is The Call, and it is about the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Easter fire prepared at the Easter Vigil is the image of the fire of God’s love for his creation, that he would rise from the dead! The second is The Response, and it is about our participation in the life of the church. This begins in Baptism. The vigil candles lit from the Easter fire signify our new life in Christ. The third frame is The Feast, and it is about our sharing in the life of the church’s Holy Eucharist. Each time we gather in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we are part of the wedding feast of the lamb which will reach its culmination at the end of time. The fourth frame is an invitation to those who would like to become part of the Body of Christ: the church! It is a simple form visitors can fill out if they would like to know more.
The idea is that they fill this form out and they receive a welcome call from me. Then I will contact a family in the parish to call them and setup a time they can visit St. Mary for Saturday or Sunday Mass. This family will meet the newcomers at the door, introduce them to their other family members, and sit with them during Mass. If the visit happens on a Sunday they will take them down for coffee and donuts to meet the other parishioners. Not many other parishes are gearing the first page of their website for seekers. But our mission is to preach the Gospel, and it must be preached even on the internet. An awesome website will not win the day. I am floating some ideas to the Parish Pastoral Council on ways we could perhaps foster a greater life of community and fellowship both for our Saturday and Sunday Mass-goers. So, thank you to all who have done so much for us to have such a beautiful website! Oh, and one last thing! On the landing page you will see a button that says Full Site. That button will take you to the full website for parishioners. I will talk more about some of the other parts of the site next week! -Fr. W.