Catholic website's changes aim to strengthen connections - Catholic Courier

Catholic website’s changes aim to strengthen connections

The New York State Catholic Conference unveiled a newly redesigned website on Jan. 9, as well as a new color for the organization’s logo and a new name for its 67,000-member advocacy network.

The Web address for the Catholic conference, which is the public-policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops, remains, but the site has been updated to include more information in a more user-friendly format. The logo’s main color has changed from green to red, and the former Catholic Advocacy Network from now on will be known as the Catholic Action Network. These changes are intended to help convey a clearer sense of the conference’s mission, according to a Jan. 9 statement from conference Executive Director Richard E. Barnes.

"Most important, the changes are intended to strengthen the connection between Catholic New Yorkers and their church and bishops. This is particularly so with the new website," he said.

The new website is primarily focused on the Catholic conference’s mission of public-policy advocacy, but it also does much more than that, according to Dennis Poust, communications director for the Catholic conference. The website includes in-depth information about the issues on the bishops’ legislative agenda as well as other related supporting materials. It also features blogs, a news section with up-to-date content from Catholic News Service and several of the state’s diocesan newspapers, and a section called "My Catholic Life," which features links to other Catholic websites of interest.

"It is a Catholic portal that serves as a one-stop-shopping experience for visitors. Whether you are looking for the bishops’ position on a bill before the Legislature, trying to find a nearby Catholic parish or school, information on pursuing a religious vocation, or seeking a diocesan, statewide, national or international news, you can start at our site and get to where you need to be," Poust said.

The site was designed by Glens Falls-based Behan Communications and funded by grants from the Chiaroscuro Foundation and the Order of Malta, American Association, as well as contributions from members of the Catholic Action Network.

The new, scarlet-red coloring of the Catholic conference’s logo is reminiscent of the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to the apostles as tongues of fire after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, Poust added.

"For us, the color is a constant reminder that we are to be guided by the Holy Spirit in our work, and that we are representing the bishops, who are the successors to the apostles," he explained. "Furthermore, it is the color worn by cardinals in the church, historically as a reminder that they must be willing to shed their blood for the faith. Traditionally, the Archbishop of New York is a cardinal. Providentially, Pope Benedict XVI announced Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan’s elevation just this past Friday (Jan. 6), so the timing is very appropriate."

The former Catholic Advocacy Network’s moniker was changed because "Catholic Action Network simply flows off the tongue easier," explained Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of the network. The new name also more accurately describes what network members do, she added.

"Advocacy is a vague term, but everyone knows what action means, and what we are asking our network members to do is to take action — call or write their legislators, visit district offices, register to vote, write letters to the editor of their hometown newspapers, and be a presence here … (in Albany) at the Capitol lobby day. The name may be changing but the network will function exactly the same as before," Gallagher said.

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