Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Malverne has revamped its digital experience, revitalizing its website by allowing for online donations and weekly offerings, among other significant improvements and user-friendly elements.
The new, secure website officially launched last month. So far, thousands of dollars in new annual sponsorships have already been collected.
OLL’s pastor, the Rev. Michael Duffy, said the new website format has provided another convenient option for parishioners to support the parish through donations, sponsorships and memorial gifts without needing cash or a check at each Mass or to visit the rectory. The parish has partnered with PayPal and Google to give congregants of an opportunity to make donations online to support the school or the church. The new website also features spiritual and educational videos for children.
“The biggest thing that we want to do is to make things as easy as possible,” Duffy said, “because people want to support their parish and their school, so let’s give them as many avenues as possible to achieve that.”
Duffy, who became the pastor of the parish in June 2017, he said that he has always had an interest in social media and knew the importance of having an online presence. He said that the parish’s website is one of the first things that he examined. The first thing he did was creating a Facebook page for the parish, but he said that more had to be done to boost the parish’s online presence.
“Pope Benedict said a number of years ago that we as Christians need to give the internet a soul, and I think that as Catholics, we need to do that as well,” Duffy said. “We have to be at the forefront of the internet and everything that’s related to multimedia.”
To maintain security, the website is supported by Wix.com and all credit card transactions are processed by PayPal both of which are PCI compliant. The PCI DSS is an information security standard for organizations or companies that accept credit card payments. Personnel-related information, such as ministry and altar server schedules, are also protected via user authentication and no longer viewable by the general public. With the influx of daily information through mass media, Duffy added, he hopes that their website can be a safe environment for people of all ages.
“Maybe this could be a website that people go to where they can find some happiness and some joy, and bring people closer to God,” he said.
Eventually, Father Duffy hopes to provide a way for current and former parishioners to support campaign projects that include a technology fund to further supplement the parish’s vision for providing a safer digital environment for children.
“We’re hoping that this will only enhance what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish. The internet is never an answer to a problem. It’s always been a tool to further help us respond to issues, and just make our lives easier.”
To check out Our Lady of Lourdes’ new website, go to www.ollchurchmalverne.org.