Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart: Engagement and Convenience with My Own Church

Posted on January 25, 2018

OLIH Welcomes Guests and Parishioners through Technology and Hospitality


“Everyone is Welcome!” the website boldly proclaims. And the online doors swing open. Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart’s (OLIH) mission statement references “community” no less than three times: warm reception and engagement rank high in the parish’s priorities.

The hospitable parish is committed to staying current and finding new ways to welcome the newcomer, better support parishioners, and enable ministry. Dedicated efforts include a technology committee to track changes and advise in the areas of technology and social media. A recent study on website design led to a reinvented website more receptive to possible guests, dovetailing with a parish app to strengthen communication with parishioners. But creating and maintaining parishioner connection is a feat for any parish, particularly one with over 2500 families.

How Our Products Helped

OLIH fully transitioned from ParishSOFT Desktop to ParishSOFT Family Suite in 2013. Initially, they almost overlooked the online parishioner portal, My Own Church (MOC), amidst the other applications of their complete, web-based software. The parishioner portal empowers parishioners to stay connected with the parish. By creating a profile, parishioners are able to update census and ministry information, and track their giving and payment history – which includes access to end-of-year giving statements. But with end-of-year looming in 2015 the parish recognized in MOC an opportunity that could not be missed.

Instead of preparing a few thousand year-end giving statements, parish staff decided it was time to modernize the process by asking parishioners to access their giving statements online. As a business manager, Becky Robovsky ruefully notes, “[With 2500 families] We are always looking for ways to lighten the load – and MOC is an amazing way to do it!”

Decision made, they needed to get their parishioners on board. MOC was (and still is!) clearly promoted on the parish website, in the bulletin, and in their weekly email newsletter. High visibility and simple explanations, instructions and reminders, went a long way in spurring parishioner to sign up. However, Robovsky is quick to point out, “Teaching our people [to use My Own Church] was practically effortless.” A gentle invitation and explanation of the benefits of MOC for parishioners and parish staff has paid off, and hundreds of families quickly registered!

With over 800 families signed up for MOC, end-of-year preparation looks vastly different than in years past. Families are now able to login and print out their own statements. If a parishioner needs a statement printed out, they have to call and request it from the parish. Robovsky estimates that this year they only printed about 50 statements!

But OLIH didn’t stop there. Building upon the initial foundation from year-end, promotion for religious education a few months later was another opportunity to encourage new families to sign up or make sure their family record was up-to-date. The program includes over a thousand children and Robovsky stated that the resulting updates, “Helped out a lot in keeping information current.”

Results and Future Plans

Updating census information and accessing financial records is vital, but it’s not the only thing that OLIH uses MOC for. MOC is also an online pictorial directory. Parish users can opt to publish their information (picture and contact information) as part of an online parish directory available to other MOC users. OLIH was, of course, quick to highlight this handy feature over the holiday season – helpful for connecting over the break, or getting necessary information for Christmas cards and holiday parties!

Says Robovsky, “There is no reason you shouldn’t do it, it’s a piece of cake… I don’t think people get how easy it is!” Addressing potential questions about data integrity with parishioners entering and updating their own information, Robovsky observes that best practices for gathering and recording accurate data are essential, regardless of how the information gets into the system. In addition, the application requires parish staff to approve parishioner registrations and updates – meaning parish staff maintains control over data integrity. Her words of encouragement for other parishes: “Just turn it on and let parishioners decide!”

As sincere as their mission, OLIH is a parish that makes room for adaption and creativity to better serve their community. Their heart of hospitality continues to lead them to discover innovative ways to connect people with the parish and ease the administrative burden for parish staff. ParishSOFT is grateful for their witness, encouraged by their example, and humbled to be their mission partner. Thank you Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart!

What our customers are saying about My Own Church

Hear Amy Wall, parish secretary, describe Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart’s experience of  My Own Church first-hand, click here to watch the video.

Download the Customer Story for Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart

2 thoughts on “Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart: Engagement and Convenience with My Own Church

  1. As our parish’s Director of Family Faith Formation this article is interesting to me. But the big problem that I run into every year (which I don’t know if Parish Soft has yet addressed) is that there needs to be a way for families to register for faith formation AND pay the faith formation annual fee at the same time. Thanks for letting me know if there is an easy way to do this yet. God bless you.

    1. Hi Sister Mary Rose, thank you so much for your ministry and allowing ParishSOFT to serve your parish! My Own Church does not integrate payment directly with faith formation registration at this time. One possibility, if you would like one online form for both registration and payment, would be to utilize ParishSOFT Giving forms. Faith formation registrations made through Giving forms would need to be manually recorded in your ParishSOFT Religious Education module, payment submitted through the forms would be automatically posted in your ParishSOFT system, and noted in each family’s record. A complete walk through of the simple drag-and-drop form builder is available here: https://vimeo.com/221749459.

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