Diocese’s redesigned website offers new features, information

Photo Caption: A screenshot of the home page at cdop.org, the website of the Diocese of Peoria.

By: By Tom Dermody

The Diocese of Peoria’s website has a new look, additional features, and a lot of viewers.

Found at cdop.org, the redesigned site was launched in August after several months of planning and the cooperation of the various diocesan departments.

“Our goal was to provide a website that was user friendly, easy to navigate, but still provided the necessary information,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, in a recent letter outlining several of the site’s updated features. They include:

— An interactive calendar of events visible on the home page, including a search button to look for events.
— Enhanced online giving options plus event registration.
— Documents and forms are all centrally located, rather than making the visitor search through different areas
— An online directory of parishes, schools, other institutions and their personnel, and
— a direct link for those wishing to explore a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.

“Jesus Christ gave all of us the Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations,” wrote Bishop Jenky. “This means all of us, not just priests and sisters. The ‘Evangelization and Faith Formation’ section has been restructured and will continue to be enhanced to provide resources for all of us to grow in our faith and to share it with our brothers and sisters.”

The home page greets viewers with a blue and gold color scheme taken from the diocesan coat-of-arms. Seven large photos rotate to announce coming major events, such as the diocesan health care day or youth rally, or to promote ministries such as Catholic schools or Catholic Charities.

Also near the top is a photo of Bishop Jenky and links to his welcome — including a video greeting ? as well as to his biography, festival letters, homilies, and social media sites.

There are seven drop-down tabs, labeled About, Offices, Ministries, Vocations, Evangelization and Faith Formation, Catholic Education, and Forms.

One of four photo links on the page takes viewers to a virtual tour of St. Mary’s Cathedral and the cathedral parish website. The virtual tour is available in English and Spanish.

“The goal is to provide a visual representation of the cathedral, its rich history, the saints, martyrs and other historical figures that inspired the artwork, stained glass windows, and other items we see in the cathedral,” said Debbie Benz, financial operations coordinator for the diocese who helped coordinate the web project with Julie Enzenberger, staff assistant with the diocesan development office. Design work utilizing WordPress was by Tim Bare.

Also prominent on the home page is “Peoria Prays,” a tab inviting prayer requests from around the Diocese of Peoria.

“The Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary pray for them daily,” said Bishop Jenky, noting the requests can be made confidentially.

The site has averaged more than 7,500 visitors each week since its debut, said Benz, and a total of 74,150 as of Oct. 20.

Video is prominent at the new cdop.org, and a live video feed of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. resulted in a major increase in visitors at the end of September.

A redesign of The Catholic Post’s website, thecatholicpost.com, is now under way with a scheduled debut by Christmas. The home page of the new cdop.org site includes headlines from current Post news stories.

Msgr. James Kruse, vicar general, said “fine tuning” of the site continues but invited all priests of the diocese to explore the site and “share this exciting news with your parishioners and staff.”

Those wishing to submit information for an event for the diocesan calendar, point out corrections to be made, or suggest ideas are invited to email Debbie Benz, dbenz@cdop.org.

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