Yesterday, I came across a video of Fr. Adam Hofer, the Parochial Vicar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rapid City on Facebook.  Fr. Hofer is sitting around the manger scene inviting and welcoming people to participate in the Christmas Masses at Blessed Sacrament. He has a warm and joyful disposition about him as he invites people to gather around the Manger to welcome Emmanuel into their lives, families and world. It is a short 47-second video with a simple greeting of welcoming parishioners, guests and really all to Blessed Sacrament Parish for the Christmas Masses.  Check it out. Well done Fr. Hofer!

I also noticed this post on Facebook this week: “Blessed Sacrament Church. St. Thomas More Students did an excellent job in decorating the parish hall for Christmas Eve. Thank you.” (8 pictures included in post.)

Posted on Instagram:  “Father Dillion took kids out caroling on a hayride, met with first communicants, and ended the night with adoration, a lesson on Lectio Divina, and confession (almost 2 hours). Great night in Bonesteel!”

The St. Francis Christmas play in Sturgis is on Facebook:

Benedictine College posted a beautiful video for Christmas of a live nativity scene and Sr. Joan Kolbe Kjerstad plays the role of Mary:

As parishes work through the process of becoming a stewardship parish, the first phase or tier is to become a Foundational Parish.  One of the characteristics of a foundational Parish is: “Our parishes use a variety of communication methods that are useful and effective for the unique culture of the parish.”

The use of parish webpages and social media for your parishes can be a great way to form your parishioners in the faith and to attract new ones or those who have left the faith for a time, encouraging them to come back.

            As our Office of Stewardship visits with pastors and stewardship committees about becoming stewardship parishes, we encourage parishes to have to have current and up-to-date webpages. Here are some webpages that we think are pretty good:

            Thinking about all of this week after seeing Blessed Sacrament Rapid City, Immaculate Conception in Bonesteel, in St. Francis in Sturgis on Facebook and Instagram I came across 19 reasons* you should include visual content in your marketing. Here are a few that I think apply to the marketing we do and evangelization in our parishes and diocese.

1) 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and the Zabisco

2) 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco

3) Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source: AnsonAlex

4) Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz

5) Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured

6) Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. (Source: Shareaholic

7) 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females. (Sources: comScore and Nielsen

8) Over 60 hours of videos are uploaded each minute on (Source: YouTube

9) 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. (Source: YouTube

10) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa

11) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos

*19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing. Written by Amanda Sibley @AmandaSibley

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