Communications Recommendations and Action Steps

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Action Step 1.1

Create a communications theme platform based on the messaging and strategies of Rebuilding in Faith and Hope. This strategic plan is the voice of the parishioners of the Diocese of Fall River; it is a blueprint for the future. The document cannot sit on a shelf; it must be living and breathing in all that we set about to accomplish.

The following underlying themes of the plan are most important; themes that need to be emphasized in all media:

  • That we are moving from the mere maintenance of our parishes to mission-oriented growth;
  • That lay leaders be encouraged of step up at all levels – parishes and Diocesan-side ministries – if we are to be sustainable.
  • That our Bishop, Chancery staff, religious, and lay leaders are creating appropriate resources to help pastors and parishes, not hinder them;
  • That clergy and lay leaders be expected to follow the plan – Pastors must take the lead to help initial efforts;
  • That lay leaders be encouraged to step up at all levels – parishes Diocesan wide ministries – if we are to be sustainable;
  • That parishes set goals and hold themselves accountable for successful mission building

Action Step 1.3

Make disciples of our people – inspire and encourage them to use the new media to be welcoming and engaging, bring others to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

We don’t knock on doors any more (but we could!) to invite people to Church, we largely accomplish this now through the building and connecting of our personal networks. We must encourage all to get involved and use their contact and friend lists to bring people back to Church. Each parishioner is a potential “influencer” who can affect the lives of others.

In addition to the new media, we of course must continue to press the need for improvement to our existing media – newspapers, bulletins, etc. – and to always encourage face-to-face encounters through “town halls,” pastoral and finance councils, and committee work.

Action Step 1.4

Create a social media presence that educates, inspires, and connects people in close community.

This is done through constant and consistent messaging – the Good News that we share must be in “real time” and immediate. It must be at our fingertips “one click away,” not buried in websites that are difficult to navigate and impossible to find. To be considered:

  • Establish a Diocesan Blog on Website using volunteer writers consisting of lay and clergy.
  • Inspirational Memes – showcasing Scripture, the Catechism, saint quotes, and celebrating special feast days.
  • Curating and sharing from trusted outside sources – such as Word on Fire, Dynamic Catholic, Parish champions, EWTN, and Catholic TV.
  • Live stream and record key events at both parish and Diocesan level such as sacraments, training, social events, etc.,
  • Live stream or webinar catechesis workshops – taught by lay and clergy.
  • Webpage created to archive warehouse of information that can be accessed by parishes and support organizations.
  • Live stream Catholic Men & Women’s Conference – online but also at the deanery or parish level; especially for Cape Cod and Islands.
  • Establish rights at each cable access station in each community to deliver weekly programming.
  • Determine value of integrating websites with the eCatholic platform as well as links to


Action Step 2.1

Consolidate and integrate all communication functions – bring together under one roof the Director of Communications, the Editor of the Anchor, newspaper staff, and digital media staff. This is necessary to ensure close collaboration, coordination, and consistent messaging – a consolidated source of news for web, print, etc. In addition, the Communications Director should serve on the Bishop’s senior staff to coordinate and ensure that marketing and communications initiatives meet institutional goals.

Action Step 2.2

Create a position(s) for digital media and marketing, focusing on an interactive website and the development of social media platforms. Particular emphasis must be to provide an integrated approach across a number of marketing channels, with a special eye towards the emerging mobile (smart phone) engagement experience. Such a person or team can also serve as a resource to our parishes, helping them to build effective networks.

Action Step 2.3

Create a communications “round table” – a bimonthly meeting of communications and media staff in the Chancery, the Foundation, Catholic Social Services, the nursing homes, and other related agencies to develop and foster an ongoing and coordinated narrative.

Action Step 2.4

Commission a branding study to assess the image we are projecting through all Diocesan communications channels – mail, newspaper, newsletters, magazines, email, website, social media and texting.

The purpose is to create a new image consistent with Rebuilding in Faith and Hope – unifying and community building – and to differentiate our brand among Christians.

Action Step 2.5

Create a task force to assess the TV Mass – is it relevant and sustainable for today’s audience. Many of those interviewed in benchmarking visits argue that the $100,000 allocated for the TV Mass (half of our communications budget) could be better utilized elsewhere. Among the issues to be addressed in this task force:

  • Conduct an analysis of who is watching the channel
  • Analyze ratings and viewership statistics (e.g., Nielson Ratings)
  • Consider streaming the Sunday Mass rather than TV
  • Vary the location of the Mass
  • Use the Community Service Local Cable TV Access network to broadcast a new Mass every week in both English and Portuguese. Can be uploaded to TelVuConnect system (MMX) and local Cable TV stations in the Diocese can schedule it into their local TV line up.
  • Live Stream the Bishop’s Sunday Mass from Facebook
  • Post video of Mass on YouTube and IG TV
  • Use audio of Bishop’s homily for podcast
  • Publish online a schedule of TV and internet Masses for Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and beyond.

Action Step 2.6

Create a task force facilitated by the Director of Communications to evaluate The Anchor – its relevance, sustainability, and opportunities for revitalization based on today’s audience, given the limited subscription and distribution. Issues to be addressed:

  • Building on The Anchor’s established and reliable brand
  • Conduct an analysis of online readership using media analytics including hits, views, likes, and clicks
  • Broader distribution with lesser frequency to increase impact and advertising revenue
  • More local parish news/pictures reflecting diocesan faithful vs. “heady” columns
  • Assessing administrative, financial, and Spiritual support from the Diocese
  • Combining The Anchor and Diocesan websites to avoid frequent duplication of postings.

Action Step 2.7

Assist parishes in developing communication goals, processes, and tools, including building interactive, engaging, and community building websites. Many parish websites are “cookie cutter” and suffer from the lack of attention. This could be managed by the new Director of Digital Media and assisted by volunteers.


Action Step 3.1

An absolute imperative: create and manage a central, common, unified diocesan database, for the dissemination of information. The database should include at a minimum parishioner’s name, address, email address, parish affiliation, and cell phone number (for text messages). The database should be managed with software specifically designed for Diocesan database management (e.g., not Excel, or Word). Issues to be considered:

  • Management of the database by the Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts
  • Data privacy and security – parishioners need to know that the information will only be used for official parish, collaborative, and diocesan communication.
  • Need to collect information about parishioner needs (e.g., “I want information only about Youth ministry”)
  • Ability for targeted emails.
  • Access to database by other ministries and agencies of the Diocese (e.g., Foundation, schools, et al.) with specific permissions and approvals.
  • Ability to opt out of messages or communications
  • All pastors should have Diocesan email addresses and cell phone numbers that stay with them

Action Step 3.2

Identify – and create tailored communications – to specific demographic groups. Content must be relevant and speak to the needs and expectations of the targeted groups. “Content” not only refers to digital media, but to print, broadcast, and postal mail as well.

These groups to include, but are not limited to:

  • Portuguese – maintain an inspiring presence online and in social media.
  • Spanish – an expanding market that we must address. Engage a Task Force to anticipate future needs and manage expectations for growth.
  • Millennials – how do we reach them with a message that will connect?
  • Shut-ins – live streaming of Masses, access to other shut-ins.
  • Fallen-away Catholics – content designed to invite them back
  • Families – create networks bringing together families with young children among and between parishes
  • Seekers – those trying to find their way through a closer relation with Christ.

Action Step 3.3

Establish success metrics for monitoring and analyzing digital media. Such metrics should include the standard array of analytics – “likes,” “friends,” “clicks,” “retweets” – as well as others specifically focused on demographic groups. Surveys should be used regularly to monitor feedback

Action Step 3.4

Create an intranet for the internal sharing of communications and information across clergy, religious and Diocese staff. This is being addressed in the HR plan.


Marcos Assis
Nossa Senhora de Assunção, Fall River

Ralph Babusci
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville

Patricia Bakaur
Christ the King, Mashpee

Bettina Briggs
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, Fall River

Armand Brunelle III
St. Mark’s, Attleboro Falls

Jonathan Carvalho
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, New Bedford

Janet Daly
St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis

Allison Gingras
Holy Family, East Taunton

Daryl Gonyon
Holy Trinity, Fall River

Richard Grace
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River

Rebecca Hancock
Good Shepherd, Fall River

Brian Healy
St. Mary’s Parish, Mansfield

Don Houde
St. Mark’s, Attleboro Falls

Sr. Paulina Hurtado
OP, Cathedral, Fall River

Paul, Jean

John Kearns
St. Jude the Apostle, Taunton

Wayne Keevan
St Francis Xavier, Hyannis

Margaret Keevan
St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis

Alicia Kullas
St Mary’s Norton MA, Norton

Paul Lallier
St John the Evangelist, Attleboro

Richard Lejava
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville

Brian Lowney
St. John of God, Somerset

Dr. Maribeth Manley
Saint John Neumann , East Freetown

Michael McDermott
Our lady of Fatima, New Bedford

Debra Medeiros
Santo Cristo Church, Fall River

Michele Merolla
St Anthony, Mattapoisett

Ed Merritt
St Ann, Raynham

Peter Mozzone
St Mary, Norton

Mike Murphy
St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro

Jan O’Brien
St. Mary’s, Mansfield

Msgr. John Oliveira

Antonio Pina
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary , Taunton

Joanne Roque
St John the Evangelist, Attleboro

Ann Seery
St. Francis of Assisi, Swansea

Kenneth Souza
St. Joseph, Fairhaven

Frederick Spero
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville

David Switzer
Immaculate Conception, North Easton

Linda Taylor
St. Mark’s, Attleboro Falls