Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paperless and Planning

You could see it coming like a truck: our University is pushing hard for less paper, for ways to streamline, consolidating our efforts to stop cutting down forests. At the same time, we could foresee a pretty urgent need, even a few years ago, to reach our students by way of the Internet. With all the activities ND undergrads are involved in, their ability to learn new music and attend workshops was sorely compromised.

For more than twenty years, we'd been sending out the venerable "liturgy packet" to all our residence halls. But it was beginning to resemble a dinosaur... Wasted paper, slow and cumbersome, and no way to connect with our ND students scattered across the globe, either. We needed a way to reach them on the web.

Three years ago, we started cooking up a new idea in Campus Ministry, assisted by one of our great colleagues, Joe Nava. Joe was in the Folk Choir for years, became a Campus Ministry intern, and had great skills by way of a combined theology degree and computer science. And with his help, we began designing a website for liturgy that was beautiful to behold, had an intuitive interface, and best of all, was the summation of years of liturgical planning, able to be shared with a much wider audience.

The result: a new liturgy planning website offered by Campus Ministry. You can reach the site by clicking this link here. The actual address is www.newmanhymnal.org.

Now, instead of pages and pages lumbering their way through the campus mail system, students can simply click onto the website for instant access to music suggestions, seasonal planning considerations, special blessings and commissioning rites. Here's a glimpse of the home page of the site:

This "portal" opens up the visitor to the entire liturgical year. Further tabs allow for listening to hundreds of MP3 clips of sacred music regularly used in the Catholic world.

But the best part of this new address is access to all of the new mass settings of the Roman Missal, which are available for instruction 24/7, as video tutorials of the new sung texts. These tutorials were recorded in Alumni Hall chapel over the summer, performed with a minimum of resources – guitar, cantor and piano – just like what our halls would use. While we'll continue the tradition of our workshops, students from Dublin, Ireland to Dillon Hall can log on any time they wish, look and listen and learn the new music of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.

And finally – the site is never complete! There is a "Wikipedia" function for each Sunday planning page, which allows musicians to continue to send their own sacred music suggestions.

Up and running since the start of the school year, our students have eagerly embraced this new resource – we've had more than three thousand visitors since the beginning of the semester! So now, there's one more way to help plan our sacred gatherings.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Steve, This is Andrea Fontana (formerly Wongster!) I just read your blog, and looked at the Newman Hymnal website, which is absolutely incredible, valuable, helpful AND beautifully elegant. So much work! Anyway, I just wanted to say "hi", and hope you are well! Andrea (awongfontana@gmail.com)