By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz made a few phone calls Thanksgiving week, a few thousand phone calls. For the first time, the bishop tried out an automated call system to send a Thanksgiving greeting to parishioners. Anyone who had a home number on file with their parish received a call. Bishop Kopacz recorded the messages earlier in the month.
The response was overwhelming. The chancery offices were inundated with calls to ask about the program and thank the bishop for the message. “I felt like this was a good way to greet people on a special holiday as we entered the season of Advent,” said the bishop. “I love traveling to the parishes and meeting people – this was a good way to keep in touch, so to speak,” he added.
“We initiated this program to bring people together and stay connected,” said Rebecca Harris, Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Jackson. She coordinated the program. “During the holidays when we gather with family and friends, we often give thanks. We wanted people to know we are thankful for them, for their faith and for all they do in our parishes, schools and missions,” added Harris. The parishes and the chancery work together to track membership through an online database program called ParishSoft. Both the office of Stewardship and Development and Mississippi Catholic use that database to get addresses and contact information for people in the parishes.
A second call will go out with a Christmas message on December 22. Those who wish to be on the call list should make sure their home land line phone numbers are on file with their parishes. Or you can email your cell phone number and expressed permission to Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who do not wish to receive a call please email Rebecca Harris.
By Maureen Smith