Meet Canva!.. Graphic Design Made Easy


We’ve all been there before. We have a great idea for an event and everything is all set to go, except now we have to promote the event. A lot of great ideas are floating around and now its time make the promotional masterpiece that will get people excited about your event. The trouble is finding a great graphic designer who can create that stunning masterpiece.

Canva1Here is a great website that will give you the designing power you always dreamed of. It’s called Canva and it will seriously make you into the graphic design extraordinaire. One of the major issues we face when promoting events is producing eye-catching promotional materials that will bring people through the doors. Unless you are a savvy graphic designer who has access to the latest and greatest software, creating flyers, posters and social media posts may not be the easiest thing to do. Canva has changed all of that!

Canva2Canva allows you to create fresh designs without having to have in-depth graphics design knowledge. Once you are logged in, you are greeted with a selection of templates for a myriad of uses such as highly engaging posters to impactful social media content. The templates are set so you don’t have to worry about searching for the correct size.


Once you have selected your project, you have plenty of elements to choose from. You can choose the layout, the type of background, and the font. You can also upload custom images. Some of the stock images that Canva offers are free, but for premium images the cost are usually around $1.00.


Pre-designed layouts


Fonts and styles to choose from


Backgrounds and images


You upload your own images

As you work on your project, Canva auto-saves all your changes. When you are finished, you can share your project with others to review and edit or download it as images or PDF in a variety of formats and quality. It’s pretty straightforward and fun!

Canva8Canva9The most amazing part of Canva is that’s its free. The only time you have to pay for something is if you buy a stock image or upgrade your account to Canva for Work.

Go to and sign up for a free account. Play around with all the features and you can be a design pro in no time. If you still need some tips or tutorials, Canva has a whole bunch of how-to videos to get you up and running! Design today and get your Parish event out there!

Vatican Social Communications – Twitter and The Pope App

The Roman Catholic Church has understood the importance of communication. Throughout the years from oral tradition to today’s new media, the Vatican has embraced emerging communication technologies to help spread the Good News.

iCatholic interviewed Monsignor Paul Tighe who serves as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Mons. Tighe discusses how the Vatican has embraced digital platforms such as Twitter and the development of The Pope App.
Check out the interview above!

Monsignor Tighe serves as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Blog Update and More Great Things To Come

social-media-398296_1280-1024x1024Welcome to the updated Evangelization & New Media Blog for the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis (DEC) at the Diocese of Sacramento. My name is Arnell J. Ignacio and I am the Coordinator for Evangelization, New Media and Marketing here at the Pastoral Center. I want to continue the mission of this blog and provide new media solutions to parishes, ministers and anyone who wants to establish a web and social media presence.

Some of things I will talk about in this blog deal with:

  • Websites
  • Social Media
  • Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Image and Video Editing
  • Email
  • Audio Systems
  • …and anything else that will be helpful

I will also bring in resources and case studies that will help us better understand what we as The Church can do to spread the Good News.

Also if there is anything that you want covered here, feel free to use the contact us form to submit a question and I will do my best to find an answer.

As we continue on this journey, we offer up our prayers to best find ways to communicate with others and to share the Good News of God.

The U.S. Bishops Launches a New Online Version of the Catechism

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched an official online version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a new browser-based e-book format.

Providing the Catechism in this particular electronic format will make this foundational resource even more accessible to people,” explained Bishop John Wester, chair of the USCCB Communications Committee. “It is free to anyone who has access to the Internet.

Available through any Internet browser, the Catechism file displays and functions as an e-book. Users can bookmark or highlight areas, see footnotes in a “light box” without leaving the original page, and search within the Catechism, including by paragraph number.

Until the second half of the twentieth century, for millions of Catholics in the United States, the word “catechism” meant the Baltimore Catechism, which originated at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1884 when the bishops of the United States decided to publish a national catechism. The Baltimore Catechism contained 421 questions and answers in 37 chapters and gave unity to the teaching and understanding of the faith for millions of American Catholics. Its impact was felt right up to the dawn of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is proving to be as compelling if not more, of an influence on the faithful,” said Bishop David Ricken, Chair of the USCCB Evangelization and Catechesis Committee. “Our ability to use the new technologies means that many more millions will be able to find the Catholic Church’s teachings on their tablets, their smartphones, and their laptops.

You can access this new tool by visiting this easy-to-remember shortlink:

The What, Why, and How of Blogging

In the following 30-minute video, Carson Weber will explain what a blog is, why you would spend time blogging, how you can easily create a blog for free, and how you can continue your self-education to become proficient in blogging.

Please click the full-screen icon in the lower right corner of the video interface for a better viewing experience.

Effortlessly Evangelize & Catechize

One way to easily evangelize & catechize with the New Media is to grab snippets of Fr. Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” series from YouTube and share them on Facebook, via email, and on our websites.

Matthew Warner (who blogs for the National Catholic Register and who created has compiled a handy list on his YouTube channel at

Here are some samples:

If you click on any of the above images, you will be taken to the YouTube page where you can view the video. This series of ten 45-50 minute videos can be purchased from Amazon as a 5 DVD set. Here’s a handy quick link to the purchase page:

Here are some additional helpful and trustworthy Catholic YouTube channels:

Effective Email

Email can be a very effective tool in ministry and apostolate work, if we know how to employ it effectively and manage it well.

Baydin recently analyzed its database of over 5 million emails to generate helpful advice regarding what words to use and not use when composing effective emails.  Want people to read and engage your emails?

Don’t use words such as

  • confirm
  • join
  • press
  • invite
  • assistance
  • social

Rather, use words like

  • conference
  • apply
  • opportunity
  • demo
  • connect

The data also suggests the best time to send emails is before work. Users who scheduled messages to read later, most often wanted to deal with them around 6 a.m. (Hint: Using a service that schedules emails may be a very good idea).

We encourage you to download, save, and study the infographic embedded at the bottom of this post. Right click on the image and choose “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…” This will allow you to save the image in the folder of your choice directly on your computer. If you’re using a mobile device, such as an iPad, hold your finger down on the image, then choose “Save Image.”


flockNote is a communications solution built specifically with Catholic parishes and ministries in mind. It allows you to create subscription lists and manage your electronic correspondence in an effective manner.

We encourage you to read flockNote’s blog post titled “10 Challenges When Using Email To Reach Parishioners (And Overcoming Them).” In that post, Matthew Warner outlines the 10 problems and challenges we face and how flockNote solves each one of them.

The Uber-cool Infographic

How to Podcast Homilies

The following instructions define how to go about recording, editing, and uploading a priest or deacon’s Sunday homilies in the form of a podcast.  This blog entry will also show how this process can be automated to where:

  • the podcast may be automatically displayed and playable on the parish website
  • the podcast may be subscribed to via iTunes or RSS feed
  • people may subscribe to the podcast by email, so they are notified with an email when a new episode (i.e., homily) is available for listening

All of the above in one blog entry!  Ready?  Set…  Go!

Step 1: Use an Audio Recorder

Here’s a good one that’s very affordable off of Amazon:

Olympus WS-600S Digital Voice Recorder 142610 (Silver)

Olympus WS-600S Digital Voice Recorder 142610 (Silver)

Place this recorder on the ambo and hit “record” just before you begin and “stop” when you are finished.

If you’d like better audio quality, attach a wired lavalier to the input in the recorder and wear the recorder, just as you wear the lavalier for the sound system. Here’s a good one that fits the Olympus recorder:

Olympus ME-15 Microphone

Or, you can hook your audio recorder directly into your church’s audio system, if it has an audio output. In that case, you’ll need someone to hit ‘record’ and ‘stop’ for you.


Step 2: Transfer the file and edit it

By using a simple USB connection, you can transfer the audio file from the recorder to your desktop computer.  Then, you can edit it with some audio editing software.  The main reason you may need to edit it would be to remove any unwanted audio from the beginning or end of the recording.  Be sure to save, publish, or export it as an MP3 file on your computer.  For example: myhomily.mp3

For free audio editing software, I recommend:


Step 3: Sign up for an account with Liberated Syndication

Go to and sign up for the “Libsyn Classic 50 + stats – $7.00/month” plan.  When you are signing up, you will be asked to provide a “Show Slug.”  This is part of the URL or link to your podcast.  I recommend using your name.  For example: frjonathan


Step 4: Publish your homily to

Once you log into, click the “Publish” button.  Enter a title and short description.  Upload your file.  Click the green “Publish” button.

Once the file has been published, it is now accessible at and the RSS feed to your podcast is

(To learn about what an RSS feed is, watch this video or read this Wikipedia entry)


Step 5: Set up the widget on your website

Now, we’ll embed the widget on your parish website, which will automatically pull in your podcast episodes from your RSS feed and allow the user to listen to your homilies directly on your parish website!  The best part about this is that it is automatic.  You never have to update your website after you get it set up.

Here’s the embed code, which you may copy/paste:

<script type="text/javascript"
<div id="mediaspace" style="border: 1px solid black; width: 620px;">
This text will be replaced</div>
<script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
  var so =
   new SWFObject('','mpl','620','400','9');

// ]]></script>

Simply embed the above code upon whatever webpage you would like for the player to appear.  Be sure to change yourname to the slug you picked in step 2 above.

Also, note that, in the embed code above, and are assets hosted at You may wish to download these two files and place them your web server. If you do, be sure to change the URLs to reflect the change. For example: http://yourdomain/foldername/swfobject.js or player.swf

The player will end up looking something like this:

If you would like to see an example of the above player in action, visit this link.


Step 6: Submit your podcast to iTunes

Many people search for and download podcasts from Apple’s iTunes library. They do this at (For an example, click here) or through the iTunes app on their Mac, PC, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, etc.

To submit your podcast to iTunes, first make sure that iTunes is installed on your computer. You can get it at

  1. Launch iTunes.
  2. In the left navigation column, click on iTunes Store to open the store.
  3. Once the store loads, click on Podcasts along the top navigation bar to go to the Podcasts page.
  4. In the right column of the Podcasts page, click on the Submit a Podcast link.
  5. Follow the instructions on the Submit a Podcast page.


Step 7: Setup email subscription through Feedburner

Google’s Feedburner service allows for free email subscription to any RSS feed.

  1. Create a free Feedburner account at and log in.
  2. Enter your RSS feed link and click the “Next” button like this:
  3. Keep hitting the “Next” buttons to advance through various screens until you reach a success message like this:
  4. Click the “Publicize” tab.
  5. Click the “Email Subscriptions” link.
  6. Click the “Activate” button.
  7. Follow the detailed instructions you are presented with!

Those instructions in Step #7 above will show you how to embed an email subscription widget in your parish website so visitors can easily give their email address and click a “subscribe” button to get on the email notification list.  You will also be given a link that you can email folks, which when clicked upon, brings you to the same email subscription form.


Step 8: Get the Word Out!

Last, but not least… tell anyone and everyone about your new podcast! Toot your horn and let folks know they can listen to it on the website, subscribe by RSS feed or email, and even find it and listen to it through iTunes.

Finally, pour yourself a drink to celebrate your accomplishment in getting Jesus’ Word out the world.

How to Download a YouTube Video

Have you ever seen an outstanding video on a webpage (e.g., on YouTube) and wanted to download it so you could show it to a group of people later, when you don’t have access to an Internet connection? Watch this tutorial:

By downloading a video to your disk drive, you can then view or show it when you do not have an Internet connection. A case-in-point would be to show a video like this one to a group of Confirmation students by connecting your laptop to a television or to a digital video projector (as well as a pair of external computer speakers).