Saturday, September 6, 2014

My Idea for a New Website

I'm increasingly dissatisfied with this blog. Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for all the readers it's gleaned and all the opportunities it's given me to write about the things I care about, and to have people read my writing. I'm especially grateful that my poetry and stories have found an audience through it. But I really feel I'm treading water after a few years. The readership doesn't grow and I feel I'm becoming repetitive with my posting.

I was in Switzerland and France last week, for my niece's wedding, and while I was there I had an idea for a new website. I want to run it by my readers here to see what they think and to see whether anyone could help at all. I should say right out that I don't expect this website to make money unless it's in the long-term.

The idea came to me when I was sitting with my wife in a restaurant in Evians-les-Bains, after attending a Marc Chagall exhibition. We had just been in Switzerland to attend my niece's wedding. Myself and my wife met on Catholic Match, a Catholic dating website. (One of the benefits of Catholic Match is that it makes everyone answer seven questions of fidelity to Church teaching, so you can know how serious someone is about his or her Catholic faith.) It occurred to me that it would be good to have a similar website, but of a purely social nature. (I suppose romance could blossom from the social aspect, but that would not be the intention, nor would it be aimed at man-woman friendships in particular.) My initial idea was that it would be good to have a website where Catholics could private message each other, and maybe-- if they lived near each other-- meet for either social purposes or for prayer groups, discussion and so forth.

More and more ideas started coming to me as I munched on a cheese and meat fondue and sipped white wine. The site could be a portal to the whole Irish internet. It could have, not only links to as many Irish Catholic blogs as I could find-- and there aren't really all that many-- but introductions to each one, and a round-up of recent blog activity.

I like the idea of it being collaborative, of using contributions from readers. For instance, there would be an oral history section where people, old and young, could post their memories of Catholic education, first Communions, going to Mass, pilgrimages, and so forth. It could be an archive of the Irish Catholic experience over the generations.

I am very keen on having a sacred art section where readers could contribute poems, paintings, photographs, and other devotional works of art.

There could be a directory of places to pray-- the Mass times listings on the Irish Bishops' website is great, but it doesn't tell you when the various churches are open outside Mass times. I think building this up would be very useful.

There could be movie, TV, radio and book reviews.

There would be an online book of intentions, with (perhaps) particular intentions highlighted.

There could possibly be a forum, though I understand it's difficult to get a forum to take off and a dormant forum looks terrible.

And, of course, there would be ordinary articles and blog posts to provide a focus and a day-by-day life to it.

The thing is, I would definitely need a webmaster for this. I have no particular talent with computers. And this is the kind of site that could definitely not be done through Blogger or any similar platform.

So, if anyone out there knows anything about web design and feels like volunteering their talents, drop me a line. And I'm interested to know if anyone thinks this is a good idea in general.

My provisional title for the site is Build Each Other Up("Therefore encourage one another and build each other up", 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Anyway, if this doesn't materialize, I will keep up with the blog, which I will probably keep up anyway. But I do feel a restlessness to do something else.


  1. Welcome, Jackie! Probably won't be posting much for a while but I hope the archives are worth a trawl!

  2. Stupidly late, but I actually really like this idea. So kind of like a social network for Catholics? Or slightly different?

  3. Well, a social network and more. That was my idea. Nothing came of it in the end though.