Interactive CD-ROM breaks new ground in church logistics

CHARLESTON —Parishes now have an innovative and time-saving approach to planning new buildings, thanks to some forward- thinking work by Michael J. Gocsik, secretary of stewardship and mission advancement for the Diocese of Charleston.

Gocsik conceived the idea of creating an interactive CD-ROM that covers the building and renovation guidelines for the diocese. It provides all the materials that a parish, school, or mission needs to understand the processes of building a church, school or other parish facility and to progress with the project.

The light bulb went off for Gocsik while attending the Form/Reform Conference in Houston last year. The conference is a biannual, national event on environment and art for Catholic worship that explores the issues that a faith community needs to address in building or renovating a place of worship. It is sponsored by the Georgetown Center for Liturgy at Georgetown University.

“The CD can be used in pastoral planning and master planning for projects today and in the future,” Gocsik said. “It contains ‘Built of Living Stones,’ the guidelines for building churches from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the diocesan guidelines for building and renovating church edifices in South Carolina, a tutorial on how to conduct a capital campaign, as well as various samples of the financial schedules.”

The CD also has examples of parish master plans and many other documents that can be printed out or viewed at the parish level instead of being mailed by the Diocese of Charleston Building and Renovation Commission, thus saving money.

“As we are more stewardship conscious at the diocesan level, this will dramatically reduce the amount of paper we use and the cost of mailing large packets to parishes,” Gocsik said.

All parishes will receive one of the discs. Gocsik said they should be in churches by the end of the month.

“This will be a great asset to the Building and Renovation Commission and to the priests of the diocese so that they can view the processes extensively,” said Msgr. James A. Carter, commission chairman. “This has condensed considerably lengthy documents. I just hope that people will use it. It doesn’t do much good sitting on the shelf.”

The CD-ROM was narrated by Maria A. Aselage of the Office of Communications and was produced by Sexton and Associates, a multimedia company. Parishes interested in receiving more than one disc should contact Kathy Sweeney of the Building and Renovations Commission at (843) 884-5587.