Key changes here at CatholicCulture.org
Several of us have been working very hard in recent weeks to alleviate two problems which would otherwise have a serious impact on CatholicCulture.org’s ability to maintain optimum levels of service to its users. (And, no, this is not a fundraising message; it is a strategic update.)
New servers and systems
The first and most straightforward change as far as our users are concerned is that we are on the verge of moving our entire operation to a new set of servers with the latest software systems for our security, database system, and the website itself. Late last year, I observed that our principal software components were nearing the end of their lifecycle—meaning that soon they would not be eligible for updates which fix bugs and plug new-found security holes. Consequently, we contracted with our hosting company to prepare brand new, more powerful, and completely updated servers for CatholicCulture.org.
The process of replicating our regular operations on the new servers is nearly complete. It remains for me to go into the new servers this week and perform an extensive examination and testing sequence. This will tell me anything that remains to be done, in preparation for switching in the new servers for the old. The result will be better performance and even higher security levels, with years of further system and security updates freely available.
There will be a short period of downtime during the final switchover, but I’ll announce in advance when this will occur.
New customer service and fundraising
I’ve been mentioning off and on for a few years now that the time had come to offload some of the work I do for CatholicCulture.org, since I wear too many hats that would fall off and float away on the inescapably turbulent waters should my health suddenly worsen. I will turn 73 this month. Given reasonably good health, I should be able to continue writing for CatholicCulture.org for some years, and also continue to play a significant role in guiding its mission. But I cannot long combine those two tasks with full responsibility for technical development, programming, customer service and fundraising.
We are now taking an important step in the last two areas, customer service and fundraising. James T. Majewski—who has been serving as the voice actor for Catholic Culture Audiobooks, co-hosting Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, and managing our social media presence—is now expanding his role in our operations. Highly personable, in his early 30s with a young family, and possessing a keen intelligence nourished by a thoroughly Catholic education, James is in the process of taking over our customer service even as I write, and will take over the nuts and bolts of fundraising as we move into the period of the Spring Campaign this year.
I will introduce James more thoroughly to all of our users in upcoming messages, as well as making sure he has ample opportunities to speak for himself.
The need for new leadership
It is vitally important to have younger staff involved in these operations, so that we can bring new ideas and a more energetic engagement to all our communications with our users, from responding to inquiries and solving problems to shaping and executing more effective development campaigns.
If we undertake an effective transition to new leadership in these areas and in the others I mentioned above, carefully and patiently over the next few years, CatholicCulture.org will be in a great position to continue serving the next generation of deeply-committed Catholics—Catholics who want nothing more than to grow in their Faith, to understand and respond effectively to the challenges we face amid the growing hostility of a secular world, and to participate in a vital and necessary renewal of our beloved Church.
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