Catholic Conference launches new website

Published on January 10th, 2012

The New York State Catholic Conference today launched a completely redesigned website. The site, at, is more dynamic and user friendly, houses more information, and provides a more contemporary user experience in general than the previous site.

At the same time, the Conference is changing the dominant color of its logo from green to scarlet red and changing the name of its 67,000-member advocacy network from the Catholic Advocacy Network to the Catholic Action Network.

“All of the changes we are making are intended to give a better sense of our mission and who we are as an organization,” said Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference. “But most important, the changes are intended to strengthen the connection between Catholic New Yorkers and their Church and Bishops. This is particularly so with the new website.”

Funding for the website came from grants from the Chiaroscuro Foundation and from the Order of Malta, American Association, as well as from contributions from Catholic Action Network members. It was designed by Behan Communications of Glens Falls, N.Y.

“While primarily focused on our public policy advocacy mission, the new site is intended to be much more,” said Dennis Poust, director of communications for the Conference. “It is a Catholic portal that serves as a ‘one-stop shopping’ experience for visitors. Whether you are looking for the Bishops’ position on a bill before the legislature, trying to find a nearby Catholic parish or school, information on pursuing a religious vocation, or seeking diocesan, statewide, national or international news, you can start at our site and get to where you need to be.”

The site includes in-depth explanations about the bishops’ legislative agenda issues, and will include Catholic Conference testimony, bill memos and other supporting materials. The news section now not only has Conference press releases, but continuously updating RSS feeds from Catholic News Service and several of the state’s diocesan newspapers. A section called “My Catholic Life” includes links to Catholic Charities, diocesan vocations offices, respect life links and much more. Blogs on Catholic education and respect life, written by Catholic Conference staff, are another new feature of the site.

As for the change in logo color, Poust explained, “Scarlet red is the liturgical color associated with the Feast of the Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles as tongues of fire after the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. For us, the color is a constant reminder that we are to be guided by the Holy Spirit in our work, and that we are representing the Bishops, who are the successors to the Apostles. Furthermore, it is the color worn by cardinals in the Church, historically as a reminder that they must be willing to shed their blood for the faith. Traditionally, the Archbishop of New York is a cardinal. Providentially, Pope Benedict XVI announced Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan’s elevation just this past Friday, so the timing is very appropriate.”

Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of the Catholic Action Network, explained the network name change saying, “Catholic Action Network simply flows off the tongue easier, and it better conveys what our network members do. Advocacy is a vague term, but everyone knows what action means, and what we are asking our network members to do is to take action – call or write their legislators, visit district offices, register to vote, write letters to the editor of their hometown newspapers, and be a presence here on our Catholics at the Capitol lobby day. The name may be changing but the network will function exactly the same as before.”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in matters of public policy.

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