Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Build a Parish Message Board

As we all know too well, one of the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic has been to create major dislocations in the lives of just about everyone. Orders to shelter in place and limit the size of gatherings have greatly diminished the amount of social interaction that we encounter every day. Parish communities have been affected by these restrictions as well. Even with churches cautiously reopening, many parishioners are staying away from public worship out of concern for their own health as well as the safety of others. While many parishes have been able to provide online streaming of their Masses, these are not a substitute for the direct personal experience of gathering with the other members of your community on a regular basis. In response to this situation, parish communities have had to be creative in finding ways to rebuild that missing sense of community.

One parish has come up with the idea of using the parish bulletin as a kind of parish message board. They admit that the idea was inspired by the message board at a local bar, where a patron can buy a beer for someone who isn’t there at the time and leave that person’s name on the board. When that other lucky patron arrives, they can check the message board, go to the bar, and enjoy the beer purchased for them perhaps days earlier. The parish staff reasoned that blank space going to waste in the parish bulletin could be used in a similar way to supply the missing sense of community because of the pandemic.

Here’s how the idea can work. Your agreement with J. S. Paluch is for a set number of pages in the weekly Sunday bulletin. With parish activities greatly diminished, there is the possibility of bulletin space going unused every week. This parish message board idea would use that space to allow parishioners to send messages to each other, or to the parish at large, as a way of making up for the lacking daily, Sunday morning, and weeknight interactions. The message could be a simple “We miss the cheerful greeting of Doris who sat behind us in the fourth pew at the 10 a.m. Mass.” Or maybe “How is Mr. Johnson doing after his surgery? Contact us at 555-1212.” Maybe it’s the announcement of a birth or a special birthday. Or just saying how much you miss Deacon Larry’s homilies. The possibilities are endless.

It might take a while to set up. A volunteer or someone on the parish staff could be designated to moderate the submissions for privacy issues and to keep the content appropriate. Announcements promoting the project could be made in the bulletin and during the streaming Masses. Maybe a special email address could be created just for the message board, or parishioners could phone in their messages to voicemail. Some parishioners could volunteer to send the first messages to get the ball rolling. Each parish can develop its own approach and refine it over time. The result will be that parishioners can read messages from their neighbors in printed or online versions of their parish bulletin, and get at least a little sense of life in their parish home.

During these difficult times, human contact with our fellow parishioners is priceless. Why not give something like this a try in your parish? And when you can finally gather again, you’ll be able to continue building on the sense of community you’ve maintained during the long absence by means of this simple parish message board.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Not All PDFs Are Created Equal

Information for your weekly bulletin can come from various organizations and groups in your parish. Very often, this information is arriving in PDF format. However, not all PDFs are created equal. Luckily, it is only a few steps to incorporate those outside PDFs into your document seamlessly. 

J.S. Paluch Co. has done extensive research and testing to determine the optimal settings for our pre-press system. The combination of Adobe® Acrobat® and JSP settings ensure that we can produce the highest quality printed bulletin for your parish.

PDF files produced in an application other than Adobe® Acrobat® with JSP settings can halt the production of your weekly bulletin. Does that mean everyone contributing to your bulletin needs the Adobe® Acrobat® program? No, it does not. As the bulletin editor, you have the capability to use the Adobe® Acrobat® program to save PDF files sent to you in different formats.

These simple instructions illustrate how to take a PDF file not created with the JSP settings and convert it into JPG for use with your bulletin file. 

1. Open the PDF file sent to you.


3. Select the directory and filename for this image, click Save

4. Open your bulletin document and go to the page where the new JPEG is to be inserted

5. Draw a new picture frame, or use INSERT > PICTURE > FROM FILE

6. Locate the JPEG image you converted from the PDF file. Click INSERT

Now the image is inserted right into your Publisher document and you can convert the entire file to PDF using the JSP settings. Please note, if the original PDF file sent to you has multiple pages, each page will be saved as its own JPEG file. For example, when converting a two-page PDF into an image, you will automatically make two separate JPEG files (page 1 and page 2).

To insert the entire file into your bulletin, you must repeat the steps for each JPEG image. Once you have inserted the JPEG images into your Publisher document, you can now create the PDF file as usual making sure to double-check that the JSP settings are listed as the default settings.

The added benefit of converting an outside PDF into a JPEG and then inserting into your Publisher document is that you have control over the margins when you insert the JPEG and can keep everything within the 1/2" margins necessary for printing. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Shortcuts for Busy Bulletin Editors

We all know that you can find anything on the Subscriber Resource Center (SRC) by searching on the All Resources page (or the “All” tab on the gray ribbon at the top of the page). But sometimes you want to work ahead a few weeks, or just have fast access to the materials that you use the most. Fortunately, there is a quick way to do just that for several commonly-used resources on the SRC.

If you need materials for any of the next four weeks, you can find them quickly on the Photo Covers page, the Weekly Text Pages page, the Thematic Resources page, and the Comics page. Just click on any of those titles when you first log in, or on their corresponding tabs (Covers, Text, Thematic, and Comics) in the gray ribbon at the top of the page, and you will be presented with a selection of only those items in English and Spanish for the upcoming week plus three more. And you can filter these results by language if you are so inclined. No other items to wade through, just the things you want.

For the Photo Covers, you can also narrow your selection by clicking on the Covers tab in the ribbon and selecting what kind of photo cover you want: Photo Covers (that’s all of them), Fullpage, Halfpage, Customizable, and Corners. 

Under Thematic Resources, you can choose the pre-formatted thematic items or the Scripture Banners.

For the Comics, the default is the next four weeks, but you can also choose to look at all the Pastor Al or Little Ones comics at once.

Zip in, zip out, and you’re done. If only grocery shopping were so easy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Color Your World

Color is a wonderful tool to have when preparing a print publication. Understanding the relationship between colors when mixing and matching is key to creating a professional layout. 

Primary colors are red, yellow and blue. When you combine two primary colors, you get complementary colors. For example, yellow and blue make green and blue and red make purple.

So, how do you know which colors you can mix and which combinations you should avoid? How colors complement or clash with one another can be explained by viewing a color wheel.

Adjacent colors, or those that appear next to one another on the color wheel, generally work well together. An example is yellow and green, which often look good together. However, adjacent colors can appear washed out if there is not enough contrast. In other words, if you pick a strong green, use a lighter yellow as your complementing color. This gives you colors that work well together but still have enough contrast. The same is true with blue and purple. They are adjacent colors and should work well together. However, in their purest hue, blue and purple are too alike. Using a hue of one color and a shade or tint of the other, however, can create a very attractive color combination.

Colors separated by another color on the color wheel are referred to as contrasting colors. Contrasting colors, such as orange and purple, are often too vibrant to be placed on the same page. They compete with one another and decrease readability.

Finally, colors directly opposite one another are the color wheel are clashing colors. However, even  with the negative connotation of the name, clashing colors, such as blue and yellow can be used together in the correct tints or shades to create high visibility. 


The appearance of color on your computer screen versus what your final printed bulletin looks like can be different. This is because computer screens use three colors to generate the screen image: Red, Green and Blue (RGB). You may notice that colors can even appear different from monitor to monitor depending upon contrast and brightness set by each user. The color model for printing is CMYK, which refers to the four colors used: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. These four colors mixed together  create all the colors that appear in your printed document. Both RGB and CMYK have limitations as to how “truly” they represent color. And ink has limitations as well. Oranges and Reds are typically the most difficult to match.

Because of the variation of color models, you may notice slight variations in how your bulletin looks on screen versus the printed copy you receive. This is normal and to be expected. It may take time to experiment with shades and tints to achieve the desired effect in your printed bulletin. When selecting colors, be sure to choose from the Pantone® color wheel rather than the standard color wheel. Your printed bulletin will most closely match Pantone®, or process colors, as those colors correspond
more closely to ink colors.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Saint Snippets

What do you know about the saints? Chances are you can learn something about more than one hundred saints if you put weekly “Saint Snippets” in your Sunday bulletin. These charming little features provide a one-line biography and quote from a Saint or Blessed whose feast day falls during the week of the current bulletin. You’ll also see an eye-catching (and lovingly whimsical) portrait of each saint to go with the bio and quote. There are familiar saints and obscure ones, new ones and old ones, and plenty of opportunities to find out a little something new about each one.

What’s more, these brightly-colored items are intended to be cut out of the bulletin (hence the name “Snippets”) and collected together or posted on your refrigerator as a reminder to pray to the saints every day. Loving grandparents and aunts and uncles can cut them out and send them to grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

You can find a Saint Snippet (or Recortes de los Santos) in English or Spanish on every Sunday in the J.S. Paluch Subscriber Resource Center (SRC). Just scroll down until you see them on your screen (they’re hard to miss). They are also available in black and white for those bulletin pages that require it. And if you want to see the Snippets all at once, just go to the Mary/Saints tab on the ribbon at the top of the page and click on Saint Snippets.

Put a Saint Snippet in your bulletin today, and start snipping!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

What's In a Name?

Certainly Shakespeare said it best when he penned "What's in a name. . . ?" Dare we be so bold as to imitate this literary genius to call attention to the importance of the name given to your bulletin file? We do dare! 

How you name your file is vitally important to our production staff being able to process your bulletin quickly and correctly. When saving your PDF bulletin to transmit for printing, please be sure to use your unique, six-digit bulletin number. 

This number helps route your file to the correct printing facility. It helps us match your ad page to your copy page(s). The number accompanies your file from pre-press to printing press, and then it assists us with shipping the file back to you. 

An inside peek to the production department will show you files received with names like "bulletin" or "22nd Sunday." You can see how these naming conventions put a halt to our work flow as we have to put on our detective hats to figure out which "bulletin" belongs to which parish. 

Remember that when you transmit your bulletin via the upload site, you do key in your six-digit bulletin number. This is merely a "login" screen and that number does not travel with your file. The name that you use when converting your bulletin to PDF, however, does travel from transmitting to shipping. So please be sure to put that six-digit bulletin number in the name of your bulletin. Shakespeare would approve!


Why So Serious? 

Who says everything included in your weekly bulletin has to be so serious? This year, more than ever, it seems we could use something to giggle over. Wouldn’t it be great to include a religious-themed cartoon like Pastor Al or The Little Ones to give your readers a chuckle?

These lighthearted cartoons can be found on our Subscriber Resource Center at Simply click the COMICS tab on the ribbon to explore the funnies. 

Additionally, one of each of the comics series is pre-selected for each Sunday and can be found on the regular Sunday page (just keep scrolling as they are typically toward the end)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Titles of Mary

Sometimes when you are looking for just the right thing to put in your bulletin, it’s good to offer something from the vast tradition of the Church. One of the gems that we offer in the J. S. Paluch Subscriber Resource Center is a collection of images and articles about the many titles of the Blessed Mother.

There are, in fact, 49 images, each with a matching brief description (usually just a couple of sentences, available in English and Spanish) explaining that title of Mary. That’s one for almost every Sunday of the year! The simple line-art drawings and descriptions can be used together or separately.

You can find these resources by clicking on Mary and the Saints, and then selecting Titles of Mary in the drop-down box.

The images and descriptions are listed here in liturgical-year order, starting with the December feasts. You can connect the images and descriptions by matching the number that appears in the file names. So, for example, the image mary42.tif goes with English or Spanish article e-mary42.rtf or s-mary42.rtf.

Looking for Mary on or near a particular date? Hover your mouse over the image and look at the keywords that appear in the pop-up preview. The date associated with that image is listed among the keywords. Similarly, you can see the date associated with a particular article by clicking on (Preview).

Take some time this week to browse through this collection of information about our Blessed Mother. You never know what you (and your parishioners) might learn!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Common Bulletin Layout Mistakes

For most of us, preparing the weekly bulletin isn’t our only job responsibility. It is just one in a long list of tasks for the week. It can be easy to fall into the habit of doing the same thing week after week in the interest of checking the task off of our weekly to-do list.  However, if we view the weekly bulletin as what it truly is - a vital tool in your parish communication ministry - then we can see that the extra effort is worth it.

The number one mission of our layout is to effectively communicate the written word. Design mishaps can hinder the message by creating clutter and confusion. Periodically examining your layout for design pitfalls can help keep the focus on your message. 

1. All Boxed In. Desktop Publishing applications give us a wondrous collection of border art and rule lines. It can be tempting to use them. Do so sparingly, however. If every article on your page has a border, nothing really stands out on the page and you have lost the opportunity to pull your reader’s attention to a specific article.

2.  Font Overload. Again, there are so many choices but as far as fonts go, less is better.

3.  Underlining. Many of us recall when the bulletin was prepared on a typewriter and one of the few ways to call attention to text was to underline it. In today’s world, underlining is typically reserved for hyperlinks.

4. Dark Shading. Color (or grayscale) text frames certainly pull your readers attention and are great for headings or small blurbs of text. Dark text on a darkly colored text frame is difficult to read.

5. Low Resolution Graphics. Be cautious when downloading images from the internet. First and foremost, be aware of whether or not you have permission to use a graphic. Copyright information for the website will inform you whether or not certain images are available for reprinting. We strongly encourage you to utilize the graphics on our Subscriber Resource Center at Also, graphics reproduce best at 300dpi (dots per inch.) Often images copied from the internet are low resolution (72dpi) for quick viewing on the web. These images are not meant for print publications and can look blurry in your printed document.

Simple changes can make a dramatic change to your bulletin layout and ensure that your message comes across professionally. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Photographic Clip-art

For years, J. S. Paluch has provided the kind of art known as “clip-art” to help you call attention to calendar dates and parish events. There are hundreds and hundreds of images in the Subscriber Resource Center that look like the ones you see here.

Two years ago, we embarked on a project to update the art that we use for these categories with photographic images. We are very proud of the results of our work, which we call “photographic clip-art.”

These are just some of the images that are available to you this year in color and black & white, in English and Spanish, and some without words. A new set of photographic clip-art images has been created for the coming year, and you’ll be able to see them starting with the Advent materials.

Several of these new-style images are available every Sunday, and the original line-art stand-bys are still just a keyword search away. (And remember, just because an image is listed on a particular Sunday doesn’t mean you can’t use it any other time!) Be sure to take the time each week to browse these fresh new images. We think you’ll like what you see.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Mighty Template

In the hustle and bustle of a busy church day, it may seem easier to begin a new bulletin from last week’s file. However, using the same file over and over can cause problems. The file can become corrupt. Text frames can slip outside the margins. Background layers that you didn’t realize were there can “peek” through in the final PDF file.

Consider these questions regarding how you prepare the weekly bulletin:

Q: Do you have a template file?

A: The best way to begin a new bulletin is from a clean template file that contains only the essential elements of your bulletin, ie. margins, columns, and repetitive information like Mass Schedule, offertory, sick lists, etc. Keep your template file clean by renaming it with the current Sunday’s date before typing and saving any weekly information to it. This will ensure that you always have a clean file to start from in upcoming weeks.

Q: Is the scratch area around your page overflowing?

A: That gray area around your Publisher document page is meant for the temporary storage of images or text frames while you work on the design. The more you store out there in the scratch area, the larger your file size becomes over time. Consider placing items that you want to have handy for future reference into the Content Library or Building Block section of Microsoft® Publisher®. The information is still available in any document you work in, but it isn’t weighing down your bulletin file. 


Save Your Bulletins

One of the benefits of being a J.S. Paluch bulletin subscriber is that we will take a year’s worth of your printed bulletins and bind them into a beautiful, hard back book to keep for your parish archives. Below is a review of some of our most frequently asked questions regarding these bound books.

Can we get more than one book per year?   
YES! J.S. Paluch will provide the first book free of charge.     
Additional books may be purchased at a cost of $50.00 per book.

Do I have to send a complete year in for binding?
That is your decision. If your contract begins in June, you can
send us June - December and we’ll bind that. If you prefer to wait and send us June - June, we’ll bind that instead.

Can we include inserts/flyers? 
Yes, but they are best kept to a minimum as there is only so much space available in a book. Flyers should also match the bulletin size. Please do not include newspaper or cardboard as it makes the binding difficult. Also, please remove ALL staples.

Are there special instructions we should include when submitting bulletins?  Yes. Please indicate how you would like the title of the book to appear, ie. “Saint Joseph Parish” or “St. Joseph Church,” etc. Including a picture of the spine of a previous book for us to match is also a good suggestion. 

How long does it take to receive our bound book?  Typically, it takes from 1 to 6 months to receive your bound book. Books are prepared on a first come, first served basis.

Is there a deadline to submit bulletins? 
No, you may submit bulletins to be bound at any time throughout the year.

Missing Bulletins?
Print out your PDF file and include those with the bulletins so that you have a complete year. J.S. Paluch does not keep copies of printed bulletins. 

Where should we send the bulletins? 
A set of bulletins to be bound may be sent to your local JSP office or can be sent directly to: 
Hortencia Guerrero 
JS Paluch Company, Inc. 
3708 River Road, Ste 400
Franklin Park, IL 60131

Questions can be directed to Hortencia at 847-233-2935.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Letters from Heaven

We at J.S. Paluch are proud of the variety of resources that we offer to you who do the hard work of creating bulletins every week. You can choose from photographic covers, original art, informative articles, and even scripture puzzles. Letters from Heaven is a weekly feature that invites your readers to test their scripture knowledge and their puzzle-solving skills. In each puzzle, the reader has to finish a sentence selected from the scriptures for current week, using the letters in a four-by-four box. The trick is to trace a path through the letters without skipping or repeating any in order to complete the phrase. For a simple-looking exercise, it’s harder than it looks, and surprisingly satisfying when you get it. And, of course, the answer is provided if you get stuck.

The puzzles don’t take up much room, and can be a rewarding family or solo activity at a time when many people are still spending a lot of time at home. Consider making these puzzles a regular feature of your bulletins—your parishioners will start looking forward to them! 

Letters from Heaven are available in the Subscriber Resource Center in color or black and white. You can scroll down to them on any Sunday, or find them with the keyword “puzzles.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Writer In You

There is no denying that your weekly bulletin is a vital communication tool used to relay important and timely information to your parishioners and visitors. If your parish does not have a newsletter or website, it may be the only form of communication most parishioners are exposed to other than pulpit announcements. Are you making the  most of it?
Here are a few simple tips:

  • Grammar and Punctuation. We’ve all heard it before and that is because it is true. Your reader will get hung up on grammatical errors and poor punctuation. Your message could get overlooked as a result. Solution: Have someone else double-check your work and always run spell-check.
  • Don’t be so serious all the time. Humor or a lighthearted writing style go a long way toward keeping people interested. Readers tend to get bored just reading about times, dates, and meetings. Find your inner funny and use it to get your message across. Share God’s Good News with a positive, infectious and even humorous writing style.
  • Use more than one voice. Enlist other staff members to contribute recurring articles as a way of giving a different voice to your publication. Invite the Pastor, Director of Religious Education, Youth Minister - anyone with a message to share - and rotate their contributing articles. It keeps content fresh and your readers engaged. 
Layout and design are important features that help you create a polished and professional publication. Ultimately, the message is the most important element in any bulletin. Happy writing! 


OneParish Online Giving

Grow your online donations 
Our parishes are now discovering how a better online giving system can make a huge difference. 

Using our new OneParish* Online Giving, they have seen significant growth in online giving. Many of these parishes already had online giving but switching to a better tool led to more and happier donors.

What makes our system better? Check out how we combined technology and neuroscience to create a better giving experience for your parishioners:

Start today using this simple process:
1.     Direct your parishioners to give via or the OneParish app.
2.     We will send you the donations via check and a report every 2–3 weeks.
3.     Continue sharing the link via Facebook, email, and other channels every 5–10 days. Most people need to be asked at least five times before they say yes to a donation.

If you prefer direct deposit or have any other questions, contact or 574-347-8851.

          * OneParish is a J.S. Paluch company.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Art of Cerezo Barredo

One of the treasures you will find every week in the Subscriber Resource Center (SRC) is the art of Maximino Cerezo Barredo. He is a Spanish Claretian priest and artist who was assigned to Peru in 1970. During the ensuing years he served in various Latin American countries, absorbing the culture of the region and becoming its artistic spokesperson. His striking images take the Gospels proclaimed each Sunday and illustrate them from the perspective of contemporary life in Latin America. Some of his images are heartbreaking.

Sometimes they are playful, and often they are quite moving as they speak to the poverty and oppression as well as the simple joy of the people who live in Latin America. Here, in the image for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, he illustrates the verse “although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the little ones.”

One web site that hosts his art says: “There are liberation theologians . . . and there are “liberation painters.” Maximino Cerezo Barredo is one of them. His drawings have been running, during the past decades, through Latin American publications and passing from one to the other without copyrights or royalties, from photocopy to photocopy until they wear out and become almost unrecognizable . . . as true ‘property of the Latin American People’ that they are.”

We have obtained from the artist high-resolution versions of these images for all the Sundays of the liturgical year, and many of the feasts. They are available for you to enjoy, admire, and meditate upon as you share them with your parishioners. There is at least one image of his every week of the year. If you are on the “This Sunday” page of the SRC, you can scroll down to search for the image (his style is quite recognizable), or you can use “Cerezo” as a keyword to find it immediately. On the “All Resources” page, you can execute a keyword search like “Ordinary Time 14, Year A, Cerezo” to find the image for any particular Sunday, or just enter the artist’s name, “Cerezo Barredo,” to see all his works for the current year. Take some time to explore Cerezo’s work—you’ll be glad you did!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Our Commitment to Green

Doing Our Part

As we try to be good stewards of God’s creation, the J.S. Paluch Company strives to lessen our impact on our world’s natural resources. We have taken important steps to save on paper, boxes, and fuel costs used for shipping. We do all of this in an effort reduce our company’s carbon footprint.

We hope that you also will consider ways to help us protect our environment. Please review the following suggestions:

  • Routinely check quantity shipped and make reductions whenever possible while making sure your distribution is not affected. Seasonal reductions are helpful. If you need fewer quantities during the summer months, let us know on your Information Page when you upload your bulletin.
  • Try to minimize the number of pages in your bulletin.Examine how line spacing and font size can save space. Our training staff can help you to learn ways to reduce space without hindering readership.
If you have any further suggestions or ideas to help us in this effort, please let us know. We are in this together.


                                        Staying In Touch

JS Paluch routinely sends out e-mail announcements regarding new resources, supplemental bulletins, and holiday deadlines.

It is important that we always have your current e-mail and contact information to pass along these important messages. Please keep us posted when you have a change of staff (bulletin editor) or change of office e-mail address. 

Our upload website now has an easy way to update our offices with a change of address. 


Prepare for Transmission

Before transmitting your bulletin for printing, please review this checklist to ensure the following:

þ Verify that all text, headers, footers, and graphics are within the required half-inch margin. 

þ Verify that the correct naming convention is used when saving the document file. Please use the six-digit bulletin number + Sunday’s date.

þ Verify that you are using the JSP settings when converting your file into PDF. After selecting your Adobe PDF printer, click on Printer Properties to confirm that the Default Settings are listed as JSP. Also, once the PDF file is created, the Ctrl + D function will bring up your document properties, where you can double-check that all fonts have been embedded into your PDF file by clicking on the Font tab.

þ Verify that the information on your Information Page is correct and up to date, especially the bulletin quantity. 

Reviewing these steps each week will help ensure that the bulletin file is ready for print.