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.