Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Subscriber Resource Center Announcements


One easy-to-overlook feature of the J. S. Paluch Subscriber Resource Center (SRC) is the Announcements panel that appears at the top of every page. This is where we can inform you about the latest information, updates, and uploads that you need to know about. Sometimes it’s the only place where we feel we can reach all of our bulletin customers.

Of course, because it’s always there, it can recede into the background and become easy to miss. But if there is something you want to know about, such as a new bishop in your diocese, or whether covers are available that address an important event, or whether the stewardship appeal information for your diocese has been posted, this is the place for you to check first.

So make a habit of checking this space at the top of the page whenever you log in to the SRC, and you’ll always be up on the latest information that you need for your bulletin.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Three-column layouts

One of the most common questions that our bulletin trainers receive revolves around easy ways to redo the bulletin layout. A favorite suggestion of ours is changing to a 3-column layout. 

To change your page grid to 3-columns in Microsoft Publisher, click on the Page Design tab and click on margins, then click custom margins. The window below will display your column guides. Change to 3-columns to get started on your new layout. In the examples below, you will see how we use this 3-column format to create a foundation for building a new design. 

The first example shows a two-page spread with simple frames aligned to complement the layout of the opposing page. Color blocks and simple borders break the information for easy reading while creating an appealing design. 

The thinner column on the right page is used for repetitive information such as staff names, Sacraments and phone numbers. An added benefit of placing this information on an inside page is that it frees up space on the cover that could be used for timely information like Scripture readings, special observances, or a beautiful image from the Subscriber Resource Center at 


Our next sample, seen below, is an example of overlapping frames. The page is visually interesting and considered a more modern look with the gradient screen and sans-serif headings.

The Fall Festival Raffle frame has a different color green than the rest of the page and it overlaps into the Deacon letter. Both of these elements, along with the over-sized graphic, help make it attention-grabbing to the reader.

The use of white space on this page is also a key design element. It allows for the frames to overlap but doesn’t make the page look “crowded.”


There are many simple elements that you can pull into your layout to freshen up your design. Will a three-column layout work for your bulletin? 

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!