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By John Bookser Feister

E-Newsletters: The Web in Your Inbox


Inspiration and Information
Good News, Bad News
Web Pick
Check Out

Many Web publishers are using the Internet’s earliest and most widespread tool to extend their reach. E-mail newsletters help bring the message of the Web directly to your inbox daily, weekly or whenever.

E-mail discussion lists—including ones targeted at Church professionals—have been up and running since the 1980s. Participants have used e-mail to argue the issues of the day, share resources, make connections. The new kid on the block is the e-newsletter tied directly to a Web site.

It’s more of a one-way street—you receive it and learn what’s happening on a Web site. It can be a handy way to stay in touch without having to remember to stop back at the Web site constantly. If a Web site has an e-newsletter, you’ll find instructions on how to sign up at the Web site.

Inspiration and Information

We will soon be seeing more e-newsletters from parish Web sites. Some now have the weekly homily text, parishioners’ prayer intentions or simply parish announcements.

Other e-newsletters seek a broader audience, some to inform, some to inspire, some to sell products. One of my favorites is the Daily e-pistle (, which includes the day’s readings from the liturgy. is an outreach of St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. Their weekly e-newsletter not only tells what’s new for Catholic youth on the site, but, true to the Benedictine emphasis on liturgy, also has a list of daily and Sunday readings.

This site features the monthly e-newsletter Friar Jack’s E-Spirations, with musings about Franciscan spirituality from Jack Wintz, O.F.M.

Good News, Bad News

The good news about e-newsletters is that, once you sign up, they come to you without any effort on your part. The bad news is most people can only handle a few of these newsletters at a time without suffering “inbox fatigue”—e-mail overload.

The trick might well be to rotate among your favorites—or to establish an e-mail account devoted entirely to this less critical e-mail.

Web Pick
New ways to use the Web as an instrument of God are constantly emerging. The Carmelites of Indianapolis publish this site where you can read a current news event and then pray about it after considering the perspectives of six contemplatives who have posted their comments.

Check Out

Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, California, features a lively collection of parish information, resources, homilies on tape and online, and a section that features “Spiritual Stars of the Last Thousand Years.”

This resource comes from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and is chock-full of inspiring and informative features, including, not surprisingly, a rich Bible-study section. The site includes personal faith testimonials and much about Lutheranism.

Vatican Information Service is the official news agency of the Holy See. This is the place to find news releases from the Vatican, in addition to day-to-day reports on the activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia. There are links to other Vatican media services, such as Vatican Radio.


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