The Diocese of Erie covers 13 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania. The diocese has existed since the mid-1800s, forming just after the War of 1812. It was a frontier diocese and remains the largest diocese, geographically, in Pennsylvania, covering just over 10,000 square miles. The 13 counties comprising their territory are a diverse mixture of urban, mid-size cities, and rural areas.
With a Catholic population of about 195,000, the diocese has 92 active diocesan priests, several religious communities, retired diocesan priests, and deacons. The Diocese of Erie is the curia of their parishes and communities. A curia is an official body that governs an entity within the Catholic Church. Part of that means that they are the administrator of all records.
Deacon Frank Hannah is the vice-chancellor, ecclesiastical notary, and secretary of the Curia. With a heavy background in banking and a specialty in bank loan protection and consumer protection, Deacon Frank was keeping track of trends and making sure the solutions they were using at the bank were sophisticated enough to keep their data safe. Because of his background, the transition from keeping the technology used in his previous position updated to using MinistryPlatform in his current position has been a good one. He is still implementing new software and is considered a project manager in his current role(s).
MinistryPlatform was already in place when Deacon Frank joined the staff at the diocese. However, they were still in the process of implementation. He assumed the responsibility for administration and project management and completed the punch list of things that needed to happen to utilize it fully. He was charged with strategically positioning MinistryPlatform to help solve what they needed or wanted to do as a diocese.
“One of the things I’ve been refining here is ensuring that the solution doesn’t drive our effort and what we do. We determine what we will do, and then we utilize MinistryPlatform to its highest and best uses.” Deacon Frank Hannah, Vice-Chancellor
The diocese is currently moving from an antiquated, clunky, decentralized data management system to a centralized data management environment. It can be challenging for people to grasp, especially when they have yet to be exposed to this level of technology and change. It is easy to lose sight of the needs and wants of your parish when the data is decentralized.
“A parish is not necessarily the building where you go to Mass, but it’s a geography, so even in geography, you may have non-Catholics; they’re still part of your parish. He (the Bishop or pastor) is still there for them. You still ensure that the widows and the children are cared for just like Scripture says.” – Deacon Frank Hannah, Vice-Chancellor.
Deacon Frank says, “Compared to MinistryPlatform, other programs are glorified file cabinets. They don’t interact with parish members or other programs nicely. However, the way MinistryPlatform is built affords us the ability to think in terms of it being a tool to track and to interact in the Christian lifecycle from birth to death, and gives us the ability to stay connected and engaged in ways that were not possible before.”
MinistryPlatform has allowed the Diocese of Erie to move to a centralized system built to work for their specific needs while allowing them to understand and connect with their parishioners.
To learn more about MinistryPlatform, click here.
To learn more about the Diocese of Erie, click here.