Because sharing is good for everyone.

  • Video: The Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI

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  • Free the Word - Allowing Access to Evangelical Church Texts

    Brandon Vogt has posted a petition on his website titled Free the Word: Why the Church Needs to Release Her Teachings to the World. I’ve posted on Open Source Catholic about the same topic in the past (see the links at the bottom of this post), and I’m glad to see this getting more attention.

    The problem: Right now, many of the faithful are being restricted from fully sharing Scripture and other teachings of the Church in the most effective ways. We need to be flooding the world with the lumen fidei—the light of faith—yet there are current Church policies preventing this from happening. The current licensing policies for the most essential texts and teachings of the Church (e.g. the Bible, the Catechism, encyclicals, etc.) are making it difficult, expensive, or impossible for Catholics to fairly reproduce and share them. This well-meaning but imprudent policy is directly hampering the Church's evangelistic mission.

    More entries on OSC relating to open access to Church texts:

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  • Commenting now requires registration

    Just a quick note: I’ve disabled anonymous commenting, since it seems the site’s finally been targeted by a more dedicated breed of spammers. Even the 1-2 punch of Mollom and Honeypot haven’t been deterring these ‘generic drugs for cheap’ spammers lately.

    Basically, though, you need an account on OSC to comment from this point forward—most of the real comments came from logged-in users anyways, and I may consider allowing Facebook/Google/OpenID logins in the future anyways, so this shouldn’t be a burden on anyone, hopefully.

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  • Developing a Drupal solution for a Diocese (+ e-learning, crm, event management, integrated parish sites)

    Dear faith filled friends of Drupal,

    I work with new technologies for the Diocese of Plymouth, UK. We are contemplating an exciting project to move our Diocesan website onto a Drupal platform. We would like to not just use the website to present some content to the world, but to really model who and what makes up our Diocese and to use the website for e-learning, crm, event management & booking, and with the ability to have a parish website sub-site network that has an integrated user database and events calendar.

    We are very keen that the ecclesiology and theology of the diocese is considered right to the very low level of the system, i.e. that even the structure of the database reflects how we think about ourselves and the church. And in fact I quite fancy using MariaDb over MySql only for that reason.

    So the website would be used as an internal tool for the diocese itself.

    Does anybody know of any diocese’ using Drupal for their websites? (I know there are plenty of parish websites done in Drupal)

    Does anybody know of any organization using drupal for e-learning (we do short courses in Catholic theology)?

    We want to use the system for something like CRM (contact management), but to use the Users table as the base entity for a person, not to have seperate contacts table. Any thoughts on that?

    I think with some collaboration from others around the world we could create a Drupal for a Diocese distribution that could be reused by any diocese.

    On a specific technical note, I am not sure whether to represent the entities of Parish, Deanery, Church etc. as just different ‘content types’ or whether I should create new ‘entity types’. Any ideas?

    many thanks

    Jonathan

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  • My Confessor app/service - know when your priest is hearing confessions

    God may be omnipresent — but His priests aren’t. So a holy man in Madison, Wisc., has turned to app development, along with divine guidance, to find a better way to tend to the needs of his 800-family flock. Father Richard Heilman is launching a My Confessor App that will let his parishioners know when and where he is available to listen to their sins. After 25 years in the ministry, Heilman believes Catholics could do with a bit more priest-and-me time. His preferred dosage is at least once a month. “Maybe more often if you’re dealing with repetitive sin,” Heilman told The News. “A lot of us aren’t in a state of grace and confessions help that grace flow freely.”

    Continue reading on the New York Daily News website

    Rev. Heilman’s service, and the priestly ministry from which it flows, is spot-on, and very much needed. I hope he can make the app/service work even better and gain adoption by many more parishes around the country. If I can see how long it will take me to get a haircut anywhere within 100 miles of a city, and schedule my next haircut; why can’t I see if a priest is available for confession at one of the hundreds of parishes in any given diocese? To say nothing of mass times, adoration times, etc.

    Check out the My Confessor website and app »

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  • How to setup LAMP in Ubuntu

    Hello all,

    I recently finished a tutorial on how to setup Ubuntu 13.04 as a web server for local sites hosted within the users account.

    I have switched to Ubuntu 13.04 running on my Dell XPS13 and it is amazing. Clean fast “open” :-)

    Setting up Apache to serve my local sites was not very straight forward, so I decided to make a tutorial that should get anyone up and running in about 10 to 15 minutes.

    http://joao.machado-family.com/2013/06/04/ubuntu-13-04-apache2-setup-public_html/

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  • A New Kind of Church Directory, Built on Open Source

    I recently launched a little site for finding Catholic parishes and mass times called parish.io. It takes a very different approach to gathering parish info and mass times than other sites in this category. Not only is this approach beneficial to users (more accurate and complete mass schedules), I think it’s of particular interest to other software developers.

    Rather than relying on manual data entry, parish.io gathers all of its info by scraping diocese and parish sites. It took months of hacking to validate the concept and develop the scraping logic, and while it’s not perfect (some parishes just don’t have sites, or don’t provide mass times, or put them in unparseable formats), overall I’m quite happy with the results I’m seeing. Here’s what I used to build it:

    Python: My programming language of choice. Database aside, everything that follows is a Python library.

    lxml: Don’t be fooled by the name. lxml is just as capable of parsing HTML as XML, especially given its support for CSS selectors (similar to jQuery). It’s very fast, and ably handles most poorly formed HTML. Some people are partial to the API in BeautifulSoup, but a few small hangups aside, lxml has performed so well that I’ve never been very tempted to switch.

    requests: A simple and elegant API for HTTP requests. It’s quickly become the favorite for HTTP in Python, simply due to its superior API over the standard library’s urllib2.

    That toolset accounts for most of the heavy lifting in scraping sites. As for the site itself, I used Flask, a simple and very well-documented web framework; the SQLAlchemy ORM talking to a PostgreSQL database, and critically, PostGIS for geo queries (i.e. lookup by zip code, city, or nearby).

    All of the above are open source, with very friendly licensing terms that will work for any project, whether open or closed source.

    If any of this is of interest to you, check out these projects. And be sure to give parish.io a try too!

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