Service Description - Parish Administrator's Perspective
Gone are the days when the administrator needed to spend hours entering the required updates for all of the ministers before running a schedule. The tools provided with this service allow that work to be distributed so that the administrator is not burdened with time consuming data collection and entry. Ministers use their personal console to enter their preferences and scheduling constraints. Ministry leaders maintain the roster for their ministers and assure that only properly trained ministers are included on the active roster using the features available through the ministry leader's console. Producing the periodic schedule thus becomes a fast, simple process. Best of all, the schedule produced is based on the constraints that the ministers have placed on their availability. By matching scheduled assignments to the needs of the ministers, the likelihood that ministers will be able to serve at their assigned times is maximized.
The sections below describe some key features available through the administrator's console.
Once satisfied with a schedule run, the administrator can release the results to the ministry leaders for their review and modification. After the review is complete, the administrator can publish the new schedule.
Masses can be defined to be scheduled only once or periodically. For periodically scheduled masses, the frequency can be set to weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.
When the administrator defines a new ministry he/she specifies the leader for the ministry. This person is given administrative rights for the ministry and has all of the features of the service offered to ministry leaders (see Ministry Leader Console). The administrator can change the Ministry Leader at any time by selecting and editing the ministry.
The administrator may also designate the ministry as "Positioned." The scheduler distributes ministers in a "positioned" ministry as equally as possible in each of the ministry positions on the schedule. For example, in the case shown here, the Reader ministry is positioned because the parish desires that Readers have the opportunity to read the first and second readings on an equal basis. The reader listed first on the schedule will read the first reading and the reader listed second will read the second reading. To the extent possible, the scheduler will list each assigned minister in this ministry an equal number of times first and second on the list of scheduled ministers.
Once a minister has been registered, he/she can be removed by selecting the minister and then clicking the "Remove Selected" button.
The administrator can also designate a minister as "Special." Special ministers are scheduled for their first preference mass any time that they do not have the date blocked on their personal calendars. For example, a Deacon may be designated as a "Special" minister so that he can be scheduled to serve as a Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion any time he attends a mass.
For periods where the first date to be scheduled has a vigil mass, it will automatically be included in the schedule, even though it will fall on a day outside the defined period. Also, vigil masses falling on the last date in the period will be excluded from the schedule, since the day for which it is a vigil is outside the scheduling period.
Once the schedule details are acceptable, clicking the "Accept These Details" button configures the service to schedule all of the dates and masses which are checked.
In addition to the draft schedule, information that depicts how the new schedule impacts each liturgical minister is available to allow the administrator to audit the schedule produced.
The "Proposed Assignments Audit" table presents the percentage of times that each minister is scheduled for his/her preferences. It also shows the percentage of times that the minister had a scheduled date blocked on his/her calendar and the percentage of times that the minister is unassigned.
Once the administrator is satisfied with the draft schedule, he/she can release it for ministry leader review.
- Ministry Roster - This output provides an alphabetical listing of trained ministers grouped by ministry. If a minister serves in multiple ministries, he/she will be listed for each. Included on the roster is the minister's telephone number and mass preferences.
- Liturgical Schedule - A group of tables which summarize all of the ministry assignments for the scheduling period. The tables are organized by date, mass, and ministry.
- Post Cards - This output organizes the assignments for each minister in a format suitable for creating a 4in. by 6in. post card. The minister's mailing address is positioned appropriately for mailing, so that the only additional action required is adding postage.
Each of these outputs is provided in the form of a download file suitable for opening in a web browser and can be created with the click of a button.
If a custom formatted output is desired, the administrator can create it using the service's download of the schedule file. This file can be used with the administrator's favorite database, spread sheet, or word processor software to create the custom formatted document.
The administrator clicks the "Set New Schedule" button to load the proposed schedule assignments into the published schedule. Once this is done and the changes saved, ministers will be able to access their new assignments using the calendar in their accounts (see Minister Features).
When a parish uses MinisterScheduling.com to schedule liturgical ministers, it reduces the effort required of its administrator by providing easy to use tools for managing the parish's liturgical calendar, scheduled ministries, and scheduled masses. Creation of periodic liturgical schedules is accomplished with ease using the service's multi-pass automated scheduler. The service's scheduler matches the ministry needs with the preferences and availability of the trained volunteer ministers as they have indicated through their on-line accounts. Audit and review features are provided to assure that the schedule produced meets the needs of ministers and ministry leaders before the schedule is published.
Publication and distribution of the periodic schedule is facilitated by the service's internal electronic publication capabilities as well as standard reports for paper distribution. Custom reports can be generated using the service's schedule export feature which produces a file that can be used with database, spread sheet and word processor applications.