13 February 2013


What are we doing now to Schedule Extraordinary Ministers at Saint Mary


As you all may know, Dan Pohlgeers created a Microsoft Office Excel database to schedule EMHCs by weekend mass dates.  I continued to use Excel along with a free PDF creator, to schedule EMHCs and email the schedule and directory to them in Adobe Reader (PDF) format.  Note that Open Source Office (free) is fully compatible with Microsoft Office. (Excel and Word in this case.



Importing Data


Ministry Scheduler Pro (MSP) and Parish Data System Ministry Scheduler (PDSMS) are two applications for scheduling parish ministers. MSP and PDSMS can import (and export) Excel data. MSP does support importing data from Parish Data Systems. The parish office at Saint Mary is running PDF Church Office; so the data terminology is the same throughout PDS  including PDSMS.



Cost Estimates


PDS Ministry Scheduler estimated costs:  $350 (one time setup) and $312/year. Regarding

Ministry Scheduler Pro estimated costs: $450(one-time fee) plus $408 annual maintenance. This price includes Web based access, and secure backup (see below).

Difference:  PDS is $100 less than MSP for setup. PDSMS is $96 per year less than MSP.

However PDSMS charges extra for Web based access called PDS Connects. This feature costs extra, typically $175 set up fee; and monthly fee is based on number of member records (in our case assume 1600    to 1999 would be $56 per month ($672 per year).


For details on MSP Pricing see http://www.ministerschedulerpro.com/purchase.php
For MSP the maximum number of volunteers and/or ministers in our parish determines what “size” license would need to be purchased. The cost to Saint Mary Parish (because of our number of ministers (volunteers) is greater than 100 but less than 200) is shown above.

 MSP Documentation (Adobe Reader PDF ): Complete Documentation  This contains an introduction and details of creating or importing ministry data.”  PDS does not appear to make on-line documentation available to the public; it does for customers.



Backup procedures and Security of Web based Service


Both PDS Ministry Scheduler and Ministry Scheduler Pro both have backup procedures. MSP supports secure cloud-based servers, stored on MSP data and web servers. Both PDSMS and MSP support automatic data backups on a local machine every time the program is used.

For Web based access (PDS Connects)  is another kind of security which supports Web based access and data based backup/restore off site. MSP supports cloud-based  Software, Servers including Web servers and Security.



Note in passing: Without evaluating it, there is a product called: Elexio which has software the does what they call Event Management.



By contacting the larger parishes in our Diocese to see what they are doing, it may shed more light on ministry scheduling than this one page review.


Skip Knoble, Saint Mary EMHC scheduler/coordinator.

email: skip.knoble@gmail.com