By Genevieve Pollock
ROME, APRIL 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Bloggers worldwide, from moms to bishops, are looking forward to the May 2 meeting in the Vatican regarding the use of blog technology in dialogue with the Catholic faith.
Lisa Hendey, a California-based Catholic mom who was chosen as one of the 150 participants in this meeting, shared with ZENIT her hopes “to learn more about the Vatican’s plans for employing technology, and specifically social media, in catechesis and evangelization.”
“I am also anxious to hear about how we, as individual bloggers and as a new media community, can support the Church through our efforts and our gifts,” she added.
Hendey, author of “The Handbook for Catholic Moms” as well as the forthcoming “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms,” developed the Web site CatholicMom.com, which last year saw more than 500,000 individual visitors from 200 countries.
She started out as a stay-at-home mom, learning on her own about Web design, and eventually began the Catholic Moments podcast. She told ZENIT that “blogging has provided a way to grow in and learn about my faith and my vocation as a Catholic wife and mother.”
“The amazing thing about blogging is the ability to build fellowship and grow in communion with other Catholics and with those interested in learning more about the Church,” Hendey affirmed.
She continued: “By building relationships with readers literally around the globe, I am constantly edified, inspired and encouraged about the future of our Church.
“My book, ‘The Handbook for Catholic Moms,’ came as a direct result of my blogging efforts and has provided an extension for the work that began on my blog. I now have the opportunity to speak directly to communities and parishes around the country and to learn directly from women about how we can better support them in their vocations and their faith lives.”
Hendey explained that “the relationships built through blogging have blossomed into real life friendships that support and sustain me in my own daily faith journey.”
She stated, “As the technology continues to grow and evolve, so does our commitment to using it as a Church to care for the faithful.”
Engaged with modern culture
Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster, England, also uses a blog to strengthen relationships in his diocesan community, by offering news about his ministry, speeches and homilies, and a weekly scriptural reflection.
Although he will not attend the Vatican meeting due to prior commitments, he noted on his blog that this event “is a recognition by the Holy See of the importance of this fast-changing medium for the future of the Church’s engagement with modern culture.”
“The new media represent a revolution in communication as significant as the invention of the printing press,” the prelate noted. “It has taken journalism and public discourse out of the hands of powerful media groups and put it in the hands of millions of ordinary people throughout the world.”
He added, “Just as the Church was at the forefront of other revolutions in communication, such as the copying and dissemination of manuscripts, printing presses, radio and television, the Church is embarking on the development of the new media through the creativity and investment of time and money by thousands of Catholic bloggers and web designers.”
The Vatican meeting, sponsored by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Social Communications, aims to “allow for a dialogue between bloggers and Church representatives, to listen to the experiences of those who are actively involved in this arena, and to achieve a greater understanding of the needs of that community.”
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications explained on its Web site that the meeting will include a broad representation of the global blogosphere, with some famous bloggers and some new bloggers, some that are institutional, others personal, some that offer vocational stories and others that comment on international news or local issues.
It noted that over 750 requests were made to attend the meeting, from bloggers covering a variety of issues, “from coping with death, to the joys of parenting, the hopefulness of youth, to fear of change, not to mention the many causes and campaigns promoted, particularly in the new evangelization.”
The council added, “It is also to be hoped that this is just the beginning of a dialogue.”
Participants include: Anna Arco of the Catholic Herald, Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service, Hilary White of the “AngloCath” blog, Joan Lewis of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Rocco Palmo of the “Whispers in the Loggia” blog, Sandro Magister of “chiesa.espressonline.it,” and Thomas Peters of the “American Papist” blog.
Hendey concluded that she is “looking forward to connecting with bloggers from around the globe and learning from them about how they use technology to relate with their readers and to share a common love for the faith.”
— — —
On the Net:
Lisa Hendey’s blog: LisaHendey.com
Bishop Campbell’s blog: http://www.lancasterdiocese.org.uk/Groups/154613/The_Diocese_of/Our_Bishop/Bishops_Blog/Bishops_Blog.aspx
By Genevieve Pollock