God's Grace in the Cradle of Liberty

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It was nothing short of providential to be part of two amazing Catholic conferences last week — the Catholic Marketing Network/Catholic Writers Conference in Philadelphia and the Catholic New Media Celebration in Boston.

Just to get it on the table, I’m not really a conference guy. But it was impossible not to get charged up spending time with both current colleagues and the bloggers and podcasters I previously had only read and heard.

Philadelphia and Boston — the cradle of Liberty — were perfect to recapture that revolutionary spirit, only this time the revolution is missionary. It’s about setting captives free.

In Philadelphia, along with Rick Hinshaw, editor of The Long Island Catholic, I was part of a panel that addressed the role of “Catholic journalists as evangelists.” The reality of that concept was confirmed not only by those in attendance, but also two days later in Boston, when I saw all the podcasters and bloggers, including Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who are so committed to bringing the Gospel to the “iGeneration.”

Riffing off a document released in June by the U.S. bishops’ conference — “What Does It Mean to Be a Faithful Catholic Media Organization in the 21st Century?” — I asked a few of the CNMC attendees/speakers: “What does it take to be a faithful Catholic journalist/member of the media in the 21st century?”

And because many of the bloggers and podcasters I met are outwardly exuberant, caffeinated thinkers and doers in the Church militant, I also asked a follow-up question: “How do you cultivate your interior prayer life?”

Greg and Jennifer Willits of “The Catholics Next Door” said they nurture their interior prayer life through Eucharistic adoration. Register blogger and my esteemed travel partner Mark Shea said he cultivates it through morning and evening prayer.

You’ll find audio clips from other respondents, including Rachel Balducci (Testosterhome), Danielle Bean (DanielleBean.com), Father Jay Finelli (iPadre), Jeff Geerling (LifeIsaPrayer.com), Lisa Hendey (CatholicMom.com), Thomas Peters (American Papist), Lino Rulli (LinoRulli.com), Father Roderick Vonhögen ( FatherRoderick.com), Matthew Warner (Fallible Blogma) and Cardinal O’Malley (Cardinal Sean’s Blog).

All in all, it was a powerful, grace-filled week. I’m grateful for the new friendships and partnerships that were launched — and for what we are energized to take on together.