Inexperienced Blogger Gets to Play on First-String Team: I’M GOING TO ROME!

What a day it’s been!

I woke this morning (well, yesterday morning) to find my name on the list of 150 bloggers chosen from among writers all over the world to attend a Catholic Bloggers Conference which is scheduled for May 2 in Rome. The conference—something new for the Vatican!—is co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  It will be offered in five languages simultaneously.

When I first heard about the conference on Monday of this week, I turned a few somersaults, then phoned my husband to ask if he’d mind if I spent absurd sums of money flying across the Atlantic to follow my dreams.  I submitted the requisite email and link to my blog, but by that time they’d already received over 400 requests for the 150 available seats.  The chance that I’d be selected to represent the Catholics of America seemed pretty darned remote—especially ‘cause I’m a “newbie” who’s only been writing since the end of October.

It is with gratitude and shock that I tell you, I’m going!  I’ll be parking myself in the English section beside some giants of the blogosphere:  Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress), Tom Peters (American Papist), Lisa Hendey ( and more), Rocco Palmer (Whispers in the Loggia), Taylor Marshall (Canterbury Tales)….  and ME??  Well, my name must have been drawn from a hat!

Anyway, however my name came up, I’m packing.  God has greatly blessed me!  I will be in Rome for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II, and for the conference.  I plan to blog from the Vatican, and to send back some photos.  I will pray for you there at St. Peter’s, the locus of our Catholic faith; and I ask that you pray for me—that I learn much, grow much, and return home safely.

In case you were wondering just how this came about, here (below) is the letter which was released this morning by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Dear friends,

The following is the list of 150 bloggers invited to attend in person the meeting taking place in via della conciliazione, 5, on Monday 2 May.

Over 750 requests were made and a hard decision-making process had to be put in place to ensure, as much as is possible, a broad representation of the blogosphere. There are some famous bloggers and some new bloggers, some are institutional, others personal, some tell vocational stories and others comment on international news or local issues. Some are well-financed, most are run on a shoestring.

It was touching being involved in your 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 evangelisation. While some pre-choices were made to ensure a diversified presence, for the final selection we simply gave each blogger a number and had someone choose numbers randomly.

I hope those not on the list will not feel excluded. The bloggers present in the Room will surely keep you informed and engaged. They may even organise a livestream.  It is also to be hoped that this is just the beginning of a dialogue.

The 150 will receive further indications after Easter, but should note now that we are not covering your expenses – the invitation was always intended for bloggers who would be in Rome for the Beatification.

Selection to attend does not imply Vatican approval of the contents of any of the blogs.  Neither does non-selection imply disapproval.

Thanking you for your patience and understanding – this has already been a good learning experience for us.

Richard Rouse

  • Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle


    God bless your trip!


    • Kathy Schiffer

      Thanks so much, Donna! It’s not my first trip to Rome, but it’s the first time I’ve got a meeting there, so I’m pumped! I think you’ve already had the privilege, so you know what I’m talking about! It is a great blessing.

  • Ljudmila Hribar

    Kathy I`m going too! Pretty excited a bit shy quite inexperienced but blogging with enthusiasm for the cause of John Paul II. Perhaps we`ll meet there. Good luck and have a good trip.

    • Kathy Schiffer

      Wonderful– I hope we’ll meet! What country are you from?

  • Ljudmila Hribar

    From down here in the southern south ;) Argentina