Lots of excited talk this weekend about the Blogger-meetup scheduled in Rome scheduled for May 2 — the day after the beatification of Pope John Paul II — and instigated by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. We might call this gathering of international bloggers a “baby step” toward helping disparate voices to get to know each other less as “contingents” and more as hale-fellows-well-met. It will also, hopefully, help to coalesce blogdom’s diverse, multi-focused alternative media into something that can be coherently represented as a meaningful entity in future communications with the Holy See; the one-day conference will include two presentations by panels of bloggers — full disclosure, through the miracle of my husband’s frequent flier miles, (which like the flour in the scripture story, never seem to run out) I will be one of the panelists — and I like this statement from Richard Rouse:
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.
A source at the PCCS told me that the numbers were drawn in true scriptural fashion — pulled from a hat, as it were — so there could be no hint of favoritism or manipulation. Good-natured teasing about “sour grapes” aside, the organizers really did let the Holy Spirit have a voice in all of this, and there is a sense of adventure and “learning as we go” to it all that I pray will make us rely very hard on that wisdom-instilling Third Person of the Triune God.
Personally, I am a little intimidated by all of this, and naturally I have no idea what I’ll be talking about yet, but yes, it is exciting — I have missed Rome every day since leaving it last September, and I will also be covering the beatification — and I am leaving it all in the hands of Jesus and the Madonna Della Strata, who I met at Gesu church and have become very attached to:
I will be glad for the opportunity to meet so many bloggers whose work I have long admired, including some who are frequently linked to, here (in no particular order):
Thanks very much to all who have sent good wishes via email, tweets and facebook — pray for this little endeavor if you will, that it will keep us centered in the will of of Christ.