Patheos Catholic Introduces Ben Conroy and Tom Zampino

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Our “Week of Adding Many Bloggers” is coming to a close, (although there may yet be one more name added by Friday!) with two bloggers who may — for now — be only marginally familiar to Patheos readers. It is surely a nice, and a gratifying thing when we can add well-known authors and writers and thinkers to our ranks, but being a baseball fan, I appreciate the value of creating a kind of “farm team” too; spotting good unknown writers and giving them a platform has often proven to be just the ticket, both for the writer and for Patheos, even when, occasionally, there is separation.

Thus is the case with our two newest bloggers, both of whom might be called “islanders”.

CathPT_BenConroy_bio Ben Conroy, whose blog is called Shadows on the Road, is sending his stuff to us from Dublin, Ireland, and he shares the roundaboutation of his journey to Patheos, here:

I have to emphasise the extent to which this whole thing came as a bolt from the blue – a random act of grace. I emailed Elizabeth to get Leah Libresco’s email address because I was trying to see if she’d give a talk while she was visiting Ireland. Leah ended up doing the talk (we’re still talking about it), and I ended up doing a guest post for her blog while she was over here. Then Elizabeth invited me to guest blog for her, and the rest is history.

That’s most of it. What Ben doesn’t mention is that his mad writing skills were apparent even in his brief email, and — as we were at that point putting together our Summer Symposium on the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family — he was invited to participate, which he did, happily tackling the topic of Euthanasia, which no one likes to talk about. Ben calls himself “bog-standard” and he has a great sense of humor about being “Irish and Catholic” but he has a compelling voice, particularly on life-issues, and energy to spare for the craft of wordsmithing.

The Lad seems positively allergic to Facebook, but you can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to Ben’s feed, here.

tom zComing from the other side of the Atlantic, Tom Zampino might be called a double-islander, as he shuffles between the fabled Isle of Manhattan and the imaginatively-named Long one right beside it. He has dedicated his Grace Pending blog to Pier Giorgio Frassati, who is quite a favorite around these Patheos parts. Why in particular is Zampino so devoted to this “man of the beatitudes”? He discusses it briefly here, but I’m sure his devotion to The Frassati will be fleshed out the number of posts grow.

Tom writes about slipping into Patheos, here:

It was the story about Douglas, the homeless man that I had met on Third Avenue, curled up and drunk in a CVS doorway at 8 a.m. In a few brief moments together his story of loss, despair, and desperation touched my soul. He spoke to me of “turning into dust.” Within hours, he was gone. I never saw him again.

I needed to tell his story. Not for him. For me. I needed to remember his face, his voice, his words. And, yes, the dust.

Douglas-to-Dust was one of our most popular guest-features, for 2014. That was followed by another piece, and here we are.

You can find Tom Zampino on Facebook, and here on Twitter, or subscribe to his feed.

Welcome, gentlemen, and thanks for rounding out our ranks of newbies!

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