Thanks to 100,000 Visitors, and A Question for You

How does a blog go from a black hole in cyberspace to 100,000 visitors in six and a half months? I’m scratching my head here. “Why I Am Catholic” started as one essay written August 17, 2009, in response to a friend who asked why I had converted. Three hundred eighty-two posts later (382), with the help of loyal copilot Frank Weathers and with ground support from guest poster Allison Salerno, this bird is flying.

OK, we haven’t hit the stratosphere yet, but we’re airborne and cruising. What fuels YIMC?

I have two answers: the Holy Spirit and you. I can honestly say that my best posts (and I bet Frank and Allison would agree) have come from one of two places: (1) a voice whispering in my ear and (2) your comments. In the time since Frank climbed aboard on Thanksgiving weekend, we have begun building a small but loyal on-line community. I’d name some of you but don’t want to leave anyone out. Your comments have helped us navigate.

So, thank you all! And now, back to work! Meaning this: Frank and I have been cruising at high altitude during Lent, to make more time for prayer and reflection. But we’re going to be working our way down to fighting altitude as Easter approaches, and I fully expect YIM Catholic to reach 250,000 visitors by the end of its first year.

What are the issues you want us to address? What are you, valued readers, interested in? Please don’t say, MORE BOOKS, unless you really mean it, because right now no one’s commenting on Mere ChristianityOK, not even me—and don’t tell me you’re all in church 24/7 or that you’ve given up reading for Lent!)

We’ve taken up some interesting stuff so far: confession, the liturgy, our varying relationships with the clergy. Many of the issues discussed concern those on either side of the Tiber, that is, recent converts or those considering conversion. We even started a prayer list so we can pray for one another. What are your interests? Any good poll ideas?

Let us hear from you. Help us fly this plane. And thank you for your attention.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06195528409761980551 Anne

    Congratulations on your success! I am so grateful for this blog and am greatly enriched by it! Sorry, I have no new ideas for you right now, but I will sure think on it! All I can say right now is keep on listening to the Spirit and the comments because what you are doing is wonderful!

  • Anonymous

    Hi YIM, I am not surprised at the incredible growth of your blog. I think the joy of it comes through in each post. I would like to see you guys(maybe this is more for Allison as a cradle Catholic) discuss the effects of the 70's on the liturgy and the way Catholics practice their faith. I'm (with purpose) not saying the effects of Vatican C. II because I think all that got sucked into the vortex of the 70's culture and was used by iconoclasts to break things up. Anyway, I'd love your thoughts on this-thanks again for all you do-Regina

  • Allison Salerno

    Regina: Thanks for reading.I will ponder this more and in the meantime would like to hear your thoughts on the Danielle Rose blog comments section. chttp://yimcatholic.blogspot.com/2010/03/thanks-to-danielle-rose.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14444361367208483037 Ruth Ann

    I think you should definitely stick to posts that tell "Why I Am Catholic." I think they should be reflections on your daily experiences, past and present, of either becoming Catholic or of practicing your new found faith. When you express the joy of being Catholic it's contagious. I think you should steer clear of trying to talk about what Anonymous suggested about "the effects of the 70's on the liturgy and the way Catholics practice their faith." Things like that are "above your pay grade," in my opinion!I say that because I've been a Catholic all my life, and I've stayed Catholic because of God's grace and His love for me before, during, and after Vatican Council II and the 70s. From this side of eternity so many things are mysteries. So many things seem sad or bad, at least superficially, but the Holy Spirit is with us, guiding us, and will not abandon us. I enjoy stories of your experiences with teaching the faith to children. I like your enthusiasm for the saints. And I always enjoy comments on Catholic spirituality.

  • Allison Salerno

    @Ruth Ann: I was mulling Regina's suggestion as I made brunch for my "boys." I lack perspective on Vatican 2. My sister tells me we wore mantillas to church until I was about 8 but other that "memory," (which i do not have) all my spiritual life has been lived after Vatican 2.What I can write about is my own journey, how we are trying to raise our children with faith, etc.I think if some readers DO have experience growing up preVatican 2 and then worshipping postVatican 2 that would be interesting to hear about.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I've been following this blog since the time Fr Jim mentioned about it… so probably around the beginning. And I confess, I love the posts that are experience based and personal. I kind of rush through the 'theology' / 'teaching' ones. No offense to them, but Catholics talking about why THEY are Catholic really moves me and touches me. When something bad or difficult is happening in office, I say to myself – let me feel a bit better about life and the world – and I come here…. so… :)Thank you all and I'll be staying on as a passenger if y'all don't mind! Rose

  • EPG

    I especially respond to the posts that address the question "Why Catholicism?" I started looking at this blog fairly early in the game, and kept coming because of the "gift of joy and wonder" manifested in the early posts. Then again, as a enquiring Anglican, I am interested in the perspective that you (and Frank) bring as someone who made that conscious choice.Don't be afraid to have fun. I thought the recent poll about orders was a riot — and taken far too seriously by some.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15292156826231664316 pennyyak

    That is really amazing (# of visitors), Webster. I've never looked before. Yes, books have been a no-go for me (but it sounded like a good idea).As far as suggestions, it seems between the two of you you've talked about everything under the sun (well, almost). Your daily experiences have served well in producing good topics – and certainly, the enthusiasm and love that shines through is what makes it all come alive.Things I enjoy on other blogs (suggestions for yours) -1. A specific day devoted to (blank). I always enjoy C.'s video Saturday, or Steve's Friday night potpourri. Can be serious or not – but I think it gives them a break, too. That is, there is a certain structure, and perhaps not the need to rack one's brains for a topic (not that ya'll seem to have this problem).2. I sorta hate to say this. Sometimes you are both posting so often (an avg. of 2 a day since December?), I miss a lot. But then again, I would not like to be the one who squashed your exemplary creativity either. So I don't know. I most certainly wouldn't suggest you and Frank separate into two separate blogs, because the chemistry (or whatever it is) is part of what makes this blog so good.3. If I think of anything else, will let you know, but I have to go out into the non-virtual world now! Later…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12442813565745123497 MUJERLATINA

    I would like a poll on 'the veil' and whether or not it is coming back (it really never left, you know) into use. The poll could ask whether women wear the chapel veil, or would consider doing so. Since my daughter and I do wear the chapel veil and I believe it is central to our liturgical practice, I would be willing to write a guest post on the history of chapel veil use. Meanwhile I would like to hear from more "JPII Generation" Catholics, many of whom have embraced orthodoxy in worship. I believe a discussion and a look at the changes brought about by Vatican II are extremly relevant to Catholicism today. It need not take the form of discoure or dispute — however, so much of our Catholic history and tradition was lost in the years post-Vatican II. Taking a look at what was lost and what was gained by the Council writings could only strengthen our Catholic heritage and faith.

  • Anonymous

    I hate to say it, too, but I'm with Penny, and cowardly me is glad she brought it up first. It was a little hard to keep up when Frank joined and there were often two posts a day, but now with the addition of Allison's posts, it's overwhelming. Not that the writing isn't good – it's just a bit too time-consuming. I most enjoy the convert perspective of the posts. I find it fascinating, as a cradle Catholic, and they are quite inspiring.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10936303952493917859 Duane

    I've enjoyed some of the perspective you have offered as men leading your families in your faith. You can't say too much about it in these days.The enthusiasm and fruit of the spirit in your lives comes through in the writing. This is the "secret sauce" of YIM and why each post is a must-read when it shows up in my reader. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01262662173303042998 Fred

    Here's two for you:Because of the BishopsBecause of a Beautiful Day.

  • Maria

    Remember the reason for the mission and then the question, and the attendant answers, will not matter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15292156826231664316 pennyyak

    You may have a themed day, now that I'm looking over some old posts (Music for Mondays?). If so, just shows you how far behind I am. *blush*

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06368195895421044006 Matthew

    I haven't been able to be as active on the site lately as I would like because my military duties have me traveling a lot right now. You guys are doing a great job though and I enjoy the site a lot. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02742399178981984331 Erin

    One of the things that kept me with the Church through a few years of doubt and discouragement is the Catholic Church’s rich tradition of defending human rights and social justice. I’d love for some discussion on that. Like Mujerlatina, I'd also be interested in some discussion of the "future church" – us "JPII babies" (millennials?), though I hope it's not just a lament over our lack of orthodoxy. I am quite proud of my generation of Catholics. I went to the University of Dayton and many of my fellow alums are spread across the world living out their faith life and serving God through service of others, which I think is the real core of the Catholic faith. I am proud of our rich social justice tradition and the way many of my friends and people my age are living out that tradition.

  • JMB

    Thank you for YIM Catholic! My sister turned me onto it. I'm at a stage in my spiritual life where I often feel quite out of place. If not for my sister who I run into frequently at Daily Mass, I am usually the youngest person in the Church by two decades, at least. I know we shouldn't base our faith life on something as fleeting as feelings, but I'm feeling kind of lonely on this side of the Tibor. My friends don't get it, my husband teases me about it. It's like I have this secret life – stay at home suburban mom daily communicant. Where do I go from here?Also,In surfing the Catholic web, it's pretty easy to get intimidated by the numerous blogs of Catholic homeschoolers. It is always a pleasure to read how other Catholics are raising their families outside of that community. I have nothing against homeschoolers, it's just that I don't know any personally and it's not something that I ever wanted to do. I can't help but think I'm feeding my kids to the lions by actually sending them out in the world to school. For that reason, I'm really enjoying the CCD posts and the mini lessons in the Catechism. Thank you.

  • Allison Salerno

    @JMB: There are so many ways to raise the kids in the faith. I am often reminded of a dear colleague of mine, an evangelical Christian who sent his kids to a tough public school while the rest of his family members were homeschooling theirs. "You raise your kids with your values," he told me. "And then you throw them into the world. I have faith my Christian values are powerful. And my kids haven't disappointed me yet."

  • UrbanRevival

    I would love discussion on whether or not there is salvation outside the Church.I am new to your wonderful blog. Maybe you've covered it already?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12442813565745123497 MUJERLATINA

    @ UrbanRevival: I know that Frank has written on the Communion of Saints and so has guest blogger Allison Salerno. A few weeks back I mentioned on a comment about the Catholic Theologian Karl Rahner and his premise of "The Anonymous Christian" which was a central tenet of the Vatican II Council. Perhaps Frank would write more about 'Anonymous Christianity' and salvation outside the Church.Pax Christi.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for your blog. Clearly, you're broadcasting not from 'a black hole' in cyperspace but the Light-filled side of a mountain. As far as thoughts on what you might write about, I would truly appreciate whatever light you can shine on navigating through the difficulties wrought from a marriage between a Catholic woman and a fundamentalist Christian man. It's a struggle, and I'd appreciate any insight you can offer.

  • Webster Bull

    @Anonymous, Thank you so much for your comment. This is another one of those providential coincidences that we Catholics call the Holy Spirit: This Saturday we are planning to post another in the series "An Anglican Asks" and the question this week addresses your question, with a convert's spin on it. To quote from the post not yet published:"This is a question for those received into the Catholic Church as adults with a husband or wife who is not Catholic, not interested in Catholicism, or perhaps even hostile to Catholicism:"EPG asks: 'How did you handle questions, biases, anger, misinformation, etc., in the middle of your own discernment? Did resistance, opposition, confusion, feelings of hurt or betrayal from a husband or wife create difficulties in your process of discernment and reception? How did you address the issues that did come up?'”So tune in on Saturday, or better on Sunday or Monday, and you will read the answers of many readers (I hope!). I'm sure our readers will offer more insight than I can. God bless you and your husband.


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