It is hard to believe that we’ve only been at this for a year. We’ve achieved an amazing amount in such little time. We’ve had thousands more viewers than we could have imagined. More importantly, we’ve built a community of all-volunteer writers and commentators who are finding another way to be church. Most astoundingly, we’ve achieved the goals we set out for ourselves in the beginning. In fact, we’re having trouble figuring out what to do with all the success.
We didn’t start this experiment with lofty goals. At the 2007 Call to Action conference in Milwaukee, a group of us got to talking about how important it was that this movement continue to reach out to a younger generation of progressive Catholics. I remember how mad we were that the Catholic blogosphere was dominated by ultra-conservative voices. At the same time, we were wondering how Call to Action could create more leadership roles for young people. It didn’t take long for it all to click. A dozen phone calls or so later, we had the basic idea for what a Young Adult Catholic Blog could look like.
We decided to launch on Pentecost because we imagined that the blog would be a way to speak to all different types of people in languages they would understand. We didn’t think we would begin a new church, or baptize 3,000 new souls in that first day, but we did see that we were doing gospel work. The church began 2,000 years ago as a cacophony of voices, a multi-ethnic melting pot, a polyglot institution held together by the Holy Spirit. That’s the church we wanted to celebrate. None of the founding Young Adult Catholic Bloggers much resemble each other in our spiritual practice, except in the fact that we know the importance of our catholic diversity. That was our founding vision a year ago, and it continues to be our guiding impulse today.
None of us are doing this because “young people use the internet.” I don’t know if any blogging space has a more Luddite group of founders than this group. In retrospect, it’s humorous how much time we spent figuring out how to make our authors’ names show up, or put a jump in the front-page articles so that we could save visual real estate. “How do you make a picture show up, again?” What we cared about was our vision, and we wanted to cast as wide a net as possible using all the tools at our disposal.
We never thought that we would be able to reach so many people in so short a time. I’m positive none of us imagined giving a workshop where the likes of Dolores Huerta would be in the audience. But we don’t regret what has developed. In true church fashion, the writers and commentators take the blog above and beyond what the founding members dreamed. What you are reading today is completely the product of grassroots leadership at its finest.
I am so grateful to be a part of this amazing experience. I have to thank our founding members for helping to turn this idea into a reality, and a practice. I also have to thank CTA for the institutional support they have provided. I especially have to thank our writers for making this an inviting space for meaningful spiritual discussion.
When we started out, we knew we were putting ourselves in the crosshairs for some pretty nasty criticism, and the writers would be doing the same. It’s not always easy being a lightning rod for those that think the church is about uniformity, and not diversity. All of us have close ties to the Institutional Church, and most of us are out on a limb doing this.
I fear that the Catholic Hierarchy is going to get worse before it gets better (Lord, prove me wrong). Despite that, we are going to march forward with this vision of a diverse and accepting church based on love. The next year is going to be bigger and better than the last for Young Adult Catholics, and we are going to continue to build this spiritual community for years to come, God willing. Thank you for all you have done to help make us what we are today. Happy anniversary, Church!
Bill Przylucki is a community organizer in Westside Los Angeles. He is a former Jesuit Volunteer and a graduate of Boston College. He believes that you gotta pray like only God can do it, and act like only you can do it.