Reflection on this Blog’s Birthday

I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on this blog and how far it has come.  It was launched about a year ago on Pentecost 2008.  It grew out of a concern that the Catholic blogging world is dominated by conservative voices.  That’s fine, but on a sociological level, it’s only a small sampling of who makes up the American Catholic Church.  We wanted to provide a sampling of the other side of the coin – to show that there are young Catholic voices that weren’t being heard, yet were just as committed and faithful to the Catholic traditions for social justice as others.

There was a call put out for writers, not really knowing who we would get to volunteer (nobody is paid), what the quality of writing would be, etc.  People came out of the woodwork – and have continued to do so.  There are now something like 20 regular contributors to this blog.  We are nearing 45,000 visitors to the site, which averages out to about 3,750 visitors a month.  Considering it has grown exponentially as viral communication spreads on the blog, we are probably now getting over 4,000 visitors each month to the blog.

This has caught the attention of some.  The National Catholic Reporter recently launched some blogs on politics, pop culture, and the environment.  They also have a Young Voices section on their site, where two of the four writers got their start on this very blog.  The editors get emails from various social movements and rock bands who want us to write a story about them.  We haven’t really done this yet – we leave the topics of the posts completely up to each individual writer – but it’s good to know there is interest.

Last November, a couple of us did a presentation about the importance blogging plays in our culture and our Church.  The book The Word Made Fresh by Meredith Gould does a good job of describing the importance of the Church adapting to new communication methods and the importance of lifting up those doing communications work at the Diocesan or parish level.  The three conference workshops were well attended – about 120 people throughout the weekend – with people of all ages and goals wanting to know how to better use the Internet to reach people.  Among the audience members were Tom Fox, editor at NCR, as well as Dolores Huerta (the longtime activist partner of Cesar Chavez in the farmworker movement).

Now the blog is turning a year old today, Pentecost 2009.  There’s no telling what our writers will write about, what issues of being faithful and Catholic in America today will be reflected on, who our next new writer will be, what new commentators will join us.  However, I’m glad you’re a part of the discussion, because it makes all of us as individuals – as well as the whole Church – better for it.

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