The redoubtable Father Roderick Vonhögen of the Star Quest Production Network (“SQPN”) has asked those of us who scribble, podcast, and use smartphone apps or social media to participate in today’s first Catholic Media Promotion Day. The laudable idea is to draw attention to some of the great resources available to users who may not be aware of the wealth of resources available to Catholics and non-Catholics interested in learning more about the Church, whether news and commentary, history and culture, or just the daily life perspectives of those who contribute to new media outlets from a Catholic perspective. Father Roderick asks that we list three of our favorites in several categories, as well as describing our own individual work, and I am happy to oblige in the hope that you, gentle reader, may find some of these resources both interesting and useful.
Of course if you are reading this blog, you are aware of this particular project, but I will sum up both this and my other site in case you are new to these pages:
– The Blog of the Courtier
This is my daily blog where I post Monday to Friday on various topics, often related to the arts and culture; naturally, as a practicing Catholic my views and opinions are often informed by my Catholic faith. Based on the ideas and ideals of the great Renaissance man of letters Baldassare Castiglione as contained in his seminal work “The Book of the Courtier”, my hope is that I am contributing to a frank but informed discussion about our civilization, both in looking at its past and in considering where it is going. This summer will mark the third anniversary of the blog’s first appearance, and I have met many wonderful people through it.
– Catholic Barcelona
This is an ongoing project which I began in 2009. For years it frustrated me that when I would visit Barcelona, which I do on average about once a year, the English-language information available to me about the city’s many churches, chapels, and religious communities was often sparse at best. I have therefore taken on the ongoing task of cataloging, as I am able to find information and photographs, all of the more interesting Catholic sites in the city, with entries – now totaling nearly 80 and still growing – that are updated whenever new information becomes available. The hope is that it will serve as a resource for those who live in or visit the city of Barcelona and wish to learn more about its nearly 2,000 years of Catholic history.
– American Papist
The two individuals who most strongly encouraged me to begin blogging nearly three years ago were Dawn Eden of The Dawn Patrol and Thomas Peters of American Papist. Times have changed a bit since then. Miss Eden is now focused on her graduate studies and finds time to blog very infrequently, whereas Mr. Peters’ blog now forms part of a larger group of blogging and new media producers called Catholic Vote.org. Mr. Peters continues to break news stories and discuss topics which are often obscured or ignored in traditional media outlets, and is not afraid of speaking his mind even when it may make some uncomfortable by confronting them with the truth, which makes his work all the more timely and important.
– Fallible Blogma
To date I have not had the pleasure of meeting Matthew Warner, proprietor of Fallible Blogma, in person, which situation hopefully will be remedied before too long. In the meantime, I know that if there is news coming out of either the Church or the secular world which is important to young Catholics, Mr. Warner’s site is one of the resources to which I can turn for links, information, and thoughtful commentary. One of the benefits of keeping up with Mr. Warner – and as a young husband and father one wonders how he finds the time to do it all – are his tweets, which often alert the wary to important developments in the Church or Pro-Life issues.
– Ten Thousand Places
It is no exaggeration to refer to Margaret Perry as a prolific blogger whose work you should become familiar with. In addition to Ten Thousand Places, where she writes about diverse topics ranging from her daily life to style and design, to cooking and literature, and of course her Catholic faith, Miss Perry is also the authoress of the children’s book site Little Lamb Books, as well as one of the triumvirate of contributors to The Magdalene Sisters, a blog by three young Catholic women exploring what it means to be a laywoman in the Church. She has always been very gracious in her support of my efforts.
– Catholic In A Small Town
Mac and Katherine Barron are the hosts of the very popular Catholic In A Small Town, a podcast that is one of the many resources available through SQPN and an absolute must-listen if you are considering an exploration of the world of Catholic podcasting. Over the course of the past several years, they have charted their lives as Catholic converts and parents to three growing boys, living in a small, predominantly Protestant town in Georgia. Media-savvy and often hilariously funny, their good humor is completely infectious, yet they also take the time to deal with serious topics affecting young Catholics and Catholic families.
– The Journey Home
For nearly fourteen years now Marcus Grodi, head of The Coming Home Network International, has hosted a one-hour show on EWTN known as The Journey Home, in which he interviews converts and reverts to the Catholic Faith about their lives and how they came to cross the Tiber. Even if you have never strayed from the Church, have never been a Catholic/have no active intent of ever becoming one, Mr. Grodi’s podcast of the television show is always full of compelling conversation and discussion in which we can learn a great deal. Whether discussing the differences in theological views of the various branches of Christianity or other world religions, the philosophy of those who shifted from an atheist or agnostic perspective to that of the Catholic Church, or examining the influences that family and environment can have on our spiritual upbringing, Mr. Grodi’s show at its best is like the Charlie Rose program with a soul.
– Just A Catholic Dad
Comparatively new to the Catholic New Media scene, having recorded his first podcast just under a year ago, Sean McCarney of Just A Catholic Dad is building a following of listeners around the world as a result of his entertaining and informative podcast – and not just because he sounds slightly like the Geico Gecko. For Americans in particular, Mr. McCarney’s experiences and viewpoints as a Catholic in England provides us with great food for thought in our own language, when we think about the English-speaking Catholic community and the opportunities and challenges it is facing in the Mother Country and around the world. In addition, his tales of adventures with his four-year old daughter and as an air traffic controller are often uproariously funny, for in his podcast menu Mr. McCarney always makes sure to balance his cheese course with his main course.
Other Catholic Media Resources
– Daily Mass Readings
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a dedicated portion of their site where visitors can read the day’s mass readings, using the approved translation from the New American Bible which appears in the Lectionary. Whether you are a lector preparing for mass or a parishioner who wants to reflect on the readings before arriving at church, this is a wonderful resource that should be used frequently by everyone, even if you are too busy to get to daily mass. It also links to the full text of the NAB for further scriptural study.
Because the nation’s capital is full of twittering folk, it is often a surprise to me to learn that many of my acquaintance are not yet using Twitter for news and information. I will admit that at first, I too wondered what the fuss was about. Yet for anyone who has been online following the news in recent weeks and months coming out of Egypt, Libya, and Japan, you cannot but be aware that the instantaneous reporting available via Twitter has outpaced traditional news broadcasts, print journalism, and even blogging. There are many Catholic tweets and twitterers on the site of course, but three whom I follow are:
Elizabeth Scalia, editor at Patheos.com and weekly contributor to First Things
Steven Ertelt, founder of LifeSite News
Thomas Pringle, blogger and Catholic news commentator
If you are a layman and have ever tried to pray The Divine Office – also known as The Liturgy of the Hours – without assistance, you know that there is often a great deal of flipping back and forth that has to go on when attempting to use the printed book format. Univeralis solves that problem by allowing you to navigate to their website whenever you wish, and find the right prayers and readings for that particular hour of the day. Their content can also be downloaded and yes, for those of you who have drunk the Apple Kool-Aid, they also offer an iPhone/iPad app.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid