friends, Romans (of the Catholic kind), countrymen!

Another Catholic New Media Celebration Conference Celebration wraps up. It leaves me sad in a way, subdued, after the anxiety that leads up to it and that point when a wave of relief washes over us when we realize, okay, this is gonna work.

It’s always a surprise that we manage to pull this off , not because we can’t, because of course, we can’t — it’s the Holy Spirit, but because we always hit that wall of insecurity when doubt plagues us, when we wonder if what we’re doing is valuable, if we’re providing a real opportunity for instruction or growth or support.

We fear that we may be poor stewards of the donations that just barely keep us afloat as an organization if we don’t break even. We fear that we may fail to communicate effectively. We fear, quite frankly, that we’ll flop, and that failure, while a blow to our collectives egos, means a much greater failure in our mission to lead others to Christ. We are, after all, following that star on our logo, too!

So it goes that year after year we hit that wall of angst and realize that the momentum is out of our hands. We can’t stop the world and get off.

And we are afraid.

That fear hits us at a corporate level, but all of us on the board of directors are producers, too. We have podcasts and blogs. We have our own insecurities. We have dreams. We have technical issues, and writer’s block, and looming deadlines, and a million distractions, whether we are pursuing careers in new media or working in other fields and scrambling for the time to dedicate to this creative endeavor.

And then it happens…everybody starts arriving. We re-connect with our friends. We recognize faces from avatars, and G+ hang-outs, and Facebook photos. We are torn between staying at one table where we are engaged in a great conversation, and wanting to meet someone across the room that we’ve admired. There is laughter, and hugs, and did I say laughter? We finally relax.

The resounding message from this year’s CNMC is “Be not afraid.” It was not by design, but perhaps, it was by a greater design. At any rate, the fear of corporate failure going into the CMNC was quickly abated and replaced by the personal fear of failure — for me…as a writer and a small voice in this huge endeavor of the new evangelization.

I looked through various passages from scripture to find references to fear and seek consolation and I finally settled on Isaiah:

10 fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Perhaps it is our human frailty to be afraid and feel alone. And yet, we are not alone as Isaiah points out. Each one of those phrases comforts. I am with you….I will strengthen you….I will help you.

I don’t have to do this alone.

As always, it’s the relationships that pull me into the CNMC. The spark of recognition when a name connects during registration — the spontaneous joy of a hug — saving seats at sessions — sharing meals — laughing together — praying together — being silent together — being present.

All of these things buoy me. They refresh me. They show me, in a very real and personal way that the work we do here is in communion. Because our God is a God of love, and we cannot take this love and keep it for ourselves but share its abundance with each other.

Where He consoles us with His presence, we follow His example and become present to others.

Where He strengthens us, we become an extension and a network for others.

Where He helps us, we extend our hands not just in collaboration but in friendship.

It’s why we do this. And why I picked such a silly picture to accompany this rambling post. It’s really not so silly — if you look closely, you’ll see three women from three distant geographical locations who might never have met had it not been for Catholic new media and previous CNMCs, and I couldn’t ask for a better, stronger, more loving beacon in this new evangelization than these women.

Here’s hoping that this year’s celebration has helped foster new relationships, both professional and personal. I know it continues to bless me.


13 thoughts on “friends, Romans (of the Catholic kind), countrymen!

  1. Yes thank y’all so much! I didn’t even know who exactly was responsible for planning the event vs. attending it, so seamless and friendly did everything feel.

  2. Thanks for pushing through the fear and putting together an awesome conference! It was great to meet so many people with like interests and passions. And, God willing, we’ll all get together next year to be renewed. Until then, be not afraid!

  3. (I wrote this on my G+ re-share, but I’ll write it here too…)
    This article says it all! I just want to let you know how awesome it was to meet you and share our love for Flannery, Media, and the Church! See you in Dallas!

    1. Thanks, Ashley, it was great meeting you! What a totally charming surprise it is to be joined by Flannery! The Media and the Church, well, that was kind of a given. Here’s to those special surprises that make life fun.

  4. Congratulations and I’m sure a lot of lives have been blessed by it. It is so true how fear can be so strong but times like this we remember once again why faith is so much powerful in every way possible.

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