what do memes have to do with the CNMC?


Well, maybe not everything, but this silly photoshop, courtesy of Ashley Collins from Peter and Paul Ministries comes pretty darn close. It picks up the spirit of goofiness and making friends. This explains the Charlie’s Steve’s Angels theme we have going on.

You see, the CNMC really is a celebration. Oh sure, we’ve been moving toward a more professional conference, providing as much instruction and best practices sharing as we can pack into limited time with limited resources. We’ve managed to get some of the most amazing people in new media to come and play together under one roof. And what happens when these dynamic, faithful Catholics come together never ceases to amaze me.

What happens is akin to a lightning strike.

Collaborations begin.

Creativity flows.

Friendships are forged.

We connect as the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is a beautiful thing.

So when we kneel together in Adoration, sit together in Mass, celebrate the Eucharist as a community, send silly Tweets, post crazy Facebook statuses, pass notes send texts during presentations, and invade restaurants with huge parties, it’s because we get the point of the celebration — to get to know each other, not as virtual friends and collaborators, because we are that, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, working together to spread the message, His message, to all the corners of the earth.

Because when we know this Love, it’s impossible to keep it for ourselves.

photo by Cliff Ravenscraft

Read what others have to say about their experiences at the Catholic New Media Conference 2012. Add your Recap to ours!

Catholic Weekend…unplugged

Capt. Jeff: Okay… I think I have us in a chat room. I still HATE this Skype 5 interface

Maria Johnson: what a goober. so this week, I watched the Avengers, loved it

Capt. Jeff: @Steve: Do you want to do some game show questions?

Steve Nelson: ours is not to reason why. ok, it is.

William Newton: I’m almost ready give me about 5-7 more mins.

Maria Johnson: there’s a lot about music…love it…something about beethoven and shakespeare…love Beethoven, think shakespeare’s a hack

Capt. Jeff: I need more time than that

Maria Johnson: and my favorite composer, vivaldi

Steve Nelson: I can do some Cinco de Mayo trivia – as long as we don’t talk about it beforehand.

Capt. Jeff: ok

Steve Nelson: easy stuff.

Capt. Jeff: What do you think about inviting Jimmy to be on?

Maria Johnson: may crowningings…that should elicit some memories from childhood…I wanna do that

Capt. Jeff: he’s online now

Steve Nelson: I don’t usually give it much thought.

Maria Johnson: I lik him

Maria Johnson: like…LIKE

Capt. Jeff: me too

Capt. Jeff: lik… ooh

Capt. Jeff: yuck

Maria Johnson: ew

Capt. Jeff: brb

William Newton: This chat appears to have become #scandalous in my absence.

Maria Johnson: <Like>

William Newton: Heh

Maria Johnson: I’m going to have that facebook thumbs up made into a stamp and put it on my students papers

Maria Johnson: i think, though, I may have to use it upside down

William Newton: I wish FB had a “Dislike” button.

William Newton: You could be all Caesar in the arena.

Maria Johnson: oooooh…..don’t pull off the toga look these days

Steve Nelson: et tu maria-te?

Maria Johnson: nice.

William Newton: I thought you guys had toga parties at the CNMC.

William Newton: This is very disappointing. Shattered illusions.

Steve Nelson: shhhhh….

Maria Johnson: no, we’re simple folks. we eat cheetohs

Steve Nelson: and oreos

Steve Nelson: and chips a’hoy

Maria Johnson: mmmmmm

Maria Johnson: [we do spike the punch, though]

Steve Nelson: and lots and lots of …. coffee

William Newton: I love Ian Maxfield’s podcast from last year when he was shocked by all the food you guys ate.

Steve Nelson: don’t be fooled. he packed it away just fine.

William Newton: Well he’s a tall guy as you guys mentioned afterwards; you had been expecting a smaller guy and were surprised when you picked him up, if I remember.

Maria Johnson: hilarious guy…I saw him with that tub of cheese puffs

William Newton: I love that he indulges my armchair interest in archeaology and paleontology when we correspond.

Steve Nelson: I thank him for introducing me to Boddington’s beer. Good stuff.

William Newton: A solid beverage.

Maria Johnson: yeah, not too many people today versed in the art of conversation on a multitude of topics

Steve Nelson: I are.

William Newton: Is you?

Steve Nelson: Want to know about scissortail flycatchers or the difference between ferric and ferous oxides?

Maria Johnson: sometimes I think it would fun to have bubbles over our heads in real life. or have a status bar above our heads to hashtag our conversations

Steve Nelson: or how the difference in ferrous and ferric oxides is exhibited in the lithology of fine grained sediments, aslo known as shales?

Maria Johnson: because, clearly, I’ve had too much caffeine this morning

William Newton: This reminds me of an episode of Arrested development where Lucille is angry b/c Lucille #2 has bought the company

Maria Johnson: it would replace the “I’m with stupid” t-shirts

Steve Nelson: Ok, I’m done being pedantic. I’ll resume my role as the dull one.

William Newton: She’s yelling and air-quoting while holding a martini and splashing everywhere and Jason Bateman says, “You know you need to stop quoting when you drink.”

Maria Johnson: well, that about wraps up Catholic Weekend…thanks for coming by, folks, the show never aired because it never got out of the chat

William Newton: Ha!

Steve Nelson: that would be funny – just have Jeff narrate the chat: And then Maria said,”…”

William Newton: I bet C-Span would air it.

Maria Johnson: I have half a mind to copy it and post it on my blog

Maria Johnson: this is your opportunity to say something about having only half a mind…GO!

William Newton: Are we allowed to talk about Joe Biden on SQPN?

Steve Nelson: <rim shot>

Maria Johnson: oh. my. does he have half a mind?

William Newton: That’s true, it might be out on loan.

Maria Johnson: that was…well…rhetorical

Steve Nelson: I think it’s just that the two sides of his brain excommunicate.

Maria Johnson: hahahaha. that’s…really funny

Capt. Jeff: …

William Newton: Sibelius is one of the speakers up the road for graduation this year. My undergrad alma mater comes through in the clutch for heresy yet again.

Steve Nelson: All statements by Steve do not necessarily represent the views of Steve.  Copyright 2012.

new depths of ridiculous

The latest episode of Catholic Weekend features Lisa Hendey and the usual silliness. Listen here.

Meanwhile, our angelic kitteh needs a name. Any suggestions?

I keep forgetting I do this podcast thing


Check out Catholic Weekend. It’s a few friends that get together and talk about stuff. Some of it is personal, some of it is current events, but all of it is Catholic — and by that I mean, we’re Catholic so no matter what we’re talking about, it’s coming from that world view.

This weekend’s show was fun! Father Roderick, Captain Jeff and I talk about some neat things. Give us a listen here.


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.


some snapshots of #CNMC11

Hey, so the CNMC 2011 is over and I’m on the last flight out of Kansas City. It’s always the same for me – an overload of things that need to be done, keeping an eye on the program, and at the same time, slipping into the presentations I want to watch, talk to the people I want to get to know, and catch up with old friends.  In short, the CNMC zoomed by and I need a minute to gather my thoughts and think about the whole experience, both in its delightful little snippets of conversations, and in the broad picture of The Conversation.

But first, I have to think about some logistics and some conversation that need to be held following the point when everyone has checked out of the hotels, boarded their flights home, and put the conference behind them.

Then I’ll get to reflect. In the meantime, here are some highlights that continue to make me smile :

Fr. Jay Finelli is hilarious. Really hilarious. And he yells at his GPS.

Steve Nelson is a superhero with an invisible cape.

Paul Camarata is one of the most gracious people I know.

Lisa Hendey delights me…because she is delightful.

Matt Warner’s baby girl is adorable and likes oatmeal cookies.

Cheese puffs are a universal snack. Fr. Roderick and Ian Maxfield know this, even if they’ll never admit it.  Pshaw to their European sensibilities.

Jeff Geerling is really really smart…and really really clever. And his wife makes really really tasty cookies. Really.

Pat Gohn may have a new podcast, Homilies-R-Us. Kinda redefines her Among Women segments on women in the pew.

Sean Patrick Lovett is absolutely, unquestionably, amazingly charming.

Sr. Anne, I discovered, loves raspberries and dark chocolate. You should send her some.

Greg Willits is still very tall. And tore up Mac Barron’s shoes.

Scott Maentz is magical with his camera. Look up the CNMC11 on Flickr and see the smiles, fun, and intensity that he captured, both in the sessions, and the celebration.

Jeff Nielsen, Pat Padley, and Nick Padley are unsung heroes. If you watched any of the goings on anywhere at the conference, it was because of their untiring work to make it happen…not just technologically, but in the liturgies as well.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas was so welcoming, and their beautiful Savior Pastoral Center was magnificent. Archbishop Naumann gave us a lovely treat by leading evening prayer and visiting with all of us.

And finally, a big hug and a kiss to all the people who came to the CNMC and participated in the dialogue – making new friends, reinforcing old ties, and jumping into the deep together.

I didn’t take any pictures during the CNMC because, well, I’m a #FAIL, but here’s a little peek at the shenanigans during the set-up, and then grabbing dinner in town (a little under-dressed and over-tired, and then the next day, another super early morning…and then…the CNMC!).


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



did you know I’m on a podcast sometimes?

It’s a new episode of Catholic Weekend and I got to play with Captain Jeff and Steve Nelson. This afternoon we discussed some random stuff about eating meat on a Friday in Lent because it was the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, and we also had some serious conversations about Steve’s mission trip to Haiti last week.

If you’ve never listened to this show, or you’ve never listened to a podcast, you can listen straight from the website. Just click PLAY. Or if you want, you can download it and listen to it later. If you like it, or like the idea of listening to shows on demand when you want, then look at some of the other shows that are featured in reviews or in the directory.

I discovered A Good Story is Hard to Find thanks to a review by Sean McGaughey.