Celebration was the theme of last weekend’s back-to-back events, the Eucharistic Congress and the Catholic New Media Celebration, and such a grand celebration it turned out to be.
The weekend kicked off on Friday night with the Eucharistic Congress, an opportunity for the faithful to come together and reflect on the values of our faith. Speakers and featured presentations led the way to a weekend of reflection and insight into the most essential elements of our faith, centering around the Source and Summit of that faith, the Eucharist. Adoration and reconciliation was available, and of course Mass.
During breaks in the different tracks, congress-goers had an opportunity to wade through an often crowded vendor hall, where Catholic-themed booths sold anything from t-shirts emblazoned with “I love my German shepherd” to books by well-known and not-so-well-known authors, to beautiful statues and stunning icons.
Rosary Army had its usual presence there, with volunteers handing out free rosaries and teaching the knotting technique to hundreds of curious pilgrims. Boris and Natasha, and Jon H. from the forums led the campaign to show as many people as possible how to make, pray, and give away the all-twine rosaries that have made Rosary Army a popular booth at the Congress. Several thousand rosaries and chaplets were distributed, each with the joyful supplication to grow closer to Jesus Christ through His Blessed Mother.
Sunday’s Catholic New Media Celebration, organized by the Star Quest Production Network, served as an opportunity for fans as well as leaders in Catholic new media to come together and share the wealth of knowledge and opportunities available to take this new evangelization to the next level. A powerhouse collection of well-known bloggers and podcasters from all over the internet and the world, fans, and curious faithful, eager to learn about evangelization using new media, gathered in a giant community-based celebration. Guest speakers and panelists addressed the elementary steps of blogging and podcasting, and the veterans who had seized the opportunity early to use the internet for evangelization brought their wisdom and experience to the audience.
Fans, roadies, stalkers, and the curious, as well as bloggers and podcasters had an opportunity to get to know each other and do a little bit of social networking and celebrating. The big game this weekend was placing Facebook mugshots with real people. I have to admit that I sat next to a facebook “friend” and only realized after the event that I had missed an opportunity for real-life interaction. Hopefully, there’s next year.
Of course, I thought it was very exciting that the second season of That Catholic Show premiered at the event. How cool was that?
The simplest, yet most profound advice came from Mark Shea, who suggested that we blog about what we love. If we try to serve an audience, then no one is satisfied, but in seeking what interests us, we’ll find our own niche. Excellent advice from a guy who is disarmingly funny, and still packs the power of the Truth, even if he does sound like a babbling banana slug.