Saturday, 16 April 2011
Bloggers' Meeting at the Vatican - somehow, I've been invited to attend!
Words cannot describe the utter amazement, joy and shock that I felt this morning when my name appeared on the list of those chosen to attend the Vatican's first meeting with the world's Catholic bloggers! Yes, I'd sent in my details, but never actually thought I'd be invited to the BlogMeet itself! Whilst it seems that the Pontifical Council for Social Communication made some pre-choices "to ensure a diversified presence", everyone else (including me) was chosen at random (name-in-a-hat style). Having never won a lucky-dip in my life, I am very grateful that the first time anything like this has happened to me involves the two things that are closest to my heart: Catholicism and blogging!
I'd like to thank all those who have sent me good wishes today, and also want to assure you all of my prayers as I visit Rome for the first time. I'm hoping to attend an early morning Mass at St Peter's on the 2 May, and will offer my Communion for those who read this blog. It is a great honour for me to have met some very wonderful people on here (and other Catholic blogs), and I do pray for all my visitors every day - friend and foe alike.
I would also like to thank the person who answered the phone at my bank earlier, who agreed to extend my overdraft - otherwise, I'd have had to send my apologies to the BlogMeet organisers! As I haven't travelled long-distances for a number of years, and because I suffer from panic-attacks and anxiety, a close friend has very kindly offered to accompany me to the Eternal City. Such acts of generosity prove to me that humanity really can conform itself to Christ's image, through God's grace and simple (yet profound) acts of the will.
It strikes me as providential that God has allowed me the privilege of attending the Vatican Blog Meet, as later on that week (7 May) will see the planning meeting for the Guild of Catholic Bloggers (for which I am partly responsible)! I'm really looking forward to meeting other bloggers at the Hinsley Room (Westminster Cathedral) on that Saturday (7 May), and to be able to recount to them the events in Rome. Of course, I am also very excited to be going to Rome itself, and to have this opportunity to meet with other bloggers (a lot of whom are well-established and highly respected journalists in their own right).
Currently, it seems that some work of the Holy Spirit is afoot, and we bloggers are being called to fulfil an important role in the Church. We are often the first people that questioning souls will stumble upon, so our witness to God's love and His truth can be a powerful act of co-operation in Christ's salvific mission. A good Catholic blog, like a good Catholic priest or layman, will be a pointer to the "splendour of truth" and the hungry love of God. We bloggers can provide more than just news or ecclesiastical gossip - we have daily opportunities to engage with others who strive "for the things that are above" and the sanctification of mankind.
Of course, we are very human, too, and blogging has its own terrible temptations - pride and anger being top of the list for me. We can also, like a hermit without spiritual direction, become loners, or ranting outsiders - at risk of becoming ever more polarised from the Church we love. In that sense, and aware that this is one of the primary goals of the Vatican meeting, it is good for us to enter into dialogue with those who lead us in Christ. They need committed missionaries on the blogosphere, just as we need nourishment and support from our shepherds!
So, I promise to keep you posted on events as they happen in Rome, and on the celebrations surrounding John Paul II's beatification - I will be arriving in St Peter's Square just in time for it!
Oremus pro invicem!
For a full list of the 150 bloggers who have been invited to Rome for the BlogMeet, please see the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
[Image: The Vatican across the River Tiber; attributed to Sébastien Bertrand and published under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence; Source: Wikimedia]