My handsome Dan and I had to stay in town this year while our friends attended the Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City. (Soon-to-be newlyweds = cash strapped.) We spent the time talking about CNMC, new media, faith, and nerdy stuff anyway. I want to thank everyone for expressing that we were missed; we certainly missed you.
I’m still catching up on the recordings, but I wanted to list a few things that made me happy, even observing from home in San Antonio.
- More Eucharistic prayer: CNMC has always ended with Mass. The source and summit of our lives certainly deserved more personal attention at such a beautiful event; I know it must have set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
- More consecrated folk: Participation from more clergy, religious, and first-time participation from bishops (even live-tweeting from IN’s Bishop Coyne, which totally made me geek out) also allows for a wider cooperation between us reg’lar faithful folk and those who have consecrated their lives to faith-ful service.
- Vatican spokesperson: Sean Patrick Lovett’s presence as a participant and keynote speaker really begins to connect the dots. Sean has been the director of Vatican Radio for years, and I have the feeling that his presence brought some continuity between now and the May 1st Vatican Bloggers Meeting. Additionally, as Matt Warner expressed, “it made the Vatican and us seem not quite so distant.”
- The return of the panel: The very first CNMC included a panel discussion (remember that?) which allowed for many talented, experienced voices to create dynamic dialogue. I was glad to see this format return, because I think it aptly reflects our digital conversations. (*Plus, we got a verbal re-tweet out of it.)
- A breakout session on theology: Hallelujah! It’s what I’ve been waiting for. Pat Gohn gave a nice start to what I hope will be many future breakout sessions on the theology of communication. Look, if the Church asks us to know something about the theology of Baptism before we become godparents, Confirmation before we become sponsors, and Matrimony before the wedding, shouldn’t we educate ourselves on the theology of these new media as we use them for God’s purposes? This excites me, and I hope SQPN’s Board can arrange for some keynotes on this in the future. There is so much to be said.
- Collaboration between media: With CatholicTV present (giving a sneak peek of their ‘Mass Confusion’ sitcom starring several Catholic new media celebs), Lino Rulli’s Sinner book promoted, and The Mighty Macs film preview, I hope a precedent has been set for cooperation between ‘old’ media and ‘new.’ The Lord knows we all need constructive criticism, encouragement, and ideas.
- More challenging language: The first few CNMCs have been, whether we realized it or not, about some thumbs-up and a good slap on the back. We focused more on how exciting Catholic new media are/could be, how to dive into it, how much we ‘get it’ while other Catholic media don’t, and how many souls we’re saving with new media. This year, for the first time, I sensed the understanding that CNMCs need to include more critical self-reflection. Are we really on the cutting edge? Are we letting our egos get the best of us? How are we guarding against the dangers of new media? Are we challenging each other? Excellent; I hope this continues.