What a great day!
I only made it to half of the New Media Celebration (also at the Georgia International Convention Center, where the Eucharistic Congress was held yesterday), since I had commitments in the morning. There were a few hundred people in attendance -- 300? 600? I'm not sure. The only scheduled "event" I attended was the bloggers panel, featuring Amy Welborn, Mark Shea, Jeff Miller (The Curt Jester), ably moderated by Lisa Hendey (Catholic Mom). I wish the panel could have been longer, since the stars of the Catholic Blogosphere could barely give a cursory nod at all the ins and outs of the subject. (And many thanks for the shoutout during the talk, Amy!)
For me, the day was really about connecting with people, old and new. It was especially cool to hang out with and catch up with Amy and Michael (and Joseph and Michael Jr! Gosh, kids grow!). I just crashed their book table and chatted away. Hope I didn't hurt the sales, y'all!
And I got to meet and chat with Mark Shea!. And get my picture taken with Father Roderick. and meet Fr. Leo Patalinghug of Grace Before Meals (which, it seems, is going to be syndicated by PBS!). And, very briefly, with Fr. Chris Decker and Joshua LeBlanc of The Catholic Underground.
Other cool connections:
Rachel Balducci of Testosterhome (What an awesome name! Also a resident of the Peach State, but in the other diocese ... :))
Paul Snatchko, a parishioner at the Paulist mother pariI tsh in New York, St. Paul the Apostle. Just last week I noticed that a blogger had used (with proper credit given) one of the photos that I took at the Paulist house in Lake George NY during my Novitiate. And, today, I meet him here in Atlanta! And, he knows some friends from SC! What a small world!
Fr. Ed Branch, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, on loan to Atlanta, who has been working to establish a campus ministry at Morehouse and Spellman Colleges in Atlanta. (I've met Fr. Ed before -- he lead a couple of Diocesan campus ministry retreats in SC when I was in grad school. And when I was in formation with the Paulists, my parish apostolate was in his home parish of St. Martin of Tours in NE DC! Again ... small freakin' workd!)
And more connections: I find out that Alex of Vitus Speaks, is in the same parish as Mark Shea, and they're both involved in Communion and Liberation. There is a chance I might be out in WA later in the year, in which case it would be totally awesome to meet up.
[And it turns out that the guy who started up the CL group in the Atlanta area that I met yesterday at the Eucharistic Congress, is part of a group CL blog Cahiers Péguy: the drama of Christian humanism.]
So yeah, BLOGFEST!
And last, but not least, and though I didn't get to meet them, a huge and heartfelt thanks to Greg and Jennifer Willits of the Rosary Army for all their hard work (and the others at SQPN) into putting this together. This was the first time such a Catholic gathering was organized. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort and craziness (and money!) all this took. Kudos to y'all. I hope and pray that this effort continues and grows and bears much fruit in the Spirit. Stuff like this isn't free! If any of y'all can, and would like to, please visit the Rosary Army page and consider dropping them a few dollars to help defray the costs of today's event!
And finally: Gashwin took on some flesh today. Or rather, stepped out into the real world. I had registered for the Conference under the blog name. Easier to publicize it. I'd also prepared some business cards to hand out. I must say, it did feel weird talking in the real world to people who don't know me by my real name! But, that name shall remain cloaked on here. :) Oh and the other thing I realized: the blog title doesn't roll off the tongue too easily. However, it's cool, and it's in Latin. So, it stays :) It's also in honor of this rare excursion of Gashwin outside the virtual world that my visage makes a rare appearance on the blog as well. :)