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Vatican Hosts Conference for Bloggers

The Pontifical Councils for Culture and Social Communications are organizing a gather of Catholic bloggers in Rome on Monday, May 2, 2011, the day after Pope John Paul II’s beatification.

 The aim of the meeting is to allow for a dialogue between bloggers and Church representatives, to listen to the experiences of those who are actively involved in this arena, and to achieve a greater understanding of the needs of the blogging community. The meeting will also allow for a presentation of some Church initiatives to engage the new media technologies, both in Rome and at the local level.

The first panel of presenters will consist of five bloggers, representing five different language groups.  Simultaneous translation will be provided in Italian, English, French, Polish and Spanish.

The second panel will draw on people involved in the Church’s communications outreach, such as Fr. Lombardi from the Vatican press office, who will speak of their experiences in working with new media and initiatives aimed at ensuring an effective engagement by the Church with bloggers.

The meeting is taking place on the day after the beatification of Pope John Paul II in order to take advantage of the presence in Rome of many bloggers. Those who wish to attend need to apply by email and send a link to their blog. As space is limited to 150 seats, those who are interested should apply now. 

This upcoming conference serves to reinforce the importance of this year’s National Meeting of the Institute on Religious Life, which is devoted to the subject of utilizing the new media–including blogging!–for the new evangelization. The National Meeting will be held on April 29-May 1, 2011 at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. For more information and/or to register for the event, click here.

Courtesy of Vatican Radio.

An Undivided Heart: The Book

The online store at the Institute on Religious Life has a wonderful selection of vocation-related resources.

One such resource is An Undivided Heart: Pope John Paul II on the Deeper Realities of the Consecrated Life, by Sr. Evelyn A. Schumacher, O.S.F. An Undivided Heart illuminates Pope John Paul II’s teaching on the mystery of the consecrated life by weaving together his many exhortations, treating all the essential elements in a way that not only instructs the mind, but also inspires the heart and elevates the soul.

This 94-page book serves well as an introduction to the consecrated life for novices and those in discernment, but could also benefit religious who are seeking personal renewal. An Undivided Heart has questions for study and reflection for each of the eight chapters and a bibliography.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago calls it, “A much-needed book in this moment of the Church’s life.”

This is just one of several such gems available through the Institute on Religious Life. Check out our online catalog today!

Priests on Facebook?

Today I thought I would give a plug to an excellent, new Catholic website called Catholic Lane. There are already several interesting items archived at the vocations page, including a series of testimonies entitled, “The JPII Generation Tells Its Story” and a thought-provoking four-part series entitled, “Reflections on Latin and the Catholic Church’s Memory and Identity.”

The article that really caught my attention, though, is the one entitled, “What Do You Think: Is Facebook a Place for Priests?”–a topic that I’ve often wondered about myself.

The author, Thomas A. Flynn, a seminarian with the Legionaries for Christ, is not on Facebook himself, but even-handedly sets forth both the pros and cons–some of which I think would apply to religious and laity as well. Check it out here.

While on the subject of the use of new technology by priests and religious, I encourage readers to consider attending this year’s national meeting of the Institute on Religious Life, April 30-May 1 in Mundelein, Illinois. The theme is “Go Make Disciples,” and the conference will focus on how best to utilize the new media in the new evangelization. For more information or to register now for the event, click here.

IRL’s New Blog

About the USCCB.With this post, the Institute on Religious Life (IRL) launches its new blog, entitled “An Undivided Heart.” If you’re looking for news, commentary, or resources on vocations–especially vocations to the consecrated life–you’ve come to the right place. Welcome!

One of the five pastoral priorities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at this time is the promotion of priestly and religious vocations. In furtherance of this priority, the USCCB has created the For Your Vocation website, which is nicely done and contains a wealth of useful resources.

One recent post at the For Your Vocation website is “Top 10 for 2011″: a helpful listing of ten highly recommended vocation sites. While all the sites listed in this top ten have obvious merit, a few deserve special mention here:

First, I was happy to see the new Vocation Boom site at the head of the list. It’s the work of Catholic Answers’ Jerry Usher, and For Your Vocation justifiably calls it the “best new resource on Priesthood.”

Second, it was great that the website of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville (aka the Nashville Dominicans) made the list. The Nashville Dominicans are affiliates of the IRL, and their site was singled out for its beauty and depth.

Last but not least, it was gratifying to see that the IRL’s website also made the top ten, because of (a) “its diverse resources for vocation discernment,” and (b) “its valuable links to religious communities.”

We are grateful for this recognition of the IRL, and now with this daily blog we hope to only enhance our service to the Church and especially to all who turn to us, desiring to love Our Lord with an undivided heart.