I’m still here… I just spent a bit longer than I planned on writing a post for one of my other two blogs; it will publish early Monday morning over at Pastoral Postings. Now this… and all the other homework I have, plus a presentation that I have to give on Thursday. Oh well, this first.
Busy with what you ask? Well, busy with blogger meet ups galore – which I love. I have lost count of how many blogger/Facebook meet-ups I have been richly blessed to have.
Earlier in October I got to have an amazingly fun and all-too-short lunch with Rambling Follower – aka, Allison, her husband and her two wonderful sons, Gabe, when they were in the area for a wedding.
This past Friday I had multiple meet ups/re-meet-ups! I was invited to the Sapientia et Doctrina awards dinner at Fordham University by my beloved friend Mike Hayes. Mike has done many things, such as co-found Busted Halo, the first web magazine for young Catholics, which still stands mighty in that arena. In fact – this was the reason that Mike was being honored,for all his work in online ministry! He has both undergrad and graduate degrees from Fordham. Mike is also well known for his book, Googling God and the blog of the same name.
Before I headed off to that event however, I did meet a Facebook friend, who blogs at Daily Exegesis, Janine Economides. If I love to follow a thread, it is when I see mutual friends of other friends of mine on Facebook, who have no other visible connection. In this case Janine was friends with Beth Cioffoletti, whom I first “met” in the comments at America magazine. (Beth blogs at multiple places, here is Louie, Louie.I hope to have a meet up with her one day too!) Janine was also friends with Paul Strid, the Byzigenous Buddhapalian. (whom I have met!)
In any event, Janine and I started to interact online and I began to read her Daily Exegesis blog. Her writing and insights are particularly moving to me and I highly recommend her work. In any case, it was a time of pure delight to meet her, even eating, literally – ok, almost literally, in the shadow of my old workplace near NYU. We had a lovely lunch and I even got to meet her husband Nick.
Then it was off to meet Rosemary Azzaro, (that’s Rosemary with Mike Hayes and with me in that photo above), a Facebook friend that I met via the aforementioned Mike Hayes and Paul Snatchko. Now we stayed at Rosemary’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s apartment, which they are not currently living in. As it turns out in the tiny-cute-6-degrees-world-of-Fran, I know her brother-in-law, who was my client at Nielsen for many years. Go figure! Anyway, Ro and I had the most amazing time. I am grateful for her hospitality and her friendship!
Ro and I headed up to Fordham and got to meet all kinds of amazing people. First of all, we were welcomed like we were long lost and beloved alums, reminding me of the greatness of Catholic community at its very best.
It was great to see Mike and to finally meet his wonderful wife, Marion. Mike’s dad, an amazing human being, was also there and what a delight to meet him too! Both Mike’s dad, who seems to have a heart as big as the world and his wife Marion, touched me. Marion is clearly a deep, funny, wise and tender person and immediatey I knew that I had made a fine new friend.
Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, of Homeboy Industries, who was being awarded the Gaudium et Spes award and he would be the keynote speaker. I had met Fr. Greg in LA last year and read his remarkable book, Tattoos on the Heart soon thereafter. It was such a treat to say hello to him in person again.
By the way – his keynote… not a dry eye in the house. He is brilliant, simply brilliant and his message of hope built on love in action should be shouted from every pulpit.
Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, another Facebook friend was there. Fr. Dave is best known for his work at Busted Halo and for his broadcasts on the Catholic Channel on Sirius.
I also had the pleasure of meeting someone that I have admired for so many, many years, Kathleen Deignan. Kathleen, a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame is an accomplished theologian, musician, educator and someone passionate about the ecology of the world and all its peoples. Kathleen is a professor at Iona College, but she is most well known for her work with (note: music plays when you open this link!) Scola Ministries.
I first became familiar with Kathleen through her music, when I used to attend liturgies at The Benedictine Grange, in Redding, CT, in the 90′s. What liturgy was like there is probably a topic worth returning to in another post. In any case, I have long loved her work and I did become FB friends with her at some point.
It was truly a gift to meet her, especially when I introduced myself, feeling a bit like a liturgy-geek-stalker, which is not completely off the mark, and Kathleen knew who I was from Facebook! She could not have been warmer or kinder and I can’t believe that after all this time, we have met.
Another person that I was thrilled to meet was Zeni Fox. Zeni is a theologian and a professor at Seton Hall. She is well known for her work in lay ministry. (As you can imagine, this is a favorite topic of mine!) Once more, I encountered someone friendly and warm, and like every other person that I met, completely unassuming and so wonderfully kind.
There were lots of other people I met, like Lu Doyle, Ann Heekin and others. What a night!
The next day was best of all, when I had lunch with a treasured friend who I have known since college. She is “teh awesome,” and our two hours together flew by as if in a minute. Then it was back on the train, Albany bound.
My life is so richly blessed with so many people. Everyone that I met and encountered on Friday and Saturday were filled with the spirit of gathering us as one. It is a beautiful thing and I am so deeply grateful.
Here is some lovely music from Kathleen Deignan to close out the post…