I've had to look at the list at least ten times to personally confirm what it says - my name was one of the 150 selected to attend the upcoming Vatican Meeting for Bloggers. I'm tardy blogging about this, mostly because it still doesn't feel like a reality.

When the initial invitation to apply for what's commonly being referred to as the Vatican "Blogfest" came up, I decided to try for the opportunity. I'd been greatly wishing for a trip to Rome, primarily to attend the Beatification ceremonies for Servant of God Pope John Paul II. When the Pontifical Councils for Social Communications and Culture announced a joint meeting for Catholic bloggers, I applied, knowing that I would be one of literally hundreds hoping to attend this forum. The PCSC shared the following goals in their primary announcement of the event:

The aim of the meeting, which is being organised by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Social Communications, 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 that community. The meeting will also allow for a presentation of some of the initiatives to engage with new media practitioners being taken by the Church, both in Rome and at the local level.

Last Saturday, I awoke to the sound of Twitter alerts on my cell phone before 5 am California time - in fitting fashion, it was my friends in the Catholic social media community who alerted me to my selection. We've learned since that over 750 applied and that we were randomly selected to provide a broad representation of geographic locations, vocations and perspectives. Looking at the list, I see several familiar names and some new friends I'm anxious to meet for the first time. Knowing how many of my fellow writers hoped to be present at this meeting gives me a great sense of responsibility for sharing the experience as much as possible via this blog, FaithandFamilyLive.com, Facebook and Twitter.

I would like to publicly thank my publisher, Ave Maria Press and Bayard (publishers of Faith & Family, Catholic Digest and other fine periodicals) and Lisa Wheeler of The Maximus Group for their support, logistical help and encouragement in helping me to make this trip a reality.

In the days leading up to my trip, I will be sharing some of the journey, as well as announcements from the Vatican and other Catholic news sources related to this meeting. Look for the Vatican Blog Meeting Logo in the sidebar at CatholicMom.com for a roundup of "Blogfest" related posts.

To start, here are a few links for those interested in learning more:

Since I hope to represent each of you at this special event, please share your comments and questions here and in future blog posts. What would you like to see and hear from this event? What would you ask if you were me? What are some "can't miss" sites at and around the Vatican that I need to take in during my extra days in Italy?