Lisa Hendey and Roxane Salonen

For the past few years, I've watched wistfully as Catholic communicators from around the country gathered to attend the Catholic Press Association's annual Catholic Media Conference. This year, I decided to take the plunge and find the funding to make attending a reality. I traveled cross country to Indianapolis and with a head spinning full of ideas, jumped in to the mix.

I'll be honest. Sometimes, as a blogger, attending meetings like this one can be slightly intimidating. The attendees at this event range from Archbishops to Diocesan Directors of Communication. The bring a combined experience level and passion for their work that is both inspiring and infectious. But the truth is, the more time I spend working in the New Evangelization, the more I'm convicted that not only should we bloggers, podcasters, and social media enthusiasts use our tools to communicate the faith, but that we should do so with as professional an attitude as possible. So unlike most conferences I'm lucky enough to attend these days as a speaker, I am here primarily as a learner.

One of the early and likely most memorable joys of my time here so far has been spending time with my friend and fellow blogger Roxane Salonen, who has been a wonderful contributor here at Roxane recently assumed responsibilities as the new Communications Director in her home Diocese of Fargo. We are sharing a room here, and comparing notes as both of us scramble to take in every last ounce of information we can find to help us in the important tasks God has laid before us. Last night we had a chance to meet and giggle and swap stories in person, to pray together, and to encourage one another after an online friendship that has been built over the past several years.

Also exciting was the chance I had to connect with the amazing trio of Brandon Vogt (The Church and New Media), Matthew Warner ( and Josh Simmons (eCatholic), who are here doing a day-long seminar on New Media. Not only are these guys my friends, they astound me with their passion and creativity and they are my colleagues on a daily basis. We may live and work in far flung cities, but we connect regularly to support, encourage and communicate with one another about how New Media technologies can be employed to share the Good News of the Gospel. Time spent with them in person not only fuels me creatively, but also re-convicts me about the higher standards I need to set for my work.

I hope to carve out a few moments of time to share more of this experience with you over the next few days. In the mean time, please pray for those of us who are here worshipping, working (and yes, playing a bit too) together. May our efforts be pleasing to God and fruitful in drawing others closer to Him too.

Copyright 2012 Lisa M. Hendey