Earlier this week, the clouds accompanied me on a journey to Indianapolis, where I have been taking in the 2012 Catholic Media Conference. I can think of no better way to begin my new venture as communications coordinator and editor for the Diocese of Fargo here in North Dakota. My time in Indy has been a great launch into this world of professional Catholic communicators.

Let me paint an even more precise picture. Right now, I’m sitting in my pajamas in a hotel bed with my laptop in front of me, and in the bed next to me sits Lisa Hendey, the founder and moderator of CatholicMom.com, sitting in a robe with a towel on her head, a laptop on her lap. We are both typing away early in the morning in Indianapolis, doing what we do — writing, connecting, communicating.

For those of you reading this from that site, you are no doubt well-acquainted with Lisa already. For those reading from my blog, Peace Garden Mama, meet Lisa, someone I met years ago, have stayed near through online means, and now, for the first time, have had a chance to meet in person and enjoy as a temporary roommate.

Here we are Day 1 of the conference:

One of our mornings together, Lisa sat at our hotel-room desk and interviewed on Brian Patrick’s national Catholic radio morning show. I enjoyed listening into the conversation while getting ready for the day, and am ever impressed by this this fellow Catholic mother has spread her wings into this fascinating world of faith.

Our first evening together, after a fair amount of catch-up chatting, Lisa asked if she could lead a bedtime prayer. It was a beautiful way for us to begin our short in-person journey together. And I can tell you that Lisa is every bit as faith-filled, authentic and lovely in person as she is online and on radio. She’s the real deal!

Lisa has been blessed in being part of this big Catholic world, as have I. And along with helpful preparation for my new work, I see my chance to meet Lisa in person as a treasure, the bow that God personally tied on the gift He gave me while setting me on the path of this new life.

Our meeting has been a reminder to me that, in the end, as busy and complicated as our lives become, it’s still about relationship. Whether we’re halfway across the world from one another, or in the next bed over, it’s about finding the people who bring life to our lives and having the chance to give them a hug to let them know we appreciate them. Sometimes that hug is virtual, and sometimes it’s IRL (in real life).

One of my favorite parts of my visit has been the chance to attend Mass with Lisa and the other conference participants at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

My photos will never do it justice; for one thing, you can’t hear the beautiful choir. But what I will share here is that it was a profound experience to sit next to my fellow Catholic communications from across the U.S. and worship with them, to be reminded why we are here and what our mission really is.

Our faith is a gift. It is the guiding light for our earthly journey. We too often take it for granted. I hope my appreciation for this beautiful faith will never wane, but will only continue to accelerate through to the end of my life.

Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your space with me and letting me see your beautiful soul in person!

Q4U: What would you miss most if you were told you could no longer worship Christ?

Copyright 2012 Roxane Salonen