Showing posts from August, 2011

Meet 10 Amazing Young Catholics

1. Paschal Uche

Paschal Uche is the personable young man who welcomed Pope Benedict outside Westminster Cathedral during the papal visit to Britain last September. Paschal, 22, is a pharmacy student from east London and was chosen by the Diocese of Brentwood to personally welcome the Holy Father on behalf of young Catholics.
A global television and internet audience of several million saw Paschal giving a speech of welcome to the Pope, and he was splashed all over the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and Sky News. He then summoned the nerve to shake Pope Benedict’s hand and ask him for a blessing. The Pope replied with the words: “Thank you for your warm welcome.” The Pope was also given a royal welcome by 2,500 other young Catholics gathered in the piazza of the Cathedral. The first anniversary of the Pope’s visit is now approaching and many consider that the joyous greeting that Paschal gave the Pope dispersed a lot of the negativity in the mainstream media about how the Pope …

Will There Be Another Vatican BLOGFEST? The man who masterminded the Blogfest at The Vatican Part Four

In the days immediately after the Blogmeet there were 17 million pages devoted to it on the internet. According to Rouse, one of the best fruits of the event was that “bloggers came together with that desire for community”. Rouse also says that he noted a contrast between talking to bloggers who may spend too much time online and some Vatican staff who never touch a computer.
I tell Rouse that, as a Catholic blogger, I get correspondence from people asking why I’m Irish and “still Catholic”. I ask him if he thinks Catholic blogs may be a route for people to get to know the faith and he replies: “Absolutely.” He explains that “people outside the Church perceive that they can ask questions on blogs without judgments, because the reality of blogging isn’t a hierarchical community.”
But Rouse is careful to note that “some things should appear only in the confessional and not on the blogs”.
I’m interested to know if Catholics in particular should set a good example in the blogosphere. …

Why Pope Benedict did not come to the Blogfest. The man who masterminded the Blogfest at The Vatican Part Three

The biggest challenge in organising the Blogmeet was that “it was hard to keep it focused. It was a meeting between the Vatican, between the Universal Church, bloggers, social communicators and media experts, between priests and laity.”
It was a timely meeting because, as Rouse explains, “blogging is a strong factor in community life today, so it is appropriate that the Church becomes aware of this. It’s part of the transition by the Universal Church to take into account the cultural values that are part of the new media reality, the ability not to control everything but to appear, to participate, to talk and to listen.” On the day, Rouse was pleased to see that the bloggers did most of the work and made interesting suggestions, such as Thomas Peters’s question about whether the Vatican would make bloggers privy to embargoed documents. Rouse says that many of the ideas brought into the open by the bloggers had already been on the minds of the Vatican staff. Rouse thought it a good id…

How the Vatican decided which bloggers would be invited... The man who masterminded the Blogfest at The Vatican Part Two

The three key Blogmeet organisers were Rouse, Mgr Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, and Fr Ariel Beramendi, a Bolivian priest from the same Vatican department. They sent out the word that anyone with a blog could send an email with their blog address. After all the responses came in they decided on about 50 blogs that would ensure geographic and political diversity. The bloggers came from all over: Ireland, America, Canada, Slovenia and Slovakia were chosen, as were bloggers from across the political spectrum. There was a partial lottery: every blog was given a number and then the numbers were chosen randomly. It was a system that worked well for the 12th apostle, St Matthias, Rouse points out.
Rouse says the event was designed to deepen “awareness of how we are perceived – both bloggers and the Vatican”. It was Mgr Tighe who thought of bringing on board the Church’s social media experts as speakers: men such as Fr Roderick Vonhögen and Fr Fede…

The man who masterminded the Blogfest at The Vatican Part One

Richard Rouse is a dynamic English official at the Vatican Pontifical Council for Culture. He many accomplishments to his name but has managed to avoid the limelight – until now.
Just last month Rouse was part of a small team that put together an exhibition featuring 60 contemporary pieces of art to celebrate Benedict XVI’s 60th anniversary of priestly ordination. Rouse presented the Pope with a musical arrangement of the Our Father composed by the Estonian Arvo Pärt. And last autumn he helped to organise the Pontifical Council for Culture’s plenary meeting on the question of languages and communication. The opening ceremony took place on Rome’s Capitoline Hill, symbolising the Church’s desire to be immersed in the world.
But Rouse is best known for organising the groundbreaking Vatican Blogmeet in May, when 150 bloggers from all over the world were invited into the hallowed marble halls of the Vatican. Rouse says emphatically that the Blogmeet was the highlight of his year because …