One year ago today, I came to the New Ways Ministry office and typed the words “how to start a blog” into Google, and by the end of the day, I had a blog post. A few more days followed the same pattern of just taking a stab at writing, and before I knew it, I had not just blog posts, but an actual blog!
When I started, I didn’t know which direction the blog would go in other than that I wanted it to contain material that would interest people who follow Catholic LGBT issues. Over the past year, we have kept to that direction with a mixture of news stories, opinion pieces, personal reflections, and spirituality.
Our aim evolved into providing readers with important information, but also with a perspective designed to build up the Catholic Church and the growing movement of Catholics who support LGBT equality and justice. For the past full year, we have posted something every single day, some times twice or three times a day, when the news was lively. I mention this not as a point of pride, but as evidence to the fact of how important the relationship between the Catholic Church and LGBT issues is. There has been something important to write every single day about this relationship, and it doesn’t look like things will be slowing down any time soon.
What does our blog contain? In addition to daily updates of news, opinion, theological and spiritual reflections, we also have developed some occasional features:
- ALL ARE WELCOME: a series which focuses on Catholic gay-friendly faith communities
- NEWS NOTES: an occasional feature which provides brief summaries of news articles with links to the original sources
- QUOTE TO NOTE: an occasional feature which provides witty or insightful quotations from news articles
- CATHOLIC LGBT CALENDAR: a listing of Catholic LGBT events around the U.S. and the globe
- CAMPUS CHRONICLES: a series which focuses on Catholic LGBT issues on college campuses.
Some interesting data about the blog and our readers:
- Though most readers are from the United States, people from 162 nations have read the blog
- The most popular blog post was Sister Joan Chittister & Sister Simone Campbell Respond to Vatican Action Against U.S. Nuns, which appeared on April 19, 2012, but which still gets significant number of views almost every week since.
- The same post is also the one with the most comments from readers.
- The most popular day was May 20, when the post was Cardinal Calls for Equality of Heterosexual and Homosexual Relationships.
I started out as the sole contributor to this blog, but since its beginning, we have had a few guest contributors, and we have added a new regular contributor, Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry’s Coordinator of Young Adults and Social Media. Bob covers general news stories, as well as news about LGBT issues on Catholic college campuses.
One year ago, I started out on this venture, not really knowing what I was doing. (Some might justly argue that I still don’t know what I’m doing!) I started out having fun, learning a new skill, and, building on some older skills. I thought I was helping to build a resource of information and opinions for people interested in Catholic LGBT issues.
It seems, however, thanks to the magic of social media, that what has emerged is a community of people who are eager to share ideas and perspectives, passions and reflections. I have benefited immensely by the experience of being a part of this community, and I look forward to continuing the conversation with all of the wonderful readers and commenters.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry