DETROIT â€” Deacon Kurt Godfrydâ€™s venture into Internet blogging has grown rapidly from a simple place to post his own homilies to a multi-faceted website for Catholic writers.
â€śSometimes, people come up to you after Mass, and ask if they can get a copy of your homily, and I was told the easiest way do that would be to have a website where they would be available,â€ť said Deacon Godfryd, who serves at St. Clement of Rome Parish in Romeo.
But he decided to raise even further his ambitions for his website, www.CatholicJournal.US, after reading Pope Benedict XVIâ€™s June 2011 message to Catholic communicators on the importance of using modern technology as a tool for the new evangelization.
As he began to talk to friends and colleagues about the idea, he found some of them interested in writing essays for the new website or having their personal blogs linked to it.
His roster of essayists came to include well-known contributors such as:
- David Breuhan, vice president and investment portfolio manager with Gregory J. Schwartz & Co., and sought-after lecturer on economics and world affairs.
- Donald Byrne, retired University of Detroit Mercy economics professor and frequent seminar speaker
- George Eichorn, longtime sports writer for the New Monitor and frequent contributor to other publications
- Fr. Joseph Esper, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Ira Township (Anchorville) and prolific author of books on faith
- Fr. Charles Irvin, a retired priest of the Lansing Diocese who was founding editor of Faith
- Msgr. John Kasza, pastor of St. James the Greater Parish in Novi and writer on canon law
- David Seitz, SFO, active local member of the Secular Franciscans and speaker
- Msgr. Anthony Tocco, pastor of St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills
â€śDon Byrne was one of my professors at U-D Mercy, and he has written some wonderful pieces on the social teaching of the papal encyclicals. Msgr. Kasza used to be a weekend associate at my parish, and I used to work with George Eichorn at IBM; he wrote a great piece for us on Babe Ruth and Catholic athletes,â€ť Deacon Godfryd said.
Two of Deacon Godfrydâ€™s fellow permanent deacons â€” Deacon Donald Cox of St. Cornelius Parish in Dryden and Deacon Daniel Gonos of St. Regis Parish in Bloomfield Hills â€” are also lending their talents to the effort.
Besides such local authors, CatholicJournal.US began to also attract writers from other parts of the country, such as Sr. Angelita Fenker, SFCC, a retired religious sister who writes on spirituality, and Vincent Ryan Ruggiero, a retired State University of New York professor and author of 21 books who is internationally recognized as one of the pioneers in the Critical Thinking movement in education.
In its approximately two-year history, CatholicJounral.US has published 457 articles, which can be found in the archives section of the website, and Deacon Godfryd said new content is posted every two or three days.
There is no advertising on the website, and none of the writers receive any monetary compensation. That also means there is no money for promotion.
But sometimes, Deacon Godfyrd said, one of the essays will attract widespread interest and become passed around by many people or be talked about on Catholic radio or TV. When that happens, the site might receive as many as 10,000 unique visitors in a single day, he said.
â€śI disabled the comments section, because â€” in our society â€” you sometimes get some that are very rude or inappropriate, and it takes so much time to monitor them, but the site does allow for readers to send us emails,â€ť he said.
Those emailed comments are welcome, and Deacon Godfryd said some articles have sparked some interesting discussions from readers, including a bishop from another part of the country.
With no money coming in, Deacon Godfryd acknowledges that CatholicJournal.US is a labor of love. Besides doing his part to further Catholic communications, however, he says he gets a lot out of reading the submissions as he edits them.
â€śIâ€™m a lifelong learner, and Iâ€™ve found it an excellent thing to be able to learn from these writers,â€ť he said.