I love that photo of the American Cardinals in Rome. It was posted by my good friend, Fr Chip Hines, a pastor and a film reviewer at Catholic TV– one of the many media-savvy priests I know! This is a very exciting time to be a Catholic! I have some very good friends who are big time newsy bloggers, and they are doing us all a great service by writing about the conclave. I admire the way they become channels for the news and the political commentary that accompanies it, all while being beacons of light through what they write and say. Me, I’m not that blogger. I’m not the breaking-news kind of writer, despite my first aspirations in journalism.
I started out in broadcast news as a young woman — working for a news radio station for the morning anchor desk covering and researching stories on Long Island. After several months I found I did not have the stomach for it. I became too emotionally involved in it and never found that right combination of professional detachment and the intense inquisitive savvy to ask the burning questions and to push unrelentingly for the answers. I knew I wanted to write, but was momentarily adrift when deciding against journalism. The professionals advised, “use the tools already in your toolkit”, and “find a field where they are appreciated.” Eventually I shifted out of news and went into copywriting, and the programming side of radio.
Along the way, I learned to use my voice for good, both on the page and behind a microphone. Being a deejay that played music made people happy… it took their minds off the harshness of the ever-changing news cycles and the troubles of the day. It seemed a form of announcing “good” news. It gave me a chance to offer encouragement and to lead with a smile. But that too, while fun and uplifting, still only went so far. The deepest satisfaction career-wise was still to come… It took me a long time to discover that what fascinated me most was what was unchanging: God. I wanted a field where I could use media and talk about God.
Decades later, I’m still that same girl. Both behind the microphone and on the page I pray to be an encourager, and someone who offers the good news… Sure, I appreciate those writers whose gift it is to find and shift through the daily news for the worthy nuggets to report, and those who survey and analyze the news and offer their opinions. We need them. I read them and I salute them. But I look for what is unchanging, I look for the moments that in some way lift the veil on the present circumstance to reveal the God who was, who is, and will be.
“Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.”
- Hebrews 13: 8 -
That’s not just great copy, that’s the truth.
That’s what we Catholics are about.
That’s Who the Church is built upon, the Rock of Ages. And the man whose lot it will be to sit in Peter’s Chair will have the premier duty to announce that. The next Pope will remind us that the GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST is real, and meant to be shared.
In those early fleeting media moments when cameras and microphones worldwide are trained on the new pope — when his name is finally known to the world — be sure to pray for him that he uses his voice to speak of that news. Underneath that new white zucchetto is a man whose whole life brought him to that precise moment… to lead a billion Catholics, and to give witness behind a microphone, on camera, and on the page to billions more besides. Let us pray that God might use his gifts, his lifelong field of experiences. We do not know what may yet be in his tool kit, but we do know that God will add to it a measure of grace that comes from his anointing and the graces of Orders.
The names of the popes may change, but the mission never does. That is why we are waiting for white smoke, and anticipating the announcement of a name that will be etched into our history. Let us simply pray for this man, this priest, this Bishop, this Prince of the Church, this future Holy Father.
Regardless of the papal elections, Jesus is King and Lord of All; the greatest news ever told or recorded. News that is unchanging and worthy of our belief. And soon, his Vicar, his herald, will again be in our midst.
May he bring Good News.