Via Media

Via Media

The Lost Weekend

Michael was getting ready for work this morning and remarked, "Well, that was a nice weekend…" Meaning…what weekend?

Several months ago, I’d accepted the invitation to speak in Ann Arbor and Lansing. Then a couple of months ago, Kurt Lucas of the Diocese of Kalamazoo asked if we could add a stop there on Saturday. Great I said, thinking that the order of speaking on Sunday was Lansing first, then Ann Arbor.

But no – and if you would like to map of Michigan to see how that was problematic, be my guest. So originally I was thinking, we would go Kalamazoo, Lansing, Ann Arbor, gracefully making our way from west to east. But no – it had to be Kalamazoo, spend the night in Lansing, get up, go to Mass, drive to Ann Arbor, drive BACK to Lansing, and then home.


Not too terrible (it’s about an hour between Lansing and Ann Arbor) except for the Restless Children Factor.

Totally my stupidity, but…we survived.

Good groups in every place. Let me try to give credit where credit is due.

The Kalamazoo event was at St. Monica’s parish, sponsored by the Diocese – Kurt Lucas is the Associate Director of their Office of Evangelization and Catechesis up there and has been doing a great job for many years. He also recently got to accompany a pilgrimage group to Rome, so it was nice to be able to compare notes.

In Ann Arbor, I spoke at what seems to be the quite marvelous St. Thomas the Apostle parish. The priests on staff there are Fr. Jeffrey Njus and Fr. Charles Canoy, both of them very sharp fellows who seem to be doing a great job nurturing good things at St. Thomas. Had a great crowd of, I believe, over 200, and had the chance to meet several wonderful folks.


First, we had lunch with friends Jim and Susan Manney. Jim, of Loyola Press, my very patient editor on several projects and now in charge of Loyola Classics. Jim also runs the blog, focussed on Catholic publishing, called People of the Book.  I do believe their house survived us.

At the talk, I met…Henry Dieterich, who comments here frequently, and who has a blog of his own here, along with his fiancee Rosalind, who blogs, along with Therese Z, here. Congratulations to both on their forthcoming June wedding!


Then there was Dale Price, who blogs here by himself and along with his wife Heather here. (although I think most of the posts on the latter blog are Heather’s, even though they have Dale’s name on them.) And Heather read my MM book – and liked it! Thanks Heather. They have three darling children, one of whom approached me with a book to sign and then promptly marched off, sans book.

Frequent and invaluable commentor canon lawyer Tim Ferguson was there, as was commentor and former Fort Wayne-er, Mark Thompson-Kolar.

Am I missing anyone?? Anyone?? Ah yes – The American Papist, who is a young fellow running one of the best blogs out there. Thomas was there early, and was an invaluable help -carting boxes up and down stairs, passing out notecards, having conversations with Joseph. Many, many thanks to Thomas! (And do check out his blog – the captions – his and commentors – under the photo from yesterday’s General Audience are priceless)


Then back to Lansing, where the last gig of the weekend was at the very large, active St. Thomas Aquinas parish . (We’d gone to Mass there earlier in the day – the most striking element, to me, was a large, wooden statue of St. Joseph – looked for an image, briefly, couldn’t find it.)

The parochial vicar of St. Thomas, and the person who got this whole weekend rolling, was Fr. Steve Mattson. Some of you who have been hanging around St. Blogs for a long time, might remember Fr. Mattson as one of the earlier Catholic bloggers – he started his blog, InFormation, as a seminarian. The blog is still out there ( I assume he won’t mind me linking to it), but it’s not been updated since ’03, and if he ever had the time to start blogging again, he’d have to rename it, since, of course he’s ordained now!


He was a wonderful host, and the talk went well – he’ll be doing a talk of his own tonight on DVC (the parish is doing a series), with a catchy title. "Why millions have died for The Apostles’ Creed, but none for The Da Vinci Code: Catholic beliefs about Jesus."

If you’re in the area, do check out the series, which contiues on Monday nights through June 5.

I met a number of folks in Lansing, including some from the Saginaw diocese on their way through from here to there, and Maureen Wittman, homeschooling expert (author of books and articles, and a speaker), who also has a great blog here.

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Maureen Wittmann

posted May 1, 2006 at 11:44 am

I have to say here that Amy is an outstanding speaker. Invite her to your city! I felt that I left her talked armed and ready to fight the good fight. I’ve read Amy’s books (especially love the new de-coding Mary M!), but hearing her speak really made me feel prepared to face my friends and neighbors when all the DVC hoola starts up again upon the movie’s release. Thank you Amy for coming to Lansing!! PS Amy, you already are a homeschooler even though your kids (and those are some CUTE kids!) get their academics elsewhere :-).

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Maureen Wittmann

posted May 1, 2006 at 11:53 am

I forgot to mention that my 16-year-old son and a large group of his teen friends attended Amy’s talk last night too. Teen son loved it and really felt that he got a lot out of the talk. It seems so important to me that we get this message out to teens and young-twenty somethings more than any other group. I hope to take the kids back for Fr. Mattson’s talk tonight, but that will only work if it keeps raining and sports are cancelled tonight. Will blog about it all tomorrow :-).

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thomas tucker

posted May 1, 2006 at 12:51 pm

Hmmmm…..I’m beginning to feel as if I’m the only Catholic without a blog.

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Henry Dieterich (note spelling)

posted May 1, 2006 at 1:50 pm

We were delighted to meet you, too, at last. You may think that your children were restless–and no doubt they were–but I was impressed at how well they behaved during and around the talk.
The talk was excellent. It inspired a couple of observations. First, as someone who has taught history on and off for the last thirty years, I can confirm that the lack of understanding of history among Americans in general would be hard to overestimate. This is not merely ignorance of the facts, but lack understanding of how we know about the past, the mechanisms of historical change, and the differences in attitude between one period and another–or even that there is anything about these things to be known or understood.
Second, you might have mentioned, as you do in the book, the intense misogyny of the Gnostic gospels.
Finally, your patience is an example to us all. I would not be able to engage in such a debate without losing my temper in a most unedifying way.
Come back and see us again some time.

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Dale Price

posted May 1, 2006 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for your graciousness, and the hat tips to our blogs. I really wanted to talk more, but, as I point out on my blog, chaperone duties were all-consuming, alas. :)

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Tim Ferguson

posted May 1, 2006 at 2:43 pm

It was wonderful to see you in person – your talk was right on the mark. I sat near a woman clutching a copy of Brown’s book, and I think she wanted to engage in some sort of debate, but your simple honesty and clarity was disarming. I’m recommending to all my coworkers that they attend your talk later this month in Troy!

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posted May 1, 2006 at 5:26 pm

It was great to meet you and Michael. I hope it doesn’t sound dorky to say that you were exactly as I hoped you would be — engaging, energetic, witty, with an unerring eye for the true and the ridiculous and the ability to tell them apart.
I’m just a bit bummed that I missed the chance to meet the other bloggers who, to my disappointment, didn’t wear flashing nametags with “St. Blogs” on them. Another time, I hope.

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posted August 6, 2006 at 4:59 pm

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