On August 5th this blog, A secular priest, will turn one!  I must admit that it feels like it’s been going longer.  I knew the birthday was approaching because I started the blog around the time of preparing to go to last year’s canon law conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  I head to this year’s conference tomorrow.   The first post on A secular priest appeared on 5 August 2011, and as I mentioned in one of the early posts “Why a blog?” the actual act of creating the blog was in fact a mistake.  After making the mistake (i.e. clicking the wrong button whilst trying to do something else), I figured that I might as well see where things went, and here we are today!

Since beginning a year ago I’ve made 447 posts, and there have 26,184 page views.   Readers come predominantly from Australia, the United States, and Canada.  Since 25 February 2012 the page views from each of those countries was 6254, 2848, and 2373 respectively.  For that same period there were 517 page views from the United Kingdom.  Curiously, the posts that always generate the most traffic are ones announcing the appointment of new bishops!  So thank you to Bishops Tomlinson, Kennedy, McGuckin, and Archbishops Costelloe and Coleridge for bring visitors this way!

One of my main motivations for pursuing the blog was to be able to communicate in some way with those back home whilst I was in Canada.   It would be simple if everyone was just on Facebook, but that’s never going to happen (not to mention any names, but you know who you are)!  And so, if you are going to try to be available and accessible via modern social communications media, it seems to be necessary to use several different modes at the same time.  I recently ventured into Twitter after curiosity got the better of me.  Someone asked me recently if I started the blog so that I could still “have a say” back home, and there’s probably some truth in that too!  It is interesting, and still surprises me, when someone brings up the blog in conversation.  I’ve received enough feedback over the year to lead me to conclude that it’s something worthwhile to do.  How it will evolve into the future, especially once I return to Brisbane in December, I’m not sure, but we’ll see what happens.

After nearly a year of blogging, I am even more impressed by the truly “serious” bloggers.  At the 2010 joint conference of the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy of both Australia and the United States – together with clergy from the United Kingdom before their Confraternity was established – I heard many positive comments about Fr Tim Finigan’s blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity (Fr Finigan spoke at the conference).  At the time I wasn’t really sure what a blog was, and certainly wasn’t in the habit of looking at them!  His blog is still one of my favourites because his posts are succinct, based in pastoral ministry, and he covers a variety of topics that I find interesting.  Fr John Zuhlsdorf’s What Does the Prayer Really Say? is always full of interesting news, and good for a laugh too!  I have enjoyed his cooking photos.

I’ve said it before, but I really admire how someone like Archbishop Terrence Prendergast SJ of Ottawa is able to maintain his blog, The Journey of a Bishop.  Archbishop Prendergast’s schedule of activities is impressive to start with, and yet he still makes time to offer posts on his blog.  What a wonderful way of reaching out to the people of the Archdiocese and beyond.  I really do hope that my own (new) Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, in Brisbane, will take up blogging.  I’m sure if he did his offerings would be informative and engaging and would allow the people of the Archdiocese to really tune in to their spiritual leader.  It would also be a very concrete example and expression of his desire that we as a Church need to reach out in a new way, and not just “circle the wagons.”  [No pressure Your Grace!]

Anyway, whatever it is that brings you to A secular priest, thank you for coming by, and I hope your visit here provides something helpful, useful, or interesting.   I see the blog as one aspect of my priestly ministry, and a way of connecting with and encouraging fellow travellers as we strive to live God’s will in our lives.

I saw the following Litany of Blog Humility the other day on The hermeneutic of continuity (quoting from here).   Whilst I clearly fail on most points, it’s good to be reminded of the need for humility when one sets one’s words before the gaze of the world.

The Litany of Blog Humility
From the desire of my blog being read
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the desire of my blog being praised
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of my blog being despised
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of my blog being forgotten
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of no page views
Deliver me dear Jesus
That other blogs may be loved more than mine
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Nihil Obstat may find all my grammatical and spelling errors
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Google may never list my blog
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That comments always be negative and abusive
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That my commenting system always say “commenting temporarily unavailable”
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Mark Shea may notice every blog but mine
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That others may be pithier than I, provided that I may become as pithy as I should
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it

http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.ca/2012/07/when-i-started-blogging-in-2006-one-of.html