Local Ministries

Not just blog-eat-blog

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sure, it’s a blog-eat-blog world out there, but archdiocesan blogger Leon Suprenant hopes that Catholics learn there’s “No Place Like Home.”

Dorothy’s classic line from the 1939 film “Wizard of Oz” is also the name of the official blog of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, of which Suprenant is administrator and editor, or “blogger.”

Like Scripture, one can find many layers of meaning in the blog’s name. But one is unavoidable: This is the blog of the local church — a cyber-home for Catholics, if you will.

If you’ve ever wondered, the word “blog” comes from a shortened term called “web log,” a category of interactive website. It’s sort of like a public digital diary.

Blogs began appearing in the late 1990s and have been around ever since. “No Place Like Home” took its baby steps in May, but really took off in September.

Suprenant spends most of his time as the pastoral associate for administration in the office of the permanent diaconate, but blogs “No Place Like Home” for the archdiocesan communications office.

He’s been editor of four blogs and, in addition to “No Place Like Home,” runs a vocation blog for the Institute on Religious Life called “An Undivided Heart.”

So why another blog?

Well, this one is for us — the Catholics of the archdiocese. Also, it’s a part of what Pope John Paul II called “the new evangelization.” In terms of blogging, this means prudently using the entire range of new media opportunities in the service of the Gospel, said Suprenant.

“With so much stuff out there, my goal is to get some good, solid, encouraging teaching out there for people to use and share, to feel that they can engage and ask questions,” said Suprenant.

The blog was designed to be a feature of the archdiocesan website (archkck.org), which itself is a new evangelization effort.

The new public square is digital, in cyberspace, and the church has to be there, too.

“The new evangelization has always been important to me,” said Suprenant. “I can still hear Pope John Paul II saying we need to invest all the church’s energies into a new evangelization — an evangelization that is new in its ardor, its methods and its expressions.”

In terms of his approach to content, the key words are balance and temperance.

Since the blog is for all archdiocesan Catholics, Suprenant tries strike a balance between the folks who want heavy theological topics and those who want to hear heartwarming, personal stories about kids and family life.

For topic ideas, Suprenant draws from his own experiences as a Catholic husband and father, from current events, questions sent to him or those he anticipates, and the liturgical calendar.

While some in the blogging universe known as the “blogosphere” fuel their blogs with controversy and confrontation, Suprenant prefers to take an approach he calls “Catholic ecumenism.” No bomb-thrower he.

“I might say some things that are provocative to get people to think, but my goal is to bring people to Catholic unity,” he said.

“I strive for what I call ‘Catholic ecumenism,’ meaning I strive to build the bonds of communion in the visible church,” he concluded. “There’s enough division within the visible church as it is.”


How to find your way home

The easiest way to get to “No Place Like Home” is by going to the archdiocesan home page and clicking on the blog button on the right-hand menu. Another way is by typing the following address into a browser window: http://archkckblog.wordpress.com.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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