Catholic New Media Celebration in Boston

Catholic New Media Celebration in Boston

CNMC blogging panel. Moderator Rachel Balducci. Panelists Danielle Bean, Tom Peters, Sarah Reinhard, Mark Shea, Sr. Anne Flanagan, and Jeff Geerling.

Oh my goodness this weekend was AWESOME!!!! Meeting Danielle Bean and Rachel Balducci and Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard, and Fr Roderick and Simcha Fisher and several wonderful Daughters of St Paul and… and… and…


When I pulled into the parking lot on Saturday morning, I spotted the unmistakable Danielle Bean running to get something from her van. When she saw us, she stopped and shouted, “Melanie Bettinelli, is that you?!” And then she gave me a big hug and gushed over the kids—I had to open the door so she could see them. And that meeting set the tone for the whole weekend. Lots of love. Lots of meeting friends face to face for the first time. And yet it didn’t feel like a first meeting at all. It’s a wonderful reminder that the people we meet online are not “virtual” people. Nor are the friendships we forge there phony. Though I do think it’s important to have these meet ups from time to time to cement the relationships and to remind myself of the real people on the other end.


The kids were wonderfully well behaved and sat calmly through several long sessions. They got so many compliments.


This year’s CNMC had a kids track—not just babysitting but real activities that tied into the theme of the conference. However, it was for kids five and older. Nice for Bella next year, I thought. But then in the afternoon when I was trying to remove a screaming Ben from the hall I noticed they were doing a puppet show. I took the girls in to watch and they were invited to stay. So I was able to do the final afternoon session with just Ben. Right as Sophie was apt to get a bit antsy. What a Godsend! On the way home Bella told me all about the puppet show and how they told her about Jesus and the sacraments. Oh she gushed and gushed.

Ben watches Rachel Balducci taking notes during Tom Peters’ talk. (Those are baby Isabel’s feet on the right.)

I’m glad that there are recordings of all the talks so that I can go back and listen to them again at my leisure. What I heard was awesome. But I did have to chase Ben during the keynote speeches when we were outside in the hall and we went home before Cardinal Sean’s address. (Visit SQPN Live for the recorded ustream videos.) 

There are so many other things about the day I want to write about; but I could spend all day and not cover them all.

Boston sunset with Zakim Bridge.

On Saturday night Dom and I went to the formal SQPN dinner at Faneuil Hall in Boston while my mom and sister babysat the cranky kids. A real date! We haven’t been into Boston since Bella was a baby so this was a real treat for us. I stayed up way too late. This pregnant mama is used to being in bed by 10 or 10:30 these days. But I’m so glad I went.

Ian Rutherford of Aquinas and More listend to the keynotes.

It was great to sit next to Ian Rutherford of Aquinas and More so that we could catch up in person. We were in the same class at UD and shared a Rome semester. It’s been 14 years since our graduation and Ian now has a most successful business and a beautiful family. He tells me his lovely wife is expecting baby number 10 next month.

We also sat with the lovely Sister Anne and Sister Margaret of the Daughters of St Paul and with Brian Caulfield of the Knights of Columbus and the Fathers for Good blog. Here’s his blog post about CNMC.

On Sunday afternoon we traveled into Cambridge for the Boston Social Media Tweetup. (Can it be? A second date!?!)


There I got to chat with Fr Roderick Vonhogen of SQPN. Also we got to meet the hilarious Simcha Fisher, her husband and her adorable baby girl. We didn’t get to talk nearly long enough.

Simcha’s husband, Damien, entertains the baby by walking her along the bar at John Harvard’s in Cambridge.

I’m going to have to crawl back into my introvert cave to recharge my batteries (and catch up on sleep too) but I am on such a high from all the wonderful conversations with so many friends new and old. I just wish all my other blog friends could have come too to share in the joy. And yet I see events like this as a sort of a foretaste of the heavenly banquet when I’ll finally get to meet everyone face to face all at once in one great huge party and the conversations will never end and we’ll have time to cover every topic under the sun and get to know each other truly madly and deeply with never a misunderstanding or miscommunication…. Sigh, putting it that way, I just can’t wait.



Ben plays with his ball. In the background the table.

See the rest of my photos.

For more glimpses photos from the official Boston Archdiocese photostream.

Sarah Reinhard, the snoring scholar, offers a beautiful reflection at her blog just another day of Catholic pondering: The Best Part of the CNMC

I didn’t get to go to the meet and greet Friday night (someone had to put the kiddies to bed); but Dom and my mom went. I got to hear the stories and see the pictures. These were great photos from Matther Warner.

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