Catholic Women Make Their Mark in the “New Media”

When CE approached me about editing a woman’s channel to be offered at Catholic Exchange, my mind went into overdrive. They were gracious enough to hear me out on all my ideas and gently helped me flesh them out coherently and cohesively. Basically I wanted to be all things to all Catholic women and CE helped this dream become a reality.

I knew that there are sites that cater to homeschoolers and there are sites that cater to career women. There are sites dedicated to food and diet and then there are those where art and entertainment are the focus. I wanted to create more of an umbrella site where all Catholic women would find something that interested them, something that entertained them, and something that educated them — that was critical to me, the teacher!

Once Today’s Catholic Woman launched, in January, 2009, I could not have been happier with the product. Sure, we’re still learning and growing but all in good ways. We’re expecting some changes to the site to make it “prettier” and we continue to get great content added that is “cutting edge.”

Part of our new content comes from Pat Gohn. Not only is Pat our resident Catechism expert whose column appears every Friday through Sunday on TCW; but Pat has also begun a project very near and dear to her heart called “Among Women.” Pat graciously gives credit to Lisa Hendy, TCW’s “Geek Gal ,” for inspiration in the podcast department.

“Among Women” is a series of podcasts in which Pat offers reflections on women who have gone before us and then spends some “coffee” time with Catholic women today. The cool thing about these podcasts is that they can be downloaded and listened to at your leisure or you can go to Today’s Catholic Woman and scroll to the bottom to listen right from our homepage!

Most recently Pat has featured TCW’s own Sarah Reinhard, who writes a weekly column on the titles of Mary, and has even asked me to be a guest on her “show.” Of course I was honored and humbled. I found Pat to be a warm and genuinely kind hostess and enjoyed our conversation, which went well past the official taping of the podcast! Pat had asked me to speak about a project that I am passionate about which is the “All Things Girl” book series for Catholic tweens.

Pat is giving away a set of the “ATG” books so I highly encourage CE and TCW readers and listeners to check out Pat’s “Among Women” podcasts which are found at the very bottom of the TCW page under the banner “Radio and Podcasts.” The “All Things Girl” give-away podcast is the 10th podcast and was posted June 2nd .

Impressed by Pat’s commitment and work on “Among Women,” I was not surprised to learn that “Among Women” is listed in the "new and notable" feature on the iTunes’ podcast pages in the Christianity and Religion & Spirituality categories. Pat’s work is also nominated in five Catholic New Media categories: Best New Podcast, Best Podcast by a Woman, Best Produced Podcast, Most Spiritual, and People’s Choice. Pat is quick to point out that Lisa Hendey’s podcasts are also nominated in the “Best Produced Podcast and Best Podcast by a Woman” category and that Pat considers Lisa to be the “First Lady” of Catholic Podcasting, a title that I am sure would make Lisa blush!

I asked Pat if she would share a bit about this exciting venture in which Mary is the Patron Saint.

Cheryl : Pat, please give us a bit of information regarding podcasts.

Pat: A podcast is an audio or video program, in a digital format that can be downloaded to an iPod or mp3 player, or listened to online. The beauty of podcasts is that listeners can listen to the content they want, where and when they want it.

Cheryl: Tell me a bit about your goal and mission for “Among Women.”

Pat: “Among Women” celebrates the beauty and grace that women experience in their Catholic Faith and Life. We hope this “faith-sharing” program will be "faith building" …inspiring women in their call to holiness by drawing closer to Christ and the Catholic Church, by living lives of prayer and loving service. The program has two distinct segments:

“Blessed Are They”, a reflection focusing on faithful women who have gone before us…those saints and sages who bring inspiration for Christian life.

“Among Women,” features conversations with contemporary women from all walks of life… from women with PhDs in theology, to our neighbor in the pew, from authors to bloggers to educators, from lay women to religious, from wives and mothers to singles and widows. Together, we share the spiritual wealth and wisdom and mentoring that is found in a special way when we gather “among women.”

Cheryl: What was the impetus behind this project? So many women today feel called in one way or another and you’ve clearly answered your call.

Pat: The impetus was to encourage Catholic women, by celebrating their faith stories. But that’s the easy answer. When I ask you, who are the most influential women in media today? What names pop into your head? And finally, who or what are the holy influences in the lives of Catholic women?

The more complex answer is that as Christians, we are called to holiness — to actually become saints… and we do that well when we respond in faith to the holy influences in our lives. But, as we see in American culture, there is often a separation of Church and state, and some times there is also a separation of faith and life in our personal lives…. We have to find the holiness and the sacred in every day, and in all aspects of life… Our faith isn’t just for Sundays, it’s for every moment of every day.

During the years I was studying to get my Masters in Theology, new media exploded! And, I think, it’s a great tool for evangelization and catechesis.

Among Women is one more offering within the new media that seeks to encourage this holy integration of faith with life. That’s what spirituality is all about. We need to put our voices out there. The call to holiness is for everyone and the world needs woman to step up and be part of the evangelization process… but we have to do it in the way that we do it best as women… person to person… with love and care for one another.

I was a writer and an announcer in radio broadcasting for many years. Then I spent many years in family and ministry settings, praying and teaching in home and church settings. Radio and ministry brings the love of God and the gospel message to wherever the people are. Podcasting is like that. It’s a portable message.

Among Women is women sharing with women…. And women connecting to women of faith through the centuries, when we talk about one of the saints… or when we talk to a woman who stops by the studio to share her faith story. Among Women gives us permission to talk openly about our love of God, and how we live out our faith in daily life.

Cheryl: It seems like you’ve already received solid affirmation by the “new and notable” iPod recognition. Beyond that, what the “high” points of this venture?

Pat: That I get to have coffee with some great women! Seriously, I’m happy just to listen to the wisdom that other women share! I really trust that the Holy Spirit has gifted each person with spiritual wisdom that we can all benefit from. Each guest brings something that encourages me. It shows me the beauty of the Body of Christ.

Cheryl: I hope that everyone will enjoy listening to this from the TCW homepage, where it is located at the very bottom under “Radio and Podcasts.” May I ask what your future hopes and dreams are for “Among Women?”

Pat: As with all things, you hope to do your best with the gifts God gives you. My hope is that after listening to Among Women, a woman may feel that she has some share in the inspiration of sisterhood… that she is part of the wider communion of saints… and that she enjoys the blessing of being a Christian. Finally, I hope that she sees she is important in the sight of God, and has purpose as a woman of faith.

Cheryl Dickow

By

Cheryl Dickow is a Catholic wife, mother, author and speaker. Cheryl’s newest book is Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Womenwhich is co-authored with Teresa Tomeo and is published by Servant (a division of Franciscan Media); there is also a companion journal that accompanies the book and an audio version intended for women’s studies or for individual reflection. Cheryl’s titles also include the woman’s inspirational fiction book Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. Elizabeth is available in paperback or Kindle format. Her company is Bezalel Books where her goal is to publish great Catholic books for families and classrooms that entertain while uplifting the Catholic faith and is located at www.BezalelBooks.com. To invite Cheryl to speak at your event, write her at Cheryl@BezalelBooks.com.

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