Thursday, March 14, 2013

21st-Century Conclave

Yesterday's "white smoke rising" moment really brought home just how connected the world is. The Papal Chimney Watch was in full swing in the early afternoon, and I was in the car listening to commentary on satellite radio's The Catholic Channel. My husband was with me, commenting that he felt sorry for the radio personalities, who had to just keep talking until they had certain information.

We got home just as the announcers stated that the marching band was entering St. Peter's Square. I refused to get out of the car until I'd started up the satellite-radio app on my iPhone. I didn't want to miss a moment.

I was frustrated to discover that there was a 5-minute delay between the radio broadcast and the online version, but I set my phone next to me on the desk and listened as I headed to YouTube on my computer for the Vatican TV live feed. I started Twitter on the iPad.

I didn't even bother with the regular TV. For the last conclave, that's all I had. But this was amazing--using various media to receive information in real time (or as close as an online app for satellite radio could get.)

Then I watched the clock. It was getting close to 3, dismissal time for Little Brother's school. I was sure that they'd be watching in class, and didn't want him to miss "the Big Reveal" while he was on the school bus.

Pope Francis reached the balcony at about 3:15. We barely had time to digest the news and try to find out a little more about him when Little Brother exploded through the front door, yelling, "We have a new pope, and his name is Francis!"

"How did you know? They didn't announce his name until after you were on the bus!"

"Somebody on the bus has an iPhone and we were all watching it on the 3G."

This is probably the best use of an iPhone on a school bus EVER.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Be an Angel

A few weeks ago, I read with sadness that Aquinas and More would be closing. I've had a long association with them and especially enjoyed being part of their Tiber River Book Review program as well as writing occasional articles for the site.

Here's one piece I wrote last year about preparing your child for first Reconciliation.

Aquinas and More stands out, in my view, for its staunch no-China policy. This means that inventory selection is carefully guided by the source of the item.

Today, Aquinas and More owner Ian Rutherford announced an unconventional fund-raising effort that would keep the store's online presence available to its customer base across the country. If you can lend a hand to a retailer that's committed to bringing authentic, orthodox Catholic religious goods to its customers, won't you consider donating?

No donations will be processed until the fund-raising goal is met, and there are rewards for donating that are pretty sweet. You've got 14 days to help out.

Be an angel and help Aquinas and More continue its mission.