Those trendsetters out in Kansas….

Yep. They’re doing some cutting-edge diocesan newspapering at The Leaven in the land of Dorothy and Toto (not to mention jokes, songs and empires built on corn).

The staff of the newspaper of the Kansas City Archdiocese has launched not just a redesign of their Web page, but a rethinking of how they get news and what they’re putting under that umbrella.

note on the paper’s Web site from Leaven co-editor Anita McSorley starts this way:
“We here at The Leaven have a confession to make.
“We’re old. We’re tired.
“And up until now, we were so not cool.”

McSorley proceeds to explain just how cool The Leaven has become. They’ve got a slick new Web site with all the usual features of a good news site (archives, links, easy-to-find contact information) plus staff-created news feature videos (check out reporter Joe Bollig’s adventure at a church-run summer camp).

She describes the process of rethinking and remaking what they do, including opening up their reporting to anyone who wants to contribute something. The Web site includes links for the public to submit stories, photographs and even original music recordings, all to potentially be available to the public.

Frankly, it sounds like a heck of a lot of work, but ultimately exciting and energizing. As newspaper folk everywhere know, rethinking what we do is the only way we’re likely to survive. At The Leaven it looks like they’re plunging ahead with creativity and their typically good-humored sense of adventure.

CNS Bible Blog: Judith 12-13 – A woman serving God

By Uta Sievers
Special to Catholic News Service

Continuing with the Book of Judith, I focused on Chapter 12 and Chapter 13. Using the method of praying with Scripture known as Ignatian contemplation (or Ignatian imagining), I continued to read and pray, imagining myself as Judith.

As I step into Holofernes’ tent, all eyes are on me. I lie down for the banquet and General Holofernes, supreme commander of 170,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry, looks enraptured. I rejoice inwardly, as this is exactly the state I need him in to execute my plan. I do my best to fire his imagination, sending him flirtatious glances, smiles, gestures, while he is getting more and more drunk. For some reason, I’m deeply enjoying this game – with the two of us expecting completely different rewards from it. My God has a fine sense of humor. I sigh in sadness as I remember the looks I used to get from my husband, Manasses. Oh, how I still miss him. He would thoroughly approve of my being here.

I’m a little nervous. Holofernes, so drunk that he has passed out, is lying on his bed, right in front of me. The moment has come. I gather myself, I gather my years on the rooftop of my house, years spent in prayer and fasting, spent soaking up energy for this moment. I grab his sword with both hands and whisper: “God of life, God of Israel, one man has to die so that your people can survive and remember your Holy Name for generations to come. Guide my hands.” Then I strike with all my strength.

I stand there, my still muscles shaking from the effort, while my whole being is taking in what I have just done. What God has just done. Using a woman, the beauty of a woman. I am amazed. Men can’t do that, end a war. They have to retaliate, they have to keep going, an eye for an eye. But through the beauty of a woman, God can end wars. Oh, the joy! Now quick, let me take his head and get out of here. My Israelites have to be told about the greatness of God!

As I step out of the story, I pray for the unique gifts of women, that they may be appreciated and cultivated every day in the church and elsewhere.