Social media can be your friend

Image of Pope Benedict XVI on Vatican website as seen on iPod Touch. (CNS photo from Reuters)

Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and blogs are nothing to be afraid of, speakers told participants Nov. 12 at an overflow workshop at the annual convention of the National Council of Catholic Women.

The group of women and a few priests at the workshop in the Renaissance Hotel in Washington were urged to get on board with new social media as a way to evangelize and more effectively communicate especially with young people.

The speakers, Jeff Young and Lisa Hendey, certainly practice what they preach since they both have careers that use the social media tools to spread a Catholic message.

Young is a social media consultant who also produces a podcast and blog called the Catholic Foodie, which highlights food and faith. Hendey is the founder and editor of,  a website launched in 1999 that focuses on faith, parenting and family life. She also heads a home-based web design business and is webmaster for her parish website, St. Anthony of Padua in Fresno, Calif.

Emphasizing that today’s online tools can help people fulfill the Gospel mandate to spread the good news, the speakers urged participants to go home after the convention and branch out online and to consult a teenager in the family if they ran into any trouble.

Preparing to become a cardinal, German is ordained bishop

ROME — Cardinal-designate Walter Brandmuller was ordained a bishop Saturday, exactly one week before he was scheduled to be inducted into the College of Cardinals.

The 81-year-old retired president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences was ordained at the Church of Santa Maria dell’Anima, the home of Rome’s German-speaking Catholic community.

(CNS/Paul Haring)

The German historian was one of four churchmen over the age of 80 named cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 20. The octogenarians were named to honor their contributions to the life and ministry of the church; they cannot vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.

Two of the four over-80s were already bishops when the pope named them cardinals: Italian Bishop Elio Sgreccia, retired president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, 82; and Spanish Archbishop Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, former military ordinary of Spain, 84.

The fourth is 93-year-old Italian Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci, retired director of the Sistine Chapel Choir. Since 1962 the Catholic Church has required all cardinals to be bishops, but Cardinal-designate Bartolucci asked Pope Benedict to exempt him from the rule, said an official at the College of Cardinals.

Cardinals-designate Brandmuller and Bartolucci are among 11 priests over the age of 80 who have been named cardinals since 2000. Seven of the 11 requested and received the exemption from episcopal ordination.

The consistory to create the new cardinals is scheduled for Saturday at the Vatican.