Upon watching the papal Mass in Glasgow

Yellow umbrellas indicate the locations of priests distributing Communion

For the first time I’ve been able to watch a Mass by the pope while on an international visit. While liturgically the Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow left things to be desired, I tend to consider it a fitting highpoint to a very successful first day. From the audience with Queen Elizabeth II to the homily at Mass, Pope Benedict XVI managed to make an impression of an intelligent and loving shepherd. He does not shun the truth but always accompanies it with love. Love to individual people, strangers and close friends, but certainly also to his flock, the Catholics of Scotland and all over the world.

This papal visit looks to be one covered heavily by means of social media. In a previous post I already shared  a link to the 24/7 live coverage, but the Mass could also be followed via Twitter, or so it seemed by the number of tweets devoted to it. The few cynical and spiteful comments that showed up were successfully drowned out by the sheer joy of faith that many others displayed.

It seems to me that many of the haters are just looking in from the outside, never managing to catch a view of the real deal, but only reflections. I doubt many of them bothered to watch the Mass (with or without an open heart), and if you don’t do that, you’ll never see, let alone understand, the very heart of the Catholic faith. So how can you then pretend to pass judgement on it or its faithful?

The pope is driven through the streets of Glasgow, waving at and blessing many thousands of people along the route. In Edinburgh, the police estimated some 125,000 viewers, contrasting with some 60 protesters. Perspective, right?

Stats for August 2010

Time to take a look at the stats of my blog in the last summer vacation month, which was fairly average when it comes to visits. There have been 4,083 in total, and that brings the total number of visitors to just over 50,000 since early January. Moderately surprising since the activity has been slower than normal, and that will be continuing for the foreseeable future. Changes in my private life prevent me from maintaining the number of posts per week which have been standard.

The ten most popular posts are as follows:

1: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 274
2: A gentle pope, but rock solid in the execution: 93
3: Pornography or art?: 75
4: A mosque in New York: 73
5: The double standard of death: 61
6: Priest removes 6,000 people from church: 59
7: Brick by brick in Groningen-Leeuwarden: 56
8: St Joseph cathedral turns 123 today: 55
9: The possibilities of a Dutch CNMC: 48
10: Some facts about the Turin shroud: 46

First Dutch Catholic tweetup?

I do think it is, actually. A group of Dutch Catholics active on Twitter have undertaken the effort to organise a meetup with fellow users of social media, all while enjoying a drink or two. Readers of certain blogs, most notably Father Z’s What Does the Prayer Really Say?, will be familiar with the concept, but I haven’t come across a Dutch Catholic tweetup yet.

Time and place are as follows: Saturday 9 October, between 2 and 5 in the afternoon, at Stadscafé Broers in the centre of Utrecht.

Details of the tweetup can be found on the website. The organisers do request you sign up if you want to attend, and you can do that at the website as well.

In the last year, Dutch Catholic activity on Twitter and other social networks has steadily increased, not only in the number of people – clergy and laity – but also in the discussions and conversations taking place. But since online interaction is necessarily limited, it would be interesting to see how a face-to-face meetup works out.

Will I attend? I’m not sure yet, since there are two other cross-country trips that I may undertake in the near future, so I’ll have to see if it is possible to head down to Utrecht in October.