Friday, November 07, 2008


Over the last year, I have taken to waking up around 5:00 in the morning, praying, and then spending between 30 and 60 minutes answering questions I receive on YouTube. Naturally the vast majority of questions involve some aspect of playing or learning Irish music: tin whistle techniques, listening suggestions, difficulties learning a particular movement, sometimes the (horrifying) request that I teach with my shirt off (no joke). 

As I wrote the other day, it's not uncommon to receive other types of correspondence. Sometimes it is from a person who is struggling with issues surrounding doubt and belief. These notes run the gamut from downright hostility to my belief in God to people who are straining against darkness to believe again. It amazes me that one of the most popular pages on my own blog is a little bit I wrote on Christian Atheism, a topic I very much wish to return to next Lent. 

With over 1.5 million views on YouTube with viewers coming from all over the globe, I am acutely and humbly aware of the far-reaching nature of my musical ministry. Even my blog, albeit not nearly as popular as my videos, still receives 100-200 unique visitors every day.  So my question is, How can I better use this platform to help people?

I reckon blogs come in a variety of flavors. Some are just completely boring. Some have little purpose but to tear other people down. But if I am to be true to the Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus, I have no choice but to ask anew just how it is that I might 

...strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching, lectures, and any other ministration whatsoever of the word of God, and further by means of the Spiritual Exercises, the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity, and the spiritual consolation of Christ's faithful through hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments.
I guess what I'm asking is for help: I would love to hear from people, either via comment or email, how it is that I can be of service. I want my blog to be a help to people: for young people discerning vocations, for regular Christians trying to live out their lives, for those who are struggling with faith and doubt. 

Basically, I would love to take any questions, comments, issues, ideas from my readers. There are enough people who visit this site that I am convinced I can be of some help in some way. So I throw it open and encourage/implore/beseech people to write in in order to help me make my web-based ministry more effective and helpful.


ann said...

I'm always touched by your entries, be they about life, music, faith, family. I think you're already fulfilling your wish to serve with your blog. I especially loved the music/prayer letter.
I also like that I'm your FB friend!
I am curious how you voted, but would never ask:-)
As an alum of a Jesuit university, I was taught to think! I voted for Obama.

Anonymous said...

I think the strength of your mini-stry (ha!) is that is makes a priest into a Real Person. For many of us the distance from our overstretched parish priest tends to put them at a remove.

Speaking for myself I'm wondering:

1. What does is His plan for me?
2. How do I hear Him?
3. Why do I keep committing the same sins over and over?
4. Why do I choose the wrong thing when I know it's wrong?
5. I am gravely concerned for the my son's soul. He is autistic and non-verbal and mentally impaired. How can he accept Christ? How will I know if he has?
6. What do aspects of faith do priests struggle with?
7. Why do I hear things from Bishops that are directly contrary to the Magesterium?
8. How about a homily or two?
9. You can never go wrong with tips on tin whistle
10. Let the Spirit guide you. He's doing an awesome job so far.