Monday, April 03, 2006


I couldn't have made this up if I wanted to.

On a fall day many years ago, in response to a story, I had a chat with David Gibson, then running the religion beat at Tony Soprano's favorite paper, the Star-Ledger of Newark.

That call -- the first of hundreds I've had with religion writers over the years since -- marked the beginning of my wild ride at the intersection of the church and the press, and it started a friendship which has been both a personal and professional blessing.

Gibson -- a former correspondent at Vatican Radio's English desk, now CNN documentarian extraordinaire and author of The Coming Catholic Church and the upcoming The Rule of Benedict -- isn't just brilliant at what he does, but he's also shown a knack for being at the right place at the right time over the years.

Lightning struck yet again yesterday afternoon -- of all people, Gibson was Whispers' 500,000th Visitor.

(And, should you be curious, Dave -- one of this outlet's original three readers -- first found the photo that's now the cover art for The Rule on these pages. He's very grateful.)

Five hundred thousand. Wow. That's half a million. An archdiocese or, dare I say, a cardinalatial see -- in Italy.

How sweet it is.

Two brief things:

1. For those moments when I haven't risen to the occasion -- both in what I've done and what I've failed to do -- I wholeheartedly apologize and ask forgiveness.

2. For the loyalty, trust and kindness of so many of you, for being trusted and enjoyed enough to be a part of your days and your lives, I'll never be able to thank you all enough. Know that your goodness to this humble scribe means the world.

And, lastly, as my bills are past due again, please don't forget the guitar case.

God love you all and grant you every good thing today and always.