The founder of Big Pulpit introduces a second site for Catholic news junkies.
This week marks the launch of Chronica, a new source of information for Catholics and others who share an interest in faith, politics and culture. A fast-paced promotional trailer can be found here. Chronica, which was officially unveiled on September 15, has been created by web manager Tito Edwards, best known for his popular Catholic news aggregator Big Pulpit. Unlike Edwards’ other Catholic news sites which require human involvement in the news review and selection process, Chronica will instead utilize cyber-selection—robotic screening of syndicated news sources—to collect news important to a wide audience of Catholics and others.
As the Chronica launch date approached, Tito Edwards talked by phone about his life, his career, and his long-range goal of assisting the Church in his home diocese of Galveston-Houston through his online presence and, eventually, through brick-and-mortar projects.
The Birth of an Idea
Tito was engaged to be married, but he had a problem: His work as an independent warehousing consultant required extensive travel. Tito and his fiancee had discussed his demanding schedule; and both felt that as a married man, he should curtail his business travel. He was ready for a new career—but doing what?
Tito was proficient in computer tasks, from helping corporations control their complicated shipping and receiving records for ten years. He was uncertain, though, how to apply his experience in a job that allowed him to stay at home while supporting a family.
One day, he shared his dilemma with his soon-to-be-wife over lunch at her place. He told her about the American Catholic website, which he was operating at the time, and about his work with the Custos Fidei website. Why, she asked, didn’t he do something online that would enable him to apply his skills full-time in the Catholic arena?
The idea was immediately attractive. Before Facebook, Tito had enjoyed collecting links; he saw the success of New Advent, the project originated by fellow Catholic Kevin Knight, and the rapid growth of another Catholic news aggregator, Pewsitter. That, thought Tito, was what he would like to do.
Tito was a life-long Catholic. Like many who were raised in strong Catholic homes, he had drifted away; and it was as a young adult that he recommitted to his faith. When Pope John Paul II spoke to young people at World Youth Day in Denver, Tito took the message to heart and began to pursue a career in the New Evangelization.
Big Goals for Assisting the Church
Asked what are his long-range goals, Tito plunged right into an enthusiastic discussion of his three-stage plan. “God willing,” he said, he hopes to support the Catholic Church with an ambitious effort:
PHASE 1 is the Big Pulpit website as we know it today: not so much a news aggregate as it is a hand-picked selection of “the best of Catholic reporting.” Writers who aspire to be included in Big Pulpit‘s twice-daily anthologies of Catholic news need to be—
determinedly orthodox, always faithful to the Magisterium.
PHASE 2, still in the early planning stage, will be a physical complex which Tito titles “Little Vatican Plaza.” Built adjacent to the Chancery offices or a large church complex, Little Vatican Plaza will offer a wide range of Catholic services, from a bookstore to a coffee shop to meeting spaces. Office space will be available to various pro-life organizations and Catholic nonprofits.
In PHASE 3, Tito hopes that the income generated by his websites will permit him to help build up the Archdiocesan infrastructure in his hometown of Houston. In addition to his planned “Little Vatican Plaza” he’d like to buy land, on which his various projects could help to finance the erection of buildings for a new elementary school, a high school, a new Chancery, and more.
This week, Tito Edwards unveils Chronica, his largest Internet enterprise to date. The Catholic on-line family is richer for this newest addition.
Kathy Schifferis a freelance writer and speaker, and her blog Seasons of Grace can be found on the Catholic Portal at Patheos.