My friend Gwen O’Brien left her job at Saint Mary’s College about nine months ago to help lead a new initiative out of Notre Dame called the Catholic Media Project. It looks like the public facing name has already changed to “Grotto Network.” Gwen told me that the Grotto Network is intended to be another gift from Notre Dame to the Catholic Church. The website and social sites speak to young adult Catholics, 18-32 who are devout or casual, to help them “Navigate Life, Make an Impact, and Keep the Faith.” It just launched this past week.

You’ll notice – as I did – that they bent over backwards NOT to make this a “Notre Dame thing.” Just looking at their colors, design and initial content, they obviously intend this to be something for the entire English speaking world. I told Gwen that I’m amazed at the resources they are putting into this. On my daily walks through campus this past year, I’ve been watching them build this multipurpose media center as part of the Campus Crossroads Project. Everything about it is state of the art. To take advantage of this technology, they have hired (by my unofficial count) TEN people working on this project! To see their bright and cheerful faces, click here and scroll down.  As many of you know, I’ve been involved with Catholic media and evangelization for a long time. Currently, one of the things I do at Notre Dame Federal Credit Union is help to finance Catholic radio stations across the country. I’ve never seen a startup done at this scale with this level of funding. In the Catholic world, it’s an astonishing effort.

What I find so exciting about their first stuff is that they featured our own AWESOME Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka and a short vignette about Rachel Staley’s vocation story with them. Rachel is a product not only of a wonderful and loving family, but also of our local Church in South Bend – Mishawaka. It makes my heart sing to see the high quality production values of Notre Dame’s Catholic Media Project take on such a worthy subject as she.

On a personal note, this community of sisters, this convent, this adoration chapel and main church are among my favorite people and places in the world. These sisters were there for me and my family as I went through years of harrowing cancer treatments. They literally helped raise our kids! Good on Notre Dame for kicking off their project by featuring the BEST. I hope they continue this kind of high quality content, perhaps even working in some of the awesome CSC religious making God known, loved and served in this world (hint hint 😉 ).