A few years ago, Matt Warner launched a cool project he called “Support a Catholic Speaker Month”. It began with a poll where you could vote for your favorite Catholic speakers. After a few days of voting, the top 100 speakers were determined and then Catholic bloggers were invited to choose one speaker to write about.
It was exciting for three reasons. First, it promoted great Catholic speakers, who are so important to the life of the Church. Second, it introduced many new and unfamiliar names who deserved a bigger platform. Third, it gave bloggers a chance to connect with speakers while building traffic to their own websites.
Before starting, Matt really stressed that the project was not a competition or popularity contest:
“The primary goal…was not to find out who is better than somebody else. It was to raise awareness about the many Catholic Speakers out there and to support them. They are all sharing the same, one Truth. And as talented and effective as the top favorites are at doing what they do, we need many more like them if we’re going to reach everyone.”
The voting only existed to get the list down to a manageable size—not to determine each speaker’s relative value. And I think everyone got that. With the shared understanding that the whole was designed to promote great Catholic speaking in general, it was a huge success.
Yet that was three years ago. It’s 2012, and time for another round— especially since there are many great new speakers out there. So I asked Matt permission to host another Catholic Speaker Month and he gave me a big thumbs-up.
So here’s how Support a Catholic Speaker Month 2012 will work. There will be four stages:
1. Complete the Speaker List
This stage is already done. Over the last few days we built our Catholic Speaker list and ended up with over 250 fantastic speakers! It’s great to know there are so many Catholics following in the footsteps of St. Paul, St. Francis Xavier, and Venerable Fulton Sheen by proclaiming the Gospel far and wide. However, since one goal of Catholic Speaker Month is to connect individual bloggers with each speaker, we need to whittle the list down to a much-more-manageable 100. Which brings us to the next step.
2. Vote for Speakers (begins today!)
The voting just launched today, and so far more than 450 people have already voted. You’re allowed to select your 15 favorite speakers from the list but you can only vote once. So take your time, read through the whole list, and choose your favorites. I’m sure most of the “big names” will easily make the final 100, so if there’s a lesser-known speaker you’d like to feature, don’t use all your votes on the household names. After all, this project is partly meant to raise the platforms of speakers who aren’t yet well known.
So head over and vote for your top 15 favorite speakers of 2012. The polls will stay open for one week.
3. Choose your Speaker (Thursday, August 23)
After the voting ends, I’ll tally the results and list the top 100 Catholic speakers—in reverse order (Matthew 20:16). The list will go live on my site at 9:00am ET on Thursday, August 23, and once it does you’ll be able to choose one speaker to blog about. Requests will be granted on a first-come, first-serve basis so be sure to check back on Thursday morning.
4. Celebrate “Support a Catholic Speaker Month” (September 2012)
After you claim your speaker you’ll then have several days to write about him or her. The style is up to you: a biographical post, perhaps a collection of video or audio clips, or maybe even a full-blown interview.
The whole month of September will be marked as Catholic Speaker Month 2012. That means you don’t have to post right on September 1—though the earlier, the better. When your post does go live, I’ll link to it from the main Catholic Speaker Month page and invite everyone to check it out.
PS. Since our goal is to spread the word about these great folks, we need your help. Consider pointing your readers, followers, and fans to this voting page and encouraging them to vote. You might also paste one of the graphics from our Badge Page onto your website, blog, sidebar, social media account, bicycle, unicorn, tractor, or wherever you want. [Badge link code here]