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 | By Matt Riedl

Our Diocese … As I See It

Certain moments demand to be witnessed with our own eyes.

At ordinations, the beautiful moment when the ordinandi lie prostrate before the altar.

When someone’s long-anticipated conversion to Catholicism becomes a reality in the chrism oil glistening on his or her forehead. 

Such things I see primarily on a small LCD screen affixed to my trusty Nikon camera.

For the past two years, I’ve been blessed to serve as the multimedia journalist for the Diocese of Lansing.

I’m not a native Michigander. My home is the great flatlands of Kansas, which I’ve often described to friends and co-workers as “God’s country” or “the land of milk and honey.” 

I’ve taken in a sunset standing atop a grain elevator with nothing around for miles (and only a waist-high railing between me and a 100-foot fall). The reds and oranges stretch on for what seems like forever. A gentle breeze (or, more aptly for Kansas, a gust) tickles my ear.

There’s something to be said about finding beauty in unlikely places or, perhaps more appropriately, in places people don’t expect to find it.

This speaks to me — this desire to, through whatever small way I can, give overlooked places dignity. The idea of “creating beauty,” as if it were something that doesn’t naturally exist.

In my time working as the diocesan videographer, I’ve had the pleasure to give presentations to fellow Catholic media professionals across the country. And at one of these talks in Pennsylvania, I was asked a question I’ve been ruminating on ever since.

“We don’t have many beautiful churches down here, and our liturgies are less than ideal. How do we create inspiring content in these conditions?”

I’m paraphrasing a bit, but that was the gist of the question.

I’m back at that Kansas sunset, the warmth of the sky almost palpable — polluted only by the golden glow of McDonald’s arches nearby.

Beauty is all around us; it’s incumbent upon us to notice it.

I’ve been to many of our parishes in this great diocese (not all of them yet!), and all of them have — shall we say — varying degrees of inherent beauty. Not every parish is blessed to be the great Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis or Sweetest Heart of Mary in Detroit.

But every parish is blessed with at least some transcendent beauty — the Mass offered in each parish being the ultimate transcendent beauty, after all.

I find it a gratifying calling to track down that beauty and highlight it for everyone across our diocese. Maybe it will inspire people to take a second look at their own parish.

Humorously, at that same presentation in Pennsylvania, I took some detailed images of their own cathedral the night before to highlight this point. After I showed them these images, I asked if anyone recognized the location. 


That, my friends, is why I love my job at the Diocese of Lansing.

I’m privileged to be able to explore this area and see the many ways in which our faith is demonstrated here. To find the beauty and to remind people it exists, whether or not they realize it.

Just maybe, one of these days, I’ll finally be able to look up from the LCD screen.