SOURCE: Legion of Christ

March 18, 2008 12:40 ET

Circle Media Units Enhance Pope's Visit With Content-Rich Website and Unique Biography: "Benedict of Bavaria"

NORTH HAVEN, CT--(Marketwire - March 18, 2008) - The National Catholic Register has opened up a new website at to help everyone to experience the Pope's visit to the United States in April, as well as his encounter with the youth at World Youth Day in Australia this summer. Senior Register writer Tim Drake's blog, titled "The World Meets Benedict," will provide readers with up-to-the-minute reports and vivid descriptions of the events, people, sights, and sounds from firsthand observation.

"The idea for came from a casual conversation with the National Catholic Register's editor, Tom Hoopes," Drake said. "In talking about my coverage of the events in D.C., New York, and Sydney, I mentioned the possibility of a blog, not only during the events, but also in preparation for them. With that, Tom worked with others at Circle Media to quickly get a website set up for the coverage."

Despite just being launched and having little publicity, the site is drawing thousands of visitors, evidence of the excitement around the Holy Father's visit, according to Drake.

Tim Drake is an award-winning journalist and author. A lifelong Minnesota resident, Tim attended the University of Minnesota, Morris, graduating with a bachelor's degree and social science teaching certificate in 1989.

He has published more than 600 articles in publications such as the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Faith and Family Magazine, Catholic World Report,, Columbia Magazine, Gilbert! Magazine, This Rock Magazine, and many others.

He serves as senior writer with the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family Magazine.

Tim has been a guest on both television and radio. He has appeared on FOX News, Vatican Radio, EWTN, and a variety of radio programs nationwide.

Tim has published three books and has contributed to several others. He resides in Saint Joseph, Minnesota.

A unique view of the Holy Father

And for people wanting to get an intimate view of the Holy Father, Dr. Brennan Pursell, a Catholic historian and author with a BA in history from Stanford University and a doctorate from Harvard, has written a new papal biography titled "Benedict of Bavaria," now available for pre-ordering from Circle Press.

While written as a historical biography, the book is not without personal ties to Pursell's own life. After what he describes as a "gloriously pagan" youth growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, going to college at Stanford University, and traveling around the world, Pursell's first inklings of conversion began when he settled in Bavaria to work on his doctoral dissertation.

As time went by, Pursell continued to grow into the Catholic faith. In 1994, while still living in Bavaria, he was officially received into the Catholic Church in the Benedictine monastery of Metten. Bavaria, the land of his family's roots, had shown him the way to his spiritual home: the Church.

When Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, Pursell felt an "overwhelming desire to make the life and work of his favorite theologian better known to the American public." He noted that most media coverage of the pope showed a "general lack of knowledge about the culture that contributed so decisively to his youth and formation." His own research and experiences in Bavaria had given him a sense for the land that shaped Pope Benedict XVI. And so, the two-year process of writing "Benedict of Bavaria" began.

Unlike most biographies, Pursell's work is based on mainly primary sources, such as interviews, articles, and German-language testimonies and writings from people who grew up, studied, and worked with Joseph Ratzinger firsthand. Brennan also enriched his research by visiting almost all of the significant places of Benedict's early life, including the churches, universities, and towns where he worshipped, studied, and lived.

Circle Media and its publishing units, Circle Press and the National Catholic Register, are sponsored by the Legion of Christ. The Legion of Christ is a religious congregation of pontifical right, founded in 1941. Its mission is to extend the Kingdom of Christ in society according to the requirements of justice and Christian charity.

Contact Information

  • NOTE TO EDITORS: If you would like a Legionary priest for commentary on
    television, radio or print media during the Holy Father's U.S. visit,

    Jim Fair
    Director of Communications
    Legion of Christ
    Phone: 630-858-6398
    CELL: 312-953-9864
    Email Contact