Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Back At My Station Keeping

Greetings everyone! I got back from my time away last night, but after a marriage preparation class I had, I truthfully didn't feel like blogging. But today is different.

Just as a note to readers, if this post seems a little off, blame it on the muscle relaxer I took before sitting down. All that time in the car and on the road has ruined my back...again. I will probably have to go get an MRI done here in the near future.

Okay, first, some comments on the Midwest Family Life Conference are in order. This year's conference was the only fifth but compared to last year, the numbers seemed up. I would guess that about 2000-3000 people attended including several friends from other places and previous assignments, not to mention several bloggers. Thanks to Jennifer from Ruminations for coming over and saying "hi." I like to get the face behind the internet mask if you get my meaning. And I was impressed that you committed yourself to a 9 hour trip to attend. Way to GO!

The whole tone of the conference is set by beginning first with a Eucharistic Holy Hour. That's right, friends, you read it here. The three day conference begins with one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, carried into the main hall, in solemn profession. An extra treat came in the form of Fr. Antoine Thomas, from the Order of Saint John, leading the hour. While translating for the French accent was a trifle tricky at times, I was most impressed at how he invited the children to join him on the floor in front of the monstrance for adoration. He clearly has a gift for working with kids and leading them to Christ.

The talks on the whole were excellent. One speaker did a presentation on walking with the Blessed Virgin Mary that I didn't particularly like or find useful. I always have a little problem when speakers try to parse the inner life of the Blessed Virgin Mary using his/her own experiences. After all, if I can't understand myself all the time, how will you hope to get to the inner workings of another, especially one free from original sin? Further, the talk given, when you use your personal experiences, tend to sound like you are making a presentation about, well, yourself and not the subject you proposed. On the flip side, Jeff Cavins made a wonderful presentation on forgiveness on Sunday morning, but here is where a particular weakness of the conference came to mind. All day Saturday, priests are available to hear confessions. Removing from the discussion all those things that are outside the control of the conference planners, why wasn't that talk given on Saturday, to set the tone so to speak, rather than on Sunday when far fewer priests were around and available to hear confessions?

So, all in all, a wonderful, not to be missed, experience. Since the conference falls on the same weekend every year, the first weekend in August, you can plan now. I especially encourage my brother priests to make plans NOW to attend. Here in Oklahoma, to get coverage for a weekend, you have to plan months in advance. It might be the same way for some of my brother priests as well. Also, if you don't live near Wichita, I know that these conferences, sponsored by St. Joseph's Communications, are becoming available in other parts of the U.S. The next one, I think, is in St. Charles, IL, and is slated for November.

That's all for now on that. I have a couple of other posts to make, but you'll have to wait. I wanted you to know that I hadn't abandoned you all or left for a religious order spontaneously.

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