Settling into our Groove
Our second day of the conference and the first full day was a lot of fun. We found our groove and discovered a part of why we are here. We decided to keep the kids with us for morning daily mass and drop them off at the Youth Conference afterwards. We decided to forgo the keynote and instead spend some time walking through the vendor area. Our kids had a great time at the Youth Congress and Denae and I and our older girls had a great time visiting with people in the exhibit halls. This conference has so much to offer that we had to figure out how to best use our limited time here, perhaps tomorrow we will go to a few more talks, perhaps not. Whatever we feel called to do, we will go with it and God will bring good out of it. There are people engaging the new evangelization everywhere, each in his or her own way. One really important thing we did do was pick up our golden tickets to the papal event over the weekend.
The Exhibit Hall
I really love going through the vendor areas at conferences. It seems that I am not the only one who loves walking by and visiting with the various organizations who spend time and money to be present at a conference. They are there to share their vision with you and engage you in conversations about what matters most to them. At a Catholic Conference, most of the vendors are there not because they have to, but because they want to. Many of them have devoted much of their lives and their savings to follow the promptings of God and do something beautiful for the glory of God. Most of the vendors are humble and polite, not trying to sell you things you don’t need, but trying to share with you the reason they do what they do and if you end up purchasing something, even better. We met several people who fit this model and very much enjoyed spending time getting to know them and discovering the mission on which God has called them.
This interchange of passions only increases our resolve to do what God is calling us to do. We are still not sure where we are going, but we know we are going somewhere and we are content with the tasks God has given us to perform thus far. Many of the vendors we visited with asked about our ministry, some even asked us for business cards to give to someone they knew who would be interested in finding more about our mission and the 33 Day Family Consecration.
A Very Fun Project
About half way through the day, we decided that we were going to take pictures with as many priests, bishops, and religious as we could find. We have been amazed at how many there are in attendance, you can’t walk 10 steps without seeing a consecrated member of the Catholic Church. As we were eating lunch, a man of the cloth came out of the confessional (after hearing confessions for an hour), looked at our family of 10 (one stayed at home) and asked where we came from. He proceeded to ask if he could take our picture, of course we agreed. After he left I told the kids that I think the man we thought was a priest was actually a Bishop because I noticed a pectoral cross. Sure enough, we googled the Diocese of Ottawa and found a picture of our new friend, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.
It was the Archbishop’s photo that started our little project to take a pictures with every priest, bishop or religious that would oblige us. Our kids absolutely loved this project and I think it will continue until we depart on Sunday evening. We get more than just a picture, we get to meet someone who has given everything to follow God. We get to know a bit about them and our kids love giving away our ministry business cards and asking them to keep us in their prayers.