16 October 2014

Christ Our Life conference

Four years ago they held, what I think was, the first Christ Our Life conference here in DSM.  Homebase and I checked out that one and had a super time.  I think there was one two years ago that I did not make it to, but when they announced that Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of NY, would be the keynote speaker at the 2014 conference, I definitely wanted to be there.
We bought our tickets at the gate on Saturday morning and spent an hour or so checking out the vendor displays, then we made our way in and found some seats for opening mass.  That turned out to be tricky as it was a packed Wells Fargo arena so we had to move up into the mezzanine level.  We had a fantastic view of the altar area and the lights, sound, and jumbo video screens made it easy to see and hear.  The entrance processional was great, with a Knights of Columbus color guard, around twenty priests, our current bishop, our bishop emeritus, the cardinal and great music.  I liked a line from the homily from Cardinal Dolan, "This life is but the antipasto before the great banquet in heaven."
After mass the Cardinal returned to a thunderous welcome and gave a fantastic keynote address.  He spoke about how one of the ways that Christ brings himself into our lives is through the Pope, and, what a fantastic group that last three Popes have been.  He spent time talking about what each Pope brought to the church and why that was important.  He categorized them as, Soul - Mind - Heart.  John Paul II brought the soul.  Benedict XVI focused on the mind.  And Francis is addressing the heart.  He is a comfortable, entertaining speaker and shared great historical facts and stories from each man's life.  His recounting of John Paul's tour of Poland (only nine days before he came to Iowa!) in 1979 was very interesting and I made a note to read more on the events there at that time.
I could've listened to him all day.
The next speaker was Fr. Larry Richards and he is an energetic, straight-talking priest who focused his talk on confession.  A definite contrast in styles with Cardinal Dolan, but after I conditioned myself to his manner, I found myself enjoying and appreciating his message.  He had no patience for priests who make confession painful or demeaning.  He also had strong guidance for those seeking penance. Most importantly he talked about ways to make confession not intimidating, ways to remember all your sins (for those who have trouble), and to keep the focus on Christ, not on ourselves while confessing.
When we came out for the noon lunch break, there were people unpacking all sorts of big tailgates and picnics in the parking lot.  They were soaking up the gorgeous weather and having a great time and I thought they were smart to plan ahead and not try and rush around finding a restaurant. 
Even though we only caught two speakers, it was an enriching and fun morning!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to you I have been to 2 great conferences. I found the first one to be life changing. I read more theology, stepped up my prayer life, and followed up on websites and radio of good speakers. Thanks for going with me! It has been rewarding and enjoyable.