I know, I know. It's been forever. Some of you might be saying, "I never knew he was gone." Either way, I'm back to let you know how everything went for the 2009 RCM Conference.
I arrived at the venue (St. Joseph Parish in Vancouver, WA, just over the river from Portland, OR) at about 6:15 AM and was surprised to find the venue coordinators Christian Spencer and Jerry Herera already there. We had a couple of issue right off the bat.
The graphic I created to project on the big screen as a welcome to the men when they arrived wouldn't open for some reason. Luckily, the day's program was also on a disc, and Christian whipped up a new graphic that looked great - better than what I had originally come up with!
Then, my father-in-law and I tried to put together the RCM sign frame which is always a hassle - and it was again. But we had plenty of time and were able to throw it together.
I must admit, we had some scary times over the past few months, as advance ticket sales were very poor. However, my registration table helpers came to me early on and told me that the walk-ups just wouldn't stop. Thank You, Jesus!
This year we served a continental breakfast in addition to lunch. Yummy! I heard rave reviews for all who came about the quaility of the food. You go, Knights of Columbus.
Evangelist Richard Lane was the first to take the stage. He gave an emotional and heart-felt talk about change and the call for Reconciliation. The crowd was shouting, "AMEN!" from the moment he began until the moment he left.
It took Richard 15+ hours to make the trip from St. Louis. No, that is not how long it should take. And, yes, it is a long story.
After that, 200 men made their way to Confession. The seven priests in attendance offered the Sacrament, and I was so pleased to see so many men make a fresh start. Music was provided by world-class composer and pianist, Ken Canedo of Spirit and Song.
Lunch followed, and it was a great time to shop the vendor tables and have over an hour of fellowship. I worked the tables and sold raffle tickets to support the Father Bernard Youth Center in Mt. Angel, Oregon. We raised $354 for this great organization.
After lunch, John LaBriola hit the men between the eyes with a talk on spiritual warfare. It was a topic I knew needed to be discussed. John did a great job, and many men told me how great the practical tips were. Thanks, John.
Father Donald Calloway closed the speaker portion of the day by recounting his amazing and anointed conversion story. Wow! No matter if you've heard it before or not - you can't help but be moved.
As is customary - and rightly so - the day ended with Holy Mass in the beautiful church. The place was packed. And that's the way it should be!
St. Joseph Radio was there to record the day, and they sold out of every copy they had burned... and continued to take orders for more. I hope to have more information about how to obtain copies if anyone is interested.
Many men were transformed by the day, and the feedback has been incredible. I am so excited to be preparing for 2010 and beyond. For more information on the 2010 conference as well as pictures from the event, log on to www.RealCatholicMen.com.