Saturday, April 12, 2008

Detroit Men's Conference

Darrin Davis (Deb's husband), Paul Gelinas (a man in Deb's RCIA class), and I had a great today at the Detroit's Catholic Men's Conference, at University of Detroit's Calihan Hall along with about 6,000 other men. Someone (I won't say who) told us it started at 7 AM.

But 7 AM was when the doors opened. We took this picture at 6:45 AM. During the day Darrin and I got to confession. Paul said the line was too long. When I came back Paul had asked me if the reason it took me almost 2 hours had anything to do with how long it had been since my last confession or something else... like the line. Actually, the line was long (over 100) but the hold up was that there were only 5 priests at first (scattered in the seats behind the screen area) and some of the guys in front, well, it was taking a L O N G time... probably because it had been a L O N G time. But then other preists came, over 20 by the time I left, and the line sped right along.

Confession is one of the greatest things about Catholicism. The New Testament is extremely clear about it, and why I never saw it in the Bible as an Evangelical can only be attributed to the total lack of honest teaching on it by Evangelicalism, and my ignorant prejudice against Catholicism. But Jesus tells the Apostles that they have the power to forgive sins or not, Matthew later points out clearly that "God gave man the power to forgive sins." We are asked to go to each other and ask for forgiveness, and there is the long history from the very beginning of the Church where confession was practiced. But the REAL proof to me is the miracle I physically feel when I have prepared well for confession (ahead of time) by a thorough examination of conscience, and then hear the priest's words: "I absolve you of ALL your sings, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." It's an amazing thing, and I am sure I visibly straighten and walk out taller. It is a great feeling that gives me confidence before God, and my faith is given a palatable boost every time. I usually go about once a month, but today it had been only 2 weeks.

The view from our seats during Fr. John's Talk. The AV support was terrific. I got to look down on the control "room" -- a little distracting. This was the first conference I've attended in decades where I wasn't directing, on some crew, or exhibiting. It was great to relax and just enjoy the speakers.

Fr. John deals with hecklers ("I expect to see you two in confession later today.") Actually we were giving him a sanding ovation and he was telling us to sit down and shut up. We did. He was terrific as usual. I don't care what Canon Law says, I'm casting my ballot for Fr. John next time they let us vote for pope.

Teresa Tomeo interviews Mike Timmis while Henry Root tries to catch some sleep. Henry is at any and every Catholic conference I've ever been at. Like some mystics I'm convinced he can bi-locate. Teresa can't get away with it, however, with that red jacket.

Leonardo Defilippis was terrific as Maximilian Kobe, and half a dozen other characters. Great drama, great sound track, and great lighting effects, Leonardo. A lot of work. Worth every minute. Five years ago I had dinner with Leonardo and a few others after a conference in Los Angeles. So, it was good to talk with him a few minutes before the conference began. Did I tell you we got there early?

Paul was busy buying Darrin a book, and so by the time we took this everyone was leaving... even Teresa.

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