Wow! I can't believe it has been nearly a week since my last post. I left Toronto very early on Wednesday morning, spent a few hours here at the office, went home, did laundry, re-packed, then flew to Baltimore into what was supposed to be a major snowstorm. Surprise! Not a flake of snow fell in Baltimore and most air traffic was halted into there on Wednesday. Go figure!
I was in Baltimore for the second annual Mid-Atlantic Congress for pastoral leaders. There were about a thousand people in attendance, most from the Mid-Atlantic region, but there were folks there from as far away as Seattle, Washington.
I gave a presentation: "Who Belongs in the RCIA Process," which was well received. WLP was a "platinum sponsor" for the event, which meant that we sponsored several speakers and printed the booklet for the conference.
Here are a few photos. The first is of yours truly holding the World Youth Day book that we helped the Pontifical Mission Society produce. If you have pilgrims planning to attend World Youth Day in Rio this summer, this book is a must-have. Ordering information from the society can be found here.
And here is a great photo of Marilyn Santos from the Pontifical Mission Society and Mary Lou Paluch Rafferty, the owner of J.S. Paluch and World Library Publications. We are proud of our collaboration with the society, which does such wonderful work throughout the world.
So, are you interested in knowing what the most popular resources were at our booth at the Mid-Atlantic Congress? The first was Mary Birmingham's brand new resource, Confirming Adult Catholics, for which I was the editor.
So many parishes try to find ways to effectively prepare adults for the sacrament of Confirmation. This book's first four sessions use the prayers and gestures from the celebration of the sacrament as the foundation for immediate sacramental preparation. The final session is a reflection on the actual celebration of the sacrament. Folks, this book is a real winner! Many parishes simply put parishioners who missed confirmation in the RCIA; and here we are talking about active Catholics who, for one reason or another missed the sacrament. They do not belong in the RCIA because the RCIA is for people coming to faith for the first time. Mary's book is based on her own pastoral experience over the past thirty years. This resource includes the process she developed over those years to minister to adult Catholics seeking the sacrament of Confirmation.
The second resource was Brother Mickey McGrath's new book, Go to Joseph.
Here is a description of this fine book from WLP's web site: "St. Joseph has been an inspiration to many and is perhaps one of the most beloved saints among Catholics today. But how much do we really know about Joseph? His appearance in the Bible is relatively brief and rather obscure, leaving us with little knowledge of who he was and what drove his devotion to and unwavering trust in the Lord.
Go to Joseph is an exploration of this man, this human being that so many of us strive to be like, especially in times of conflict and doubt. Originating from the stunning illustrations of St. Joseph by Brother Michael O’Neill McGrath, sixteen different authors have come together to bring you twenty chapters exploring different aspects of St. Joseph’s life as a husband, a father, a craftsman, a traveler, a guide, and much more. Additionally, various works of art are explained in Brother Mickey’s own words connecting the dots as to how St. Joseph inspired him to create these beautiful images. With this book, let St. Joseph’s strength and grace become part of your own life and discover how he has become a role model for the universal Church."
I have to say that this book has generated lots of interest among Catholics. Many Sisters of Saint Joseph have purchased the book, as well as people from many parishes named after the saint, people whose name is "Joseph," relatives of "Joseph's," as well as dads from all walks of life.
Well, my travels have abated now for at least three weeks. Feels so good to be home! The next conference at which I will be presenting is NCEA (National Catholic Education Association). Their annual convention is the week after Easter in Houston, Texas.
My thoughts and prayers are with the cardinals in Rome for the next several days. Who knows, we may have a pope as early as tomorrow!
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.