Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Re-cap Southwest Liturgical Conference in El Paso

Tuesday greetings from the dreary Midwest.

I enjoyed my six days in El Paso, at the Southwest Liturgical Conference (SWLC) Study Week. Kudos to the leadership in the Diocese of El Paso, who really got the local folks to attend, especially on Friday and Saturday.

The board of directors of the SWLC made a commitment a few years ago to have an RCIA track at each of the study weeks. With the closing of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate a few yeas ago, it is important for organizations like SWLC to take up the mantle and continue offering ministry formation in Christian initiation. A sign of the continued vitality in initiation ministry was the interest generated in our exhibit booth over our Fountain of Life initiation resources. Most of our books were sold out by the end of the conference and we took orders for many, many more. Frankly, it did my heart good (and I know I am patting myself on the back a bit here!) to see so many resources in a series that I have shepherded here at WLP for the past seventeen years. To watch the delight on people's faces, for instance, when they finally found a worthy resource for the RCIA as adapted for children of catechetical age was a particularly proud moment for me. This was the first conference at which we shared Blessie La Scola's new book, Children of the Light: Precatechumenate Sessions for Children and Families. 

WLP and J.S. Paluch sent two of us to El Paso. I was privileged to work alongside our owner, Mary Lou Paluch Rafferty, a true model of servant leadership. Here we are:

WLP's own Peter Kolar led the music for the entire conference. I've gotta tell you, the music was excellent. Peter is comfortable playing and arranging in styles from Bach to Huapango. So many people expressed their gratitude to Peter for a job well done.

SWLC also provides opportunities for fellowship and connection among the publishers. Here I am with Pedro Rubalcava of OCP.

Pedro did a great job playing guitar and serving as cantor at many of the liturgies.

On Saturday morning, the Archbishop of San Antonio, Archbishop Garcia-Siller, presented the keynote in Spanish. I was in a hospitality room above the convention hall and snapped this photo.

The SWLC is by far one of my favorite conferences. You can just feel the flavor of the Southwest, this year the flavor of a border town. There is much fear in this area of our country over the future of immigration policies here in the United States. Please keep our brothers and sisters in prayer.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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