I’d love to be able to tell you how wonderful this year’s Ignited by Truth conference was. After all, the 7th annual event has grown so large that it had to be held at the new Raleigh Convention Center instead of the diocese’s high school. We also had some stellar speakers – Joseph Pearce, Tim Staples, Phil Rivers, Fr. Larry Richards, Immaculee Iligabiza…
But I can’t. I have no idea.
I was approached the week of the conference about working at the Catholic Answers table during the conference. “The speakers will be broadcast in the room, so you won’t miss anything,” I was told.
The speakers were the standard “box” speakers against one wall, not ceiling speakers evenly positioned throughout the room. I, in the middle of the room, got to hear a few minutes’ of Immaculee’s talk as I was saying my Confession with Fr Ned from the Office of Vocations (he very kindly accommodated my need not to leave my table long by hearing my Confession there in the vendor’s room).
Still, I can tell you – There were nearly 2500 people in attendance.
*I got to see my friend Rose from Catholic Online.
*I got to see a friend and former student and a whole bunch of lovely folks from their Byzantine parish.
*I got to see That Other Laura, who was in my RCIA program at the other parish, and her lovely mom.
*I got to see Sabrena and Eric from Sacred Heart Beats.
*I got to see Chris from A Catholic View and now also from Deliberate Engagement.
*I got to meet Argent by the Tiber.
*I got to spend Friday evening and all day Saturday hobnobbing with Tim Staples. He’s as funny and astute in person as he is in writing or on stage.
*I got to meet Joseph Pearce, who is a VERY HANDOME GENTLEMAN, in defiance of what his promo photo suggests, and very gracious, too – with that lovely English accent.
*I got to spend a short while with the Lord in the Adoration Chapel.
*I got to shake hands and exchange a few words of greeting with our Totally Awesome Bishop, Michael Burbidge (knees won’t let me genuflect. rats!)
*Got to see, hug, talk with, and, best of all, worship with Matt, Deliberate Engagement colleague. Hadn’t seen him since September (he took hiatus from the Master Chorale, and now I have, too) –
I looked around the room during one of our very busy interludes, and realized with some sense of awe that I was in the midst of a huge group of like-minded Catholic Christians. So often I feel as if I’m swimming against the tide, trying to go in the opposite direction of all the other fish in my local river. But here, at this wonderful conference, we were all swimming the same direction – loving the same Lord, trying to live out our faith in the same paradigm.
I didn’t get to hear a speaker, but I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the whole world.