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Go West Catholic Men!

February 26, 2011

Day One from the NW Catholic Men’s Conference:

First, you can only imagine how awful driving the Columbia River Gorge was today.  And, it is currently 15 degrees in Pendleton.  And, I went by my father’s new house today, not sure why exactly – I suppose for a dash of reality  :^/  –  but I didn’t stop to say hi, I needed to get checked in at the conference.

After getting my Welcome packet, I went back out to the car, took my sweatshirt and T-shirt off, pulled on a sweater & sport coat, changed out of snow boots, and went in.  Thanks to being bare-chested in the parking lot,outside of the Pendleton Roundup, for a men’s religious conference, with temperature in the teens: I was wide awake.

So in I walked/  The first thing I saw was His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, greeting people as they came in.  Like Walmart.  I was amazed.  This is just another kind, holy man. He has a very kind way about him.  I introduced myself, delivered a message from my friend, Richard, and welcomed him to the Great Northwest. 

To start was the Holy Mass.  Choral was provided by the Wyoming Catholic College Choir, and they were just very good.  They sang Lift High the Cross as we men, probably 450 faithful, gamely accompanied.  The homily by Cardinal Burke, called us to fulfill our duty as Catholic men, given the good example by frontier Father DeSmet long ago.

After Mass we broke into fraternity groups for soup and bread, then back to the auditorium for Cardinal Burke to talk.  He spoke of Martyrdom – then and now, and Love-in-action.  How we can exercise our own martyrdom by giving “extraordinary witness in ordinary things.”  His eyes flashed with anger over the subject of men, ordained and laity, who have failed in their vocations and hurt the most innocent – the children.  But most of all, he called us to step up our vocation to be the men we are intended to be, inspite of the world’s derision and ridicule. 

I liked him right away.

To close, all the men were led in a Stations of the Cross.  There is something special, fraternal – filial – about men’s voices surging as one voice.  It is hard to define for you, but there it is.

I close the late night with the Scripture we recited our part – an interesting Greek Chorus, reciting our Lamentations:

Come, all you who pass by the way, look and see Whether there is any suffering like my suffering, which has been dealt me when the Lord afflicted me on the day of his blazing wrath… At this I weep, my eyes run with tears: far from me are all who could console me, any who might revive me; (Lamentations 1: 12, 16)

Tomorrow, a new dawn comes with restoration…



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