Well, it`s the end of my first day at Congress. I enjoyed it immensely. It was much as I expected it to be. I`ve been listening to the tapes from Congress for at least 7 years, so I pretty much knew what to expect. Still, it is great to be here.
The people are great to watch and very friendly. There are people young and old, with the entire range in between. Congress is intended for adults, but children are also present, especially in Hispanic families. There are, of course, lots of priests and nuns. Some wear habits or clerics. Others are in “civilian” clothes. Our pastor is here in his standard casual clothing. Cardinal Mahoney is here for the weekend, as are several other bishops, quietly moving among the attendees, greeting people and thanking them for coming. Far more of those attending are lay people – leaders in their communities and teachers. They are a wonderful cross-section of our multicultural state and country.
In the hallway of the second floor of the Convention Center, there are exhibits of the many different Catholic ethnic communities in the Archdiocese. It`s wonderful to see. There are people from everywhere here. Most are smiling and laughing with each other. Friends meet each other – some after long separations, others have seen each other regularly. Crazy as it sounds, even with around 30,000 people here, we see people we know – friends from our parish and from other parishes in which we have lived. There are lots of people, but it`s not a mob scene.
There are a large variety of liturgies and prayer services. Music comes in many varieties, from quite contemplative to rock and jazz. All of it filled with heart and joy. It would be easy to overdo it all and come home exhausted. Fortunately, I am here with family, so I moderate what I attend and trust that what I miss will happen without me and I can always listen to it on tapes!
I`m looking forward to tomorrow – more workshops, more visits with friends, and more wonderful liturgies. It`s a special place and time. I`m grateful to be here.