As you may recall, I spent most of last week at the 2013 Catholic Media Conference in Denver. If you missed my Facebook posts — what, you weren’t hanging on my every word? —here’s a quick photographic recap.
Moments after we landed at the Denver International Airport on Tuesday, a tornado hit. They sent everyone in the airport down to the basement “Tornado Shelter.” Several people were able to get cell phone service and download pictures of the storm clouds outside. That was not reassuring.
After 30 minutes of wondering if the airport was still standing above us, they let us back upstairs. The sun was shining. All was clear. But they couldn’t figure out how to turn off the sirens or stop the announcements, warning us to take cover. Someone said to me cheerfully, “It’s a little like London during the Blitz. We should all be singing or something.”
Eventually, my van pulled up. I took the Super Shuttle to our hotel, the Marriott at Denver Tech Center.
There were talks, conferences, panels. I got to hear from some great people like…
…Fr. Robert Barron and
…John Thavis and
…John Allen and
…Archbishop Jose Gomez and
…Mother Dolores Hart.
Besides Mother Dolores, I got to hang out with cool people like…
…Lisa Hendey and Elizabeth Scalia and…
…every Catholic blogger’s BFF, Kevin “New Advent” Knight.
Elizabeth Scalia also hosted a breakfast for the head honchos of Patheos, which has its offices in Denver. It was the first time we all got to see each other face to face. Nobody ran from the room screaming. It was a great success.
Spiritual opportunities abounded. One of the hotel meeting rooms was set aside for adoration. You could slip in any time to pray, say the rosary, or do the Liturgy of the Hours.
We had Mass every day in one of the ballrooms at the hotel, and I got to rub elbows with a couple archbishops, along with Denver’s liturgy chief, Deacon Chuck Parker (yes, guys, a deacon runs their liturgy office!)
I also took part in a panel on blogging with folks like Elizabeth Scalia, Matt Palmer, Lisa Hendey and Dominico Bettinelli. This is what it looked like to the audience:
And this is what it looked like to me:
A good time was had by all. Friday night brought the climax of the conference, the Catholic Press awards. The little magazine I work for, ONE, took home an award or two. (Oh, okay: 22 awards, but who’s counting?)
By Saturday afternoon, though, I was glad to get home to my wife. The first thing she said to me when she hugged me at our front door: “You smell wonderful!”
I had to tell her it wasn’t my customary manly musk.
The fact is: I forgot to pack deodorant, and the only stuff they sold in the sundry shop was Lady Speed Stick.
I now smell like my wife’s grandmother.
Or maybe, Mother Dolores Hart.
For other accounts of the Catholic Media Conference, check out The Anchoress, who also has a great interview with another attendee, Matthew Bunson, and Kathryn Jean Lopez, who has some observations over at NRO.