Thursday, June 22, 2006

Good Times In Beaumont

Hello from Houston, Texas!

What an amazing few days I've had here in the Lone Star State. Starting on Wednesday afternoon, the Diocese of Beaumont in Texas has been holding it's annual CYO Convention at the JW Marriot in Houston. Here are just a few highlights.

The conference began with a great keynote from Sean Forrest. Sean is a fellow Catholic musician and speaker who came all the way from Connecticut to be here. After about forty minutes of sillyness, which included a "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" sketch and a sing-along featuring Sweet Home Alabama, Sean got into the meat of his presentation. He spent the rest of his time talking to us about an experience he'd had growing up with a classmate named Patrick. He told of how his friends tormented Patrick, how he had reluctantly (and sheepishly) protected Patrick, and how all of this ended with Patrick committing suicide in his garage. Pretty heavy stuff. Sean challenged us all to be stronger in what we believe and look out for the people in this world who are abused or even marginalized. His presentation had a tremendous impact on a lot of people.

We then headed to Minute Maid Park for a baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins. The park was cool, the game was good, and the teens cheered their hearts out. I had the good fortune to be in the first row of our section which meant that I got to look over and see the Astros' bullpen up close.

I was also pretty close to Tal's Hill, which is a strange bump built into the park in straight away Center Field. Tal's Hill is in play. I don't really understand it, but here it is.

The girls pictured below, while they cheered loudly for their Astros, spent a good part of the game sweet talking the servers at the restaurant just below us. Their mission was to get a free dessert. You can clearly tell by the picture that they succeeded in their quest:

The Astros won the game thanks to timely hitting and a solid inning of relief work from their closer, Brad Lidge. We then headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. Well...I did, at least.

This morning, I got up, got myself ready and headed over to the ballroom. We had mass at 9am, and I started my keynote at 10am. After my presentation, we had lunch and then two rounds of workshops. In the session that I led, I focused on Mass and what the congregation's role is within the Mass.

After the workshop, some of the team headed to a local seafood restaurant called Pappadeaux's. It was great. We ate, laughed, told youth ministry stories, and relaxed.

Tomorrow will be a busy day for me. I'll lead a third workshop at 9:45am, eat some lunch and head to the airport. My flight leaves out in the afternoon. I'll get into St. Louis a little before 9pm, and I'll drive to Bass River Resort in Steelville, MO where my cousins are gathering for our annual float trip. Whew!

Please pray for the young people of the Beaumont Diocese. They are a wonderful and enthusiastic bunch, and I've had a great time spending the last couple of days with them. Thanks to Tommy Chatlosh, J.D. Parden, and all of the amazing volunteers and adult chaperones in the diocese. Keep up your excellent and important work.


1 comment:

  1. Tal's Hill...hmmm. Did you notice there is a flag pole on that thing? Questions about this "hill"... Why is it there? Why did they name it? Why is it named "Tal"? Many years back, the NFL removed the goal posts from the field of play so the players wouldn't kill themselves by running into the post, why is the flag pole there? Is it to make Enron Field... oops Minute Maid Park like a minature golf course?
    I know these are difficult questions but sometimes life just calls for hard questions to be asked?