Months ago when I agreed to be a speaker at the Wyoming Council of Catholic Women State Convention I knew my schedule was already full. However, I wanted to give something back to the women who continuously give so generously of themselves to the Church. Thus, I squeezed this additional commitment into my calendar. Today began well before 8:00 A.M. and did not finish until nearly 10:00 P.M. I am exhausted, but rejuvenated and gratified. This day has been a tremendous blessing to me.
First of all, I received much more than I gave today. Being surrounded by more than 100 faith-filled women was inspiring in and of itself. I don't know if I have ever been surrounded by such a multitude of generous hearts together in one room. The Church of Wyoming is blessed beyond measure to have these faithful souls serving with loving hearts and gentle hands.
Secondly, I shared the speaking duties with our keynote presenter, Susan Conroy. She has a fabulous life story. I don't think there was a person in the room not touched significantly by her message. More than once people were wiping the tears from their eyes. Susan's message is one of hope, joy, and love. If you have never seen her on EWTN, I would suggest that you pull up some of her video clips on the internet. She has also authored numerous books. Do yourself a favor and pick one up. You will not be disappointed. If you ever get the opportunity to hear her speak in person, jump at the chance. Susan will touch your heart with God's love.
The convention will wrap up on Tuesday and I will be headed to my next commitment in Laramie, Wyoming. The clergy and lay leadership of the Diocese of Cheyenne gather each September for an Institute. In my role as Director of Pastoral Ministries I have a responsibility for organizing much of the Institute. Thankfully, I have some awesome people in the Chancery Office lending me some very helpful hands. I could be with the WCCW today and still rest assured that the final details of the September Institute were being taken care of by others.
On Tuesday afternoon I will be heading to the airport to pick up our keynote speaker for Tuesday evening. We are fortunate to have Cardinal Edwin O'Brien addressing our group at the banquet on Tuesday evening. He will also be the homilist at our Eucharistic Liturgy on Wednesday evening. Roy Petitfils and Fr. Kevin Barrett will be the other contributing speakers. Of course, Bishop Paul Etienne will be present for these days and will be the homilist at our Thursday morning Eucharistic Liturgy.
Once the Institute is over on Thursday afternoon, I will unpack my suitcase and repack it immediately. A trip to Denver International Airport on Thursday evening will get me in the air and on my way to St. Louis. Arriving at close to midnight, I will try to grab a few hours of restful sleep before driving from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau in the early afternoon on Friday. I then have the privilege of leading the Deacon and Spouse Retreat for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri from Friday through Sunday. That is going to be a wonderful gathering as well. I am grateful for the invitation to be the retreat leader for these ministers in southern Missouri.
It has been a great week already and it has only just begun. My life is blessed!