I sure didn't expect to, but we spent all day at the Archdiocesan Festival of Faith, and it was a great experience. Above all, it was helpful to Sr. Elide, visiting from our Latin American "mission bureau" in Bogota, to see a local Church in the US where the Catholics are 45% Hispanic. She attended some of the talks and workshops, chatted up a storm with any number of people, and even met the Cardinal! (Yesterday we got word that the Cardinal would be unable to stop by our booth for a book signing, but this afternoon his secretary shepherded the shepherd to our booth. Quick-thinking Juan grabbed a draped table from an already-emptied spot and set the Cardinal up, while the Catholic paparazzi surrounded him with camera phones. (Me, too.) A lined formed with some people grasping "The Difference God Makes" in their hands (plus others who just wanted to shake hands with the Cardinal or kiss the ring that represents his marriage to the local Church), and the Cardinal got to work, giving all his attention to whomever was before him at the time, like a real Shepherd who knows his sheep.
I called Sr. Lusia back at the book center to see if she wanted me to ask the Cardinal to sign a few extra books for our display. "Ask him to do thirty," she said. "Thirty?" I repeated. That's right. When I broached the idea to the Cardinal and told him the...approximate number, he looked at me and said, "You're kidding." But he signed them all. And as he said good-bye, I thanked him again for the extra work. "You're going to pay for that!" he said. (I wonder what he has up his red sleeve?)
Alicia Torres was at the Respect Life Office booth in her Franciscan brown. Her "nun run" helped diminish her school debt considerably, but she still, well, has a good ways to run before she's in the clear.
Sr. Helena did a great job of arranging a huge amount of books into a mere two booth space. Sr Barbara spent and overspent herself helping people in English and Spanish, with the help of Juan and several volunteers (God bless them!). (That's Megan, getting a book signed. She helped out all weekend!)