I had a slow start to Day 2 in Houston as I slept until mid-morning. I was up the night before until 3am (which was only 1am on my PST body clock) but I sure felt it in the morning. Once I mustered enough energy to get up and shower, I took a walk around downtown Houston before returning to the hotel for lunch.
My lunch was with Randy from the Office of Youth Ministry and Fr. Tony Ricard of New Orleans. When I first saw Fr. Tony today he gave me a puzzled look and stammered: “Uh…Clay…from…uh…Canada…right?”
I wasn’t sure if he was pulling my leg or not so I started to explain that we had met many times before.
He quickly cut me off saying “Of course I know who you are!” and he gave me a huge hug to the laughter of those in the room.
I explained to everyone that Fr. Tony was our keynote speaker in Vancouver for Youth Day 2004, and together with Matt Maher helped turn the fortunes of that event around after a couple of lean years.
Fr. Tony proclaimed: “Yeah, in my year they doubled their attendance…to 12 people!” The room burst into more laughter.
And so it went for the next hour over lunch: he had Randy and me in stitches the entire time with his stories about teaching, traveling, and speaking. We were also able to discuss sports, ministry and his memorable visit to Vancouver seven years ago.
I spent the afternoon reviewing my talks and checking out the sights and sounds of AYC as it was getting going. I also sat in on one of the rehearsals and had a quick catch up with my buddy Brian, who is serving as one of the emcees for the event.
Dinner was with Randy, Fr. Tony, and Cooper Ray (another one of the keynote speakers). The lunch-time hilarity carried over to dinner and afterwards Cooper and I had a great chat about ministry, speaking engagements and family life.
I went to the opening session of AYC. There was a special energy in the room as it seemed that the vast majority of the 2,100 attendees were truly happy to be there. Fr. Tony did his thing as only Fr. Tony can do, and he had the audience captivated for entire time.
After the session, I was able to see and speak to my family on FaceTime (I can’t believe I waited so long before getting my iPhone…haha) where I learned the news that all 3 kids had passed their swimming lessons. Yippee!
I wound up the night visiting with Liz and her crew from Vietnamese Martyrs Parish. I had a great time meeting all of the adults and teens from her parish and sharing stories of how Liz and I met (apparently I name-dropped Matt Maher within 2 minutes of meeting her back in June 2008…haha). It was a wonderful way to wrap up the day, even if the security guard came to the room and told us to keep it down at 11:55pm (curfew was at midnite).
On my way down to my room, I shared the elevator with the same security guard.
“Gonna be a long night, huh?” I asked.
The look on his face said it all as he nodded sheepishly.
I will spend some time practicing my talks and in prayer tonight before I go to bed. I will be delivering a workshop at 11am and then my keynote at 5pm.
Dear Lord, I pray that you will use me as Your instrument and witness of Your abundant love. Amen.