By MELINDA PALLONE
Downtown Des Moines, Iowa was bustling the weekend of Sept. 29-30.
An estimated 7,400 adults and youth from nine states were attending the biannual Christ Our Life regional conference at Wells Fargo Arena, which took on a new feeling with this faith-filled event.
Resulting from a grassroots effort in 2008, this year’s conference sought to inspire souls to seek eternal life through presenting the glory of Christ to all in attendance.
With doors opening at 7 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, there was something to be found for everyone. From praise music to well-known Catholic speakers, Mass times to reconciliation, exhibitors to informational booths, this event kept souls engaged and spirits on fire for the power of Christ.
Saturday began with the recitation of the rosary, followed by the celebration of Mass with Bishop Robert Barron as homilist. Approximately two dozen priests administered the sacrament and blessings in both English and Spanish.
Following Mass, inspirational talks were offered from Bishop Richard Pates, Bishop Barron, Matt Fradd, Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow, Jimmy Belabre, Renee Bondi, Steve Ray, and Father Leon Pereira. A sample of topics included the importance of angels, understanding eternal life through Jesus, messages of prayer and fasting from the Blessed Mother.
Attendees were able to receive the sacrament of reconciliation in designated areas both days. In the five and a half hours this sacrament was offered on Saturday, an estimated 1,300 confessions were heard by 23 priests, including Father Shane Deman, director of vocations for the Diocese of Sioux City.
Following early-morning Sunday breakout sessions, attendees recited the rosary with the Knights of Columbus and were greeted with a welcome from John Leonetti of Iowa Catholic Radio. Cardinal Thomas Collins, Father Leon Pereira, and Steve Ray provided presentations. Cardinal Collins celebrated Mass and served as homilist.
The next Christ Our Life conference will be Sept. 26-27, 2020, at Wells Fargo Arena. Speakers will be Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Philippines, Scott Hahn, Sister Miriam James Heidland, Father Don Calloway and Mirjana Soldo, along with returning guests Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, musician Steve Angrisano and radio host Jon Leonetti.