A Catholic men’s spirituality conference today (Saturday, March 3) brings some thoughtful, inspirational speakers to the Philadelphia region. It surely doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with the arrest of an Archdiocese priest on Friday for soliciting a prostitute, but since the two press releases from the Archdiocese public relations staff were consecutive in my e-mail inbox, it would take a bigger writer than me not to mention the juxtaposition.
First, the good stuff: Archbishop Ryan High School, at 11201 Academy Road in Philadelphia, is hosting a Fourth Annual Men’s Spirituality Conference today from 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The “day of prayer and fellowship” features some out-of-town guests, and perhaps the two most interesting are Immaculée Ilibagiza, an author and motivational speaker who survived the Rwandan genocide; and Tony Melendez, Nicaraguan composer and musician born without arms who performed concerts for Pope John Paul II.
For those who can’t make this morning’s conference but are interested in seeing these two speakers, Ilibagiza will also be speaking at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Saturday, March 3) at Saint Mary Magdalen Parish in Media, PA; while Melendez will play a concert tomorrow evening (Sunday, March 4) from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Archbishop Ryan High School.
Now for the juxtaposition: The e-mail from the Archdiocese public relations staff telling me about the conference was preceded on Friday with a note about the arrest of a Father Patrick McCormick, who was charged with patronizing a prostitute late Thursday night. McCormick is the parochial vicar of St. Timothy Parish in Mayfair. The two items have nothing to do with each other, but for the timing of the e-mails. But of such pairings — Catholic men’s spirituality and late-night soliciting of prostitutes by priests — low comedy is made.