What a surprise when we got off the plane in PortlandÂ OregonÂ and were met by a wonderfulÂ group of folks wearing â€œJerusalem Jonesâ€ hats and travel vests. The conference was sponsored by Tom and Kathy Call (two people on the left in the picture) and the group of ladies that make upÂ the OFP Group (Our Father’s Plan Bible Study Group). TheyÂ sponsored the Portland Catholic Conference andÂ invited me to speak this weekend. Four of the ladies were named â€œKathyâ€ or â€œCathyâ€ –Â and what a greatÂ bunch of Kathy’s (and Doris’s and Sally’s) it was!
And did they ever treat us well!Â We had a marvelous dinner (I ate Elk, medium rare), they gave us a Pendelton blanket, gifts for our kids, and other kindnesses. They were very well organized and should be proud of the conference — a great effort for their first time! We saw the end of the Oregon Trail. We saw Mount St. Helen’s and MountÂ Hood as our plane cleared the clouds on our way home.
Fr. Tim Mockaitis, the priestÂ at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church (standing next to me in the group picture above), where the conference was held, was aÂ fun, faithful, and interesting priest. We really enjoyed his company, his reverent MassÂ and his enthusiastic love for the Church. He was the priest that brought Carl Olsen and his wife into the Church and in 1996 in Eugene Oregon. HeÂ made headline news when he was hearing confessions in an Oregon prison and law officials secretly taped the confession. It is the only time in American history that such a thing has been done and he and the Church fought teh injustice and won in court (thanks to Cardinal George). Fr. Tim has a real story to tell and we were fascinated as he told us the details!
One last thing:Â these ladies have a very successful Bible Study in Portland and theyÂ even wrote their own BibleÂ Study Guide â€œOur Father’s Planâ€œ Their work is so well done that it was published by Ignatius Press. Before I even knew that it was THEM that had writtenÂ this impressive study we had added their Study Guide to our video/DVD â€œPaul, Contending for the Faithâ€ as a highly recommended source for further study. AND, they used the royalties earned their book to pay for the Portland Catholic Conference. And we never found out until well after we accepted their invitation to speak in Portland Oregon. They have an amazing project — an amazing Bible Study — an amazing group of women. The Pope would be proud of these remarkable ladies because they are the living embodiment of the his call tothe laity to usher in the New Evangelism.
My hat is off to these on-fire Catholics in Portland (no pun intended!)