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Nothing is harder to live up then a high amount of advance
publicity. How many times have you left a movie theatre thinking “That
wasn’t as good as I thought it would be?” Or how many times has the
Super Bowl failed to live up to the endless buildup prior to the game?
That was the challenge faced in CM Chicago. With one of the most hyped
events of the CM calendar set for the first weekend of August, the
organizers faced the challenge of delivering—and as members reported in
from the Windy City, it was quickly apparent they had not only met expectations, but exceeded them in spades.

With cameras flashing at
the Friday meet-and-greet, the attendees began to roll in. And activity
was waiting for them immediately, as they boarded a pair of chartered
trolleys for a tour of the city. The trolley rides featured one of the
members who came in all the way from Hawaii dancing in the aisles, and
being taught the “Electric Slide” by one of the locals.

Members
did more touring of the historic city the following day. Before the
night was over, they’d had dinner at Dave & Buster’s and went for a
ride on Chicago’s “Sea Dog”, a journey that produced some excellent
photos of the city’s majestic skyline. At Mass the following day, the
priest even recognized their collective presence in his homily.

By
Sunday night and into the next week the message forums were teeming
with photo albums from members who generously shared their memories of
the trip. CM Chicago was the venue were many who had previously only
known each other through private correspondence and the message forums
were finally able to see each other face-to-face. “There were immediate
bonds made amongst our CM family”, one member said afterward. “Our Lord
brought us all together…Loving Thy Neighbor sure wasn’t hard to do that
weekend.”

Members were especially indebted to Tracy-57589, who
led up the event for the second straight year and delivered a weekend
to remember for all who came. Far from falling short of expectations,
she actually raised the bar. The words of one attendee who traveled all
the way from Texas spoke volumes—

“…Tracy's
got a heart of gold, in addition to her wicked sense of humor and a
gift of gab. Maybe I shouldn't say this, but while I'm confident that
those of you who are planning future events will do a bang up job,
Tracy's set the bar pretty high for you to follow!”


And
future events weren’t long in coming. A trademark of the different CM
gatherings thus far has been the ability to generate ‘spin-off’ events,
by attendees who want to showcase their own backyard for Catholic Match
Nation. CM Chicago has proven to be no different. Of all the great
cities that have hosted gatherings thus far, there was a notable
absence—the great state of Florida. But it is absent no longer. One of
the many happy attendees in Chicago was Sue-82886, a resident of St.
Petersburg. Within days of returning home, she was leading up the
effort to organize CM Florida. It is scheduled for this coming
February, an ideal time for many of her northern brethren to head south
for some sunshine.

Whenever the membership comes out from behind
the computer monitors and into the real world, it represents new
opportunities for grace and fellowship. Tracy’s work in Chicago helped
unlock that. And Sue’s gracious volunteer efforts in the Sunshine State
ensure it will thunder forward. Mark your calendars for February. The
track record shows your expectations will be met.

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