The calendar turns into 2008, and with it another year of CM Gatherings is at hand. As we look at the first part of the year, four events are on tap that are set to usher in a year that will surely match the success of 2007 throughout Catholic Match Nation:
There’s been a gathering in the Phillippines. Now it’s time to cross the pond on the other side, and go to England. Officially, it’s the first time an event from the UK has been on the calendar, but it’s far from the first time that members have gotten together across the Atlantic. Mary Ann-13412, the organizer of this year’s festivities, was part of a group of fifteen people that gathered together in 2005 for Mass, a double-decker tour throughout the city and a pub lunch. This was followed up by an event in Manchester that coincided with a wedding of CM members. This event included a meetup in Liverpool to tour the cathedral and to check out the Beatles museum.
That brings us to 2008 and the biggest gala yet. Several different meeting spots have been chosen, and may include Mass at historic Winchester Cathedral and a visit to the O2 Convention Centre. If you’re in the UK and been hoping for an event to finally come to you, here’s your chance. And if you’ve wanted to visit England, why not now? You can meet new friends and maybe even make a romantic connection in America’s original mother country.
Last year, Mary Kathry-177850 put the city of St. Louis on the CM Gatherings map with a St. Patrick’s Day event. A member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and rich in Irish heritage, Mary Kathryn is building on last year’s success with a follow-up event this March. Attendees will get to see the original St. Patrick’s Day parade in St. Louis, marching through the old neighborhood of Dogtown. And the city known as the Gateway to the west offers so much more to visitors and locals alike. From the famed Arch to one of the nation’s oldest breweries in Anheiser-Busch, St. Louis has plenty to keep you busy. And there’s no better time to experience it then when you’re wearing the green with your fellow CM members.
For the first time, the great city of New Orleans is on the Catholic Match docket! On the first weekend of April, CM members will flock to this historic town on the Bayou offering a unique combination of Southern hospitality and Old World charm. Hope-83442, a veteran of several other CM Gatherings, is drawing on her experience to put together an outstanding weekend for her fellow members. Following the model used successfully in Chicago’s Blowout Bash, Hope will gather everyone together on Friday night for a meet-n-greet at a restaurant in the French Quarter, followed by an evening stroll and capping it off with drinks some good ‘ol N’awlins Jazz!
The following day, everyone can arrive at Café du Monde for morning coffee, followed by a tour of the French Market, Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral and an authentic New Orleans-style lunch overlooking the Mississippi River. Members will be able to break off on their own for Saturday, and enjoy other tourist attractions including a paddlewheel boat ride on the River. After Saturday night dinner together, everyone will congregate for 11 AM Mass the following day followed by brunch.
CM New Orleans is shaping up as one of the big events on the entire 2008 calendar. It’s an excellent chance for members to experience the rich heritage of one America’s great cities, listen to some jazz and meet new people all in one fell swoop.
What better way to end the beginning of 2008 than to see the Vicar of Christ himself? Benedict XVI begins his apostolic journey to Washington D.C. on April 15. A papal visit that includes a public Mass held in Nationals Stadium, a state visit to the White House and another Mass at the renowned Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, will also have CMers in attendance. Getting to see the pope won’t be easy, but Washington D.C. is a great place to be while meeting new people, touring the nation’s capital and trying to catch a piece of the papal action. The get-together for the coming of the Holy Father is another stop on a regular series of events that have been held in the D.C. area, including the recently-concluded Christmas In The Capitol. If you’re in the area, it’s a great chance to become a part of this rapidly developing Catholic social network. And even if you’re not from the area, it’s always nice to have friends to visit when you travel.
All this is just the beginning. One can peer around the corner of the calendar and see activities coming up in Cleveland and even north of the border. But from London to D.C with stops in St. Louis and New Orleans in between, a great opening act is in place. How great? Even the pope himself can’t stay away.
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