I touched down to beautiful weather in San Diego, and a quick shuttle ride later I was at the conference! Things were moved to a new hotel this year and wow, what an upgrade… my room is beautiful with a view of the marina and the layout of the conference is dramatically improved over last year.
They had registration tables which took mere seconds to get me signed in. They gave away a convention bag with a Fathers of the Church calendar, Catholic Answers magnet, and a nicely produced program. I also noticed that there were signs to a Sales Room, which opened up alongside the main ballroom that would be hosting the speakers.
Inside, there were six sprawling tables loaded with Catholic Answers materials with most specially discounted for the event. Ringed around this were tables from other vendors, with a particularly interesting booth with a live demo of Verbum Bible Software.
After putting my credit card through some exercise, it was time for the Welcome Reception on the marina-facing lawn. What a gorgeous setting! It was a great mixer, with finger food and a number of the Catholic Answers speakers and staff present. I struck up some conversations with several other convention-goers, and was lucky to meet and greet Trent Horn, Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, and Father Vincent Serpa.
Soon, it was time for the opening of the convention. After a few words from Karl Keating and Christopher Check, Hector Molina took the stage and delivered a high-octane talk entitled “Evangelization: Not Just For Protestants Anymore”. It focused on our necessary work as Catholics to spread the Good News and many of the common objections that keep people from going boldly forth to speak with others about the faith. I had not been exposed to Hector’s talks before, and was impressed by his enthusiasm and high energy delivery. It was a great way to start the conference… If this set the tone for the weekend it is going to be fantastic!