It was an amazing feeling to return to the Arizona Marian Conference as I had another chance to sell copies of my book, I Am His Mother, to so many people who attended this year. Getting there was a challenge in itself because I had to see if there would be space for me after reaching out to the event planners at least a month after the vendor due date. I won't get into the reasons for this but some other plans fell through and the way it happened wasn't very pleasing to say the least.
The first day of the conference was Friday August 23 and it concluded on Sunday August 25. Unlike two years ago when I took the day off from work and drove to the Phoenix area much earlier in the day I decided to go to work that day and am gad to say that I had a great day with my students. Then I left from the east side of Tucson and made the drive first to my hotel in Tempe. To my surprise I had no traffic to deal with so I didn't need much time to gather wind down before heading over to the site of the conference.
I was excited when I arrived to the Double Tree Resort in Scottsdale because it gave me a chance to put on my writer's hat for the weekend. First, it was great to see some familiar faces of the amazing people I met two years ago when I first attended the conference. They had all expressed how happy they were to see me again since I wasn't able to attend last year for personal reasons. Then I met some new people who were just as amazing so I was more than excited to spend the weekend in the presence of this amazing community. So, I set up my table with copies of my book as well as some signs that both summarized my book while also giving them a little bit of information on my professional background.
To my surprise many people wanted to know more about me. They asked a lot about what I did for a living along with other things I did besides write books. That led me to share how I give talks on the Theology of the Body and how I have now created an institute with Nurse Practitioner Angelica Delallana called Humana Corpus Dignitate. Many showed a genuine interest in that so I gave them some information on what we do in the event that they want to bring us in for a presentation.
I was also moved by people who attended the conference two years ago who had purchased my book who took the time to come see me at my table in order to express their love for my book. In one case, a sweet older woman told another woman who was looking at my book that she should buy it because it taught her so much more about Our Blessed Mother. The curious woman said that was all she needed to hear so she went ahead and bought a copy for herself. Just...WOW!!!
The biggest surprise to me was the way people reacted to my summation of I Am His Mother. Not only did they see the idea as both unique and interesting but many of them encouraged me to see if I could do a reading and/or a presentation on my book for a future conference. I must admit that such an idea was most intriguing to me so I definitely have plans to speak to the event planners about this once they decompress from the conclusion of this year's conference. Little do they know that I already an idea in my head that I already started to put in outline form.
On a personal note, I always love to attend such events because I am a practicing Catholic and it's great to be in a setting different than my day job as a high school theology teacher. Don't get me wrong; I love my job and I was eager to get home to both see my family and to be back at work with my students and colleagues. But, this man needs to have his faith fed as well. That is why I am so grateful for the people I got to spend time with on this amazing weekend. To see people on fire for their faith, other vendors who shared their products & ministries with me, stories other people shared with me as well as the joy on the faces of many who attended as they were just as happy to be there as me.
On top of that I made some business connections both for my book as well as my speaking project. I was greatly encouraged when a California based church gift shop manager said that he wanted to stock my book after giving it a look. I also gave a copy to the contact person at Relevant Radio, which is a station that streams all over the country as they expressed interest in having me do an on air interview about the book . Aside from that, I had the chance to meet people from various parishes and ministries who expressed interest in bringing me in to share the teachings of the Theology of the Body.
One image that stuck with me was when the great theologian and author Edward Sri came out among the vendors following one of his talks to sign and sell copies of his books. He was set up across the room from me so to be at my table talking to people and selling copies of my book while watching him do the same...well, it was certainly a great feeling just to be there.
At the end of the conference I was filled with joy, tired, excited, yet aware of all of the work that I needed to do in order to follow through on the connections I made while keeping the momentum going. Most importantly, I was both blessed and encouraged by everyone that I encountered, which is why I am already looking forward to seeing how much I can accomplish with this part of my life before the start of the 2020 Arizona Marian Conference.
Carlos Arthur Solorzano
BA & MA in Religious Studies from Cal State Long Beach
Certified Through the Theology of the Body Institute
Theology Teacher at St. Augustine Catholic High School
Co-founder of Humana Corpus Dignitate