On Friday, there was a little bit of excitement in the air, mixed with a little bit of a lull. It was our last day in Alabama, thus everyone was scurrying to get packed up and head on their respective paths back home. Breakfast was a shell of the past two days: fruit, grits, and a parfait. After breakfast, there were two more morning sessions. Richard Reyna of the GRN San Antonio stations led one and did a great job! Once the sessions were finished, I moved my belongings into David’s room, as we didn’t fly out until early Saturday morning. Everyone else, however loaded their things into the rental car before we boarded the bus for one final excursion.
We headed to Vulcan Park. There a 56 ft. statue of the Roman god, Vulcan, overlooks the city of Birmingham. The statue of the god of the fire and forge is the largest cast iron statue in the world. It pays homage to the city’s roots in the iron and steel industry. We were greeted with a seafood lunch that included the BEST shrimp and cheese grits I’ve ever had. For those in the D.C. area, you’ll be well aware of Eastern Market and their weekend vendors. One of which sells shrimp and grits. While they’re good, they don’t even begin to compare to the cheesy goodness that was Birmingham’s shrimp and grits. (Sorry, I’m a little bit of a foodie.)
After lunch we had the remaining hour to tour the Vulcan statue, as well as the museum that held Birmingham’s history. The view from atop the observation deck on the statue was beautiful. In one direction, you could see the entire city of Birmingham. On the other side, you saw beautiful mountains and country. However, being that there was only a railing and a steel-grated floor holding me up, I decided that 5-7 minutes was long enough. After picking up a few souvenirs at the gift shop, everyone boarded the bus for a final time to head back to the hotel.
Since we had a couple hours before the rest of our GRN family had to catch their flights, we took one more trip to the EWTN studios. There, we got a behind the scenes tour. We were able to view the EWTN Chapel where the Daily Mass takes place. While there, we were lucky enough to be there just in time for the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Once the tour of the EWTN campus concluded, David and I said our goodbyes to Richard, Tim, Kent and Len.
For me, this was my first professional conference of any kind. I was excited, yet scared. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, or how I would be received by my co-workers. Yet, I found out very quickly, that here at GRN we truly are a family working for such a great Apostolate. Despite only being there for a couple of days, the amount of laughs and stories, workshops and testimonies, made me realize that this collection of Catholics, answering God’s calling, is what will allow Catholic radio, especially here at the Guadalupe Radio Network, to continue to grow and succeed while providing a faithful voice for Catholics on the airwaves.
The Vulcan Statue
Downtown Birmingham from Vulcan Park
View from the observation deck
Inside the museum
Satellites at EWTN