You never know who – or what – you might find at one of our conferences.
This is a true story. And a public service announcement. Because we care about you.
This past weekend at our conference, staff members and volunteers discovered a family of skunks hanging out near one of the flowerbeds outside of the “Q”. They were seen meandering outside of the arena both nights – during times of worship. Perhaps they heard us singing, and just wanted to be closer to God. After all, Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath give praise to the Lord.”
The skunk family seems to be very accustomed to people, and there were no negative interactions this past weekend. And we would like to keep it that way. So, if you will be at our conference this coming weekend, we have some advice for you.
According to the Humane Society, in the article “What to Do About Skunks“, if you see one of these critters (at our conference or anywhere else) there are two things you should know. First of all, know that skunks are generally easy-going and they will not intentionally bother people; in fact, skunks may benefit humans by eating many insects and rodents that many regard as pests. Secondly, if you see one, you should move away slowly and quietly.
Since we are attending a spiritual retreat, I would like to share a couple more reflections with you, which I hope will be helpful.
1) You are not St. Francis. Though legend has it that he could communicate with animals, that may not be your spiritual gift. Read 1 Corinthians 12, which reminds us that – although we possess the same Spirit – not everyone has the same gifts. So, if you see our striped friends this weekend, don’t try to talk to them. And definitely don’t ask the skunks to kneel down and pray, because if they think you said, “let’s kneel down and spray,” then there could be trouble.
2) If you see the skunks, don’t take pictures. The person who took the picture for this blog post probably shouldn’t have – and, thankfully, didn’t get sprayed. Taking pictures – especially with a flash – could frighten these critters. And our social media team has already decided that any #steubystlselfie featuring a live skunk will not – we repeat, will not – be put on the big screen. So, don’t even think about it. Amen?
3) Always think about potential consequences of your actions. Skunk scent could ruin your experience – and the experience of many others – this weekend. We don’t want this conference to stink for anyone. After all, every Catholic appreciates a pew – just not the stinky kind!