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Posted: November 20

Preparations for the General Congregation

(Rome) The Coetus Praevius is back in town. And that is not so bad, since the name just refers to the planning group for the general congregation. They spent three weeks here last March and now are back to pull the final details together for the congregation which begins just six weeks from now. It makes me nervous just writing that number down—six weeks—because there is still so much to finish.

My responsibilities for communication technology within the Curia now include doing things for the congregation. So yesterday morning I met the technician from the company that is renting us the wireless voting machines; he explained how the software works and what we can do with it. Each delegate will have his own unit, which looks like an over-sized cell phone with just a big pad of number keys. We won’t use that to vote for the superior general; tradition and Jesuit law mandate that the vote for the superior will be done by hand with each delegate writing down his choice on paper. Regular business will use the electronic system, however, and it should speed up the work of the congregation a lot. Other activities are more mundane, like getting new computers for the delegates to use in between sessions and figuring out how the delegates will log on to the local networks at the Jesuit houses in Rome where they will be staying.

Tomorrow I will meet with the Coetus Praevius to review what we have done so far and what we are planning to do. Thursday, my assistant and I will visit the Jesuit houses in Rome to see how we need to configure the laptops that the delegates are using so they can connect to the internet from the communities where they will be staying. Little details, but on January 5 and 6 we will have 225 Jesuits showing up in Rome and they will expect everything to be ready. And it will be, “the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” (as Tennessee Ernie Ford used to say at the end of his television show.)

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