Tom's communication blog
current blog | Fr. Tom Rochford SJ: bio | previous entries | contact him | jescom

Posted: January 4

Three days to go

(General Congregation) It’s the end of the week and we are actually on schedule, with a few minor exceptions. The buzz level is starting to rise around the halls, though, as delegates to the congregation begin arriving. Today I saw John Mace and John McGarry. Mace is now the superior in East Timor; we used to run into each other whenever I was in Manila for a visit or a meeting. He was the superior of the community for young Jesuit students. McGarry is the California province provincial. We did a videotape for him when he came to “new provincial school” here in Rome a few years ago. Many friends will be here, so right now I want to sit and talk, to catch up on how things have changed since I last visited them.

This isn’t the time for just sitting and chilling with friends, however, with only a few days before the formal opening of the congregation at Monday’s Mass at the Gesù Church. Tomorrow morning we have a final run-through of the new digital voting system that we are using for the first time. We are renting it from the company that takes care of the Vatican’s big meetings. Since we only have a general congregation at broad intervals, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a sophisticated system that would certainly be outmoded by the time of the next congregation. I spent much of the afternoon learning how to control the votes. (Remember, it is “F4” to open the voting and “F9” to close it, and keep your finger away from the Cancel button; but don’t be nervous—there are only 226 of the smartest guys in the world watching to see what the result will be. Gulp.)

I took Fr. Don Doll shopping this morning. He is a terrific photographer who teaches at Omaha’s Creighton University and has done stories for National Geographic and other top publications. We needed to get a backdrop for the portrait he will take of the new superior general, whoever he will be. Don is a lot of fun, and I told him I appreciated his presence because he has so many technical gadgets that he makes me look like someone on a technological diet. I appreciate that and am glad to be working with him. We will be putting up lots of images from Monday’s Mass and the other events as the congregation starts to unroll. The pressure is building, but it is also exciting.

back to previous entries