Saturday, April 28, 2007

Last Day to Prepare

My, how fast a week flies by. Now that it's the day before the rest of the 112 Chapter Delegates arrive, things are heating up. Today, there wasn't much of a chance to get any siesta in; I was lucky to be able to sit down to one of the meals. This morning I met with Br. Paulo Petry from Brazil and Br. Ferdinand from India in order to fill them in about what has been done so far. Both of them are part of the liturgy team; the others show up tomorrow. Before I knew it, 90 minutes had gone by, with most of it spent explaining the set-up structure, the resources, the people involved, and so on.

The major resource books that I had put together and was being printed here in Rome arrived at the last minute on Friday afternoon, and so this morning we were able to look at them and begin putting "Leave in the Chapel" labels in. (We know the Brothers; they would be "borrowed" to their rooms before long, and probably still will be.) The books turned out pretty well, actually, and should prove to be a good resource for everyone.

Lots of running around chasing down details for the next couple of hours, with occasional stops in the chapel to see how Roch and Massimo were doing on the infamous "tent" effect. In the midst of this, the school next door had a confirmation going on in the middle of the afternoon, with loud music, hundreds of kids and parents, and various Brothers from the school running around keeping it all organized. The bright side was that they left behind great flower arrangements in the sanctuary area.

At 15:00 there was a meeting of all those involved with Liturgy in the Audiovisual Room (which we have been assigned for our use) and the Preparatory Commission. We spent over an hour going over various things regarding the liturgies and worked out questions that had come up in our preparations. Br. Armin brought out the crafted "staff" for the Chapter, which he had made in the Philippines. It will be used throughout the coming days as evocative of the "Exodus" theme (you know, the tent and all that). The program for the Opening Ceremony and the Opening Liturgy were both endorsed. The only change was a request to have three programs in the three languages instead of trying to do everything on one program. It was a good suggestion, but it did mean that I knew where I would be spending my time for the next 7 hours (I just finished the job). But everything looks good and we're ready to move forward.

Tomorrow, we will have an evening Mass for the Brothers in the JP II room (see picture) where the community celbrates its daily morning Mass. Some of us were worried about the number of Brothers who will show up - and I still am a bit concerned - so we asked if the community would have its regular Sunday Mass as well in the morning, and that change was made. This meant that the Brothers currently here could attend that Mass and less people would be there in the evening. The second effect is that now I've got another Mass to organize, in Italian, for tomorrow evening. But there's lots of help and we should be okay. It's not clear on some of the passed-out information that this is an "accommodation" Mass for those traveling on Sunday. Some told me that they thought that it was the Opening Mass for the Chapter. If more people think that way, we'll be swamped. Oh well, one day at a time.

Oh yes, Br. Lorenzo also told me today that the Superior would like me to prepare a 25-minute prayer service for Friday morning, featuring the Regions of the Institute, with perhaps some video or pictures. With everything else happening between now and then, along with this request, it'll be a wonder if I get any sleep at all. Let's just hope that these last-minute requests won't become a habit.