Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Third Day - Doing the Details

Practically all day today was spent on the computer in a little room off the library, a place where both the communications people and myself are surrounded by a jungle of wires and various forms of technology. The windows are covered with metal shades, so we don't even see when it's turning dark outside. The sole indication of time is the quarterly chime of the bells in the huge clock tower that's part of the property.

It's taken most of the day to put together the program for the Opening Mass. Not only do all of the readings, titles, instructions, etc. have to be in three languages, but I also have to make sure that the musical settings are singable, interesting, and sensitive to the theme and to the people who will be there. As usual, a project like that takes at least twice as long as one's most pessimistic estimate.

I also had several conversations with Brothers in the house about the "tent" theme. Some had the impression that we were going to put up a full tent inside of the main chapel; that would be just too daring. I assured people that we would give the "idea" of a tent, and environmental indications of a tent-like atmosphere. But we would not drape everything in cloth and obscure the relics of the Founder, the Blessed Sacrament, and so on. Actually, the questions have helped to clarify what we could do in that chapel, and tommorow we'll begin doing it.

Today was the 72nd birthday of Br. Marcellino, who is the go-to-guy in the house. He's a bundle of energy and very helpful - although he only speaks Italian. The Brothers in the dining room were quite enthusiastic with their singing of "Happy Birthday" in Italian for him; while he looked like he'd rather be somewhere else. Marcellino is the short Brother in the middle of the picture. For many years, Marcellino was the head of our school in Castle Gandolfo. Roch told me that when he goes there, he gets mobbed in the streets by folks who come to greet him. There's a picture in his office of him being hugged by JPII.

The Brothers are starting to arrive in larger groups now. Br. Michael Avila, who is working as a translator, is here already here and busy translating documents from Spanish to English. He works at Saint Mary's College in Moraga during the year, and I don't know if he thinks of this gig as a break or as the honoring of a request. Like me, he will be working pretty much all of the time. But he has a positive attitude and plugs on.

Today the Italians celebrated the day that the Americans came into Rome during WWII, and so it was a holiday - nobody went to work. One Brother said that he thought it was curious that they would celebrate being invaded by their "enemy" during the war. But as people keep saying: "This is Rome."

This afternoon I took a two-hour nap that was an hour too long; right now (22:40) I'm wide awake. But I'll turn in and try to get into the rhythm of this part of the world.