People are usually very surprised that I--57 years old, a Jesuit for 38 years and a priest for 26--have never been to Rome. It's the truth. I've been to South Korea, Guatemala and Mexico, the Philippines, Chile, the Holy Land, Spain and Portugal, and, of course Canada, but I've never been to Rome. Next week that will change. I leave tomorrow and arrive in Rome on Saturday for a week of meetings about the Apostleship of Prayer.
Fr. Claudio Barriga, S.J. is the Director General's Delegate for the Apostleship of Prayer and the Eucharistic Youth Movement. He has formed a group that he calls his International Counselors and we will meet next week with him as well as the Director General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, the General Superior of the Jesuits. I'm arriving a bit early in order to get over jet-lag and to see some of Rome. I'm told that the Jesuit community where I'll be staying has computers with internet access for visitors and so I'm hoping to post reports during my week in Rome.
The other Counselors are: Fr. Juan Antonio Medina, S.J., the National Secretary of Uruguay and the Coordinator of the Latin American Apostleship of Prayer; Fr. Fidelis Jayabalan, S.J., the National Secretary of India; Fr. Frederic Fornos, S.J., the National Secretary of France; and Fr. Rigobert Kyungu, S.J., the National Secretary of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Coordinator of the African Apostleship of Prayer. It is a privilege for me, as the National Director or Secretary of the U.S. Apostleship of Prayer to be a part of this group and its discussions.
We begin on Tuesday and go through Saturday. The proposed schedule is as follows:
8:30 AM Work Session
12:15 PM Prayer
12:45 PM Break
1:00 PM Lunch
3:00 PM Work Session
5:45 PM Break
6:00 PM Prayer
6:30 PM Mass
7: 15 PM Supper
8:30 PM Informal Sharing
Fr. Barriga's "General Objective" for us is to "discuss ways that the Apostleship of Prayer can be renewed." I'm eager to talk about how I am seeing such a renewal in the U.S., primarily as a result of old media (radio) and new media (internet, blogs).
I'm looking forward to these meetings, to seeing Rome, and to tasting a lot of what I can honestly say is my favorite food--Italian pasta.