Not much news there! I already knew
- that it was limited to bloggers who are on the list, and
- that I should bring ID to verify my identity.
- that it was free,
- that there is the possibility of a live-feed,
- that the Vatican would not cover travel or lodging costs, and
- that translation service would be available in English, Italian, Spanish and French.
I assumed (rightly) that wireless access would be available.
What is new is the schedule. Here it is, from the PCCS website:
16.00 A Word of Welcome: His Eminence Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President, PCC
Panel I (speakers to be announced)
18.00 Panel II (speakers to be announced)
19.15 Conclusions: His Excellency Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President, PCSC
So…… There it is, folks! I just bought a plane ticket around the world for a conference which will last about four hours.
It’s not as extravagant an expenditure as it first appears, though. I will, after all, be in the company of great Catholic writers from around the world. I suppose they eat, just as I do, and we will continue the conversation over spaghetti carbonara and a good red wine.
I will be sharing an apartment with a couple of wonderful women. Our residence is right beside the Vatican Wall. On the night of the Beatification, I’ve been told, we’ll have an event on our rooftop—and the Vatican typically has fireworks over the dome of St. Peter’s to celebrate a beatification or canonization. What could be better than that!?
I will see some old and new friends and meet some Facebook friends face-to-face for the first time. I know that Teresa Tomeo (Catholic Connection), Steve and Janet Ray (catholic-convert.com), George Weigel (papal biographer), Liz Lev (Vatican art historian) will all be around town. One of the bloggers from Argentina has gotten in touch, and hopes that we may meet!
On May 3, if grace prevails, I’m hoping to have dinner with an old friend, Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P., and introduce him to some of the other Catholic writers. Father Giertych provided spiritual direction for our Legatus pilgrimage to Poland in about 2003, and he has spoken at a Guest House educational conference. He now holds one of the most challenging jobs in the world: theologian for the papal household.
And then, of course, there’s the Beatification! An expected three and a half million people will congregate in Rome, where the Vatican has already begun installing large screens in the streets to broadcast the ceremony, for those who can’t get close to the action. Residing, as I am, just a short walk from St. Peter’s, I actually have a fairly good chance of seeing the ceremony itself! I’ll have to evaluate the situation: hours on my feet, no bathrooms, that sort of thing.
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has released another, long article about the Blogfest. Unfortunately, at this point it’s printed only in Italian—so I have no idea what they’re talking about. If they translate it, or if I find time to plug it in, line by line, to babelfish or some such translation program, then I’ll pass that news along to you. Otherwise, I will expect more details after Easter, as they promised in their original letter.
These are exciting times! I am greatly blessed.