Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey preparations

As I write this, it’s late at night and, as with many of my colleagues at Vatican Radio and many others “up the road”, life at the moment feels as though it has one main focus: the Pope’s trip to Turkey tomorrow.

The amount of preparation for a papal visit is amazing, and I’m just speaking on the part of Vatican Radio. There are so many little details to be considered, whether it is those who will accompany the Holy Father and send their reports back to us, or those who will stay behind in order to literally “keep the show on the road”.

There seem to be non-stop meetings in various parts of the building and even just in the office which I share with four others, there is a great deal of comparing notes. Linda will have the programme on Friday and so, as well as the latest report on the day, wants to look at Catholic-Orthodox liturgy. My programme will be on Wednesday, the day that the Pope goes to Ephesus, so my interest includes a look at the reason why Ephesus has been so important to the whole history of Christianity and ecumenism. Veronica is preparing a feature about the previous papal visits to Ephesus. Carol keeps control of all the bits of paper we and the rest of the English Programme are generating as the hours tick by.

Tomorrow’s schedule for me is already prioritised. At the end of the day, the Pope will be addressing the Diplomatic Corps in Ankara, so there is the background material to prepare for the radio and television commentary I’ll be doing. It’s to go out across the world via satellite, Internet and ISDN, so that in itself calls for an extra dimension of care if the commentary is to be equally relevant for every Continent, whether the audience is following events by radio or television. In preparation, “someone” has produced a little booklet, with every event for the whole week timed down to the last minute, with a good deal of background information (all in Italian!) and all the readings for each of the religious ceremonies that will take place.

As I commented to someone earlier on this evening, because Vatican Radio has so much involvement with all that the Pope does, it’s amazing just how personal it all becomes. It’s so important for all of us that every single detail of his visit to Turkey, as with any other event, takes place as perfectly and as meaningfully as possible.

No doubt we’ll hear the Holy Father set off for the airport tomorrow. I haven’t a clue whether he’ll be travelling by car or by helicopter, but in true Italian fashion, there will be the maximum amount of sound accompanying the short trip. Bon voyage! Come back safe and sound on Friday. May God be with you, bless you and keep you during the next few days and may you touch many hearts. Our prayers go with you.

God bless,
Sr. Janet