Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live life with a Franciscan focus.

08 October 2011

Of hiccups and hellspawn projectors 

Satan's ProjectorPooped doesn't even come close to describe how I feel after today. My Secular Franciscan fraternity held a Day of Recollection for the first time since 2004, and it was the first time I took part in coordinating such an event. I'm told it was a great day. But even though the thing ended hours ago, I'm still a limp rag from the can o' whupass that Murphy's Law opened on me.

THE PLAN.
  • 9:15 a.m.: Mass
  • 9:45 a.m.: Coffee, doughnuts, and socializin' (Hey, we're Franciscans. What did you expect?)
  • 10:15 a.m.: Start of the presentation in three sessions, broken up by breaks and lunch (noon), and ending with Vespers at 2:15 p.m.
THE REALITY.

Hiccup The First: One of our sisters -- let's call her Sister Sacristan -- is a parishioner and sacristan at the parish where we held the event. We don't normally hold our gatherings there, but were able to reserve the chapel and social hall thanks to her. In her role as sacristan, she was in charge of preparing the chapel for Mass. But, she was initially locked out of the sacristy.

Hiccup The Second: Yesterday, I remembered that hey, it'd be helpful if we had our nametags at the event, especially since we'd opened it up to other Secular Franciscans outside our fraternity. I called our fraternity's secretary and left a voicemail asking if he could bring 'em. When he arrived, I asked about the nametags. Oh, yeah, he'd seen that he had voicemail yesterday, but ... didn't listen to the messages. So, no nametags.

Hiccup The Third: In the promotional flyer that I designed 'n' distributed for this shindig, I goofed and mistyped the parish's street address. (!!) Nobody caught the typo, even after repeated rounds of proofreading. Thankfully, everyone managed to get there just fine, and even early, but still. Our spiritual assistant had a bit of a freak-out worrying over whether or not our speaker would find his way there. (He did. And he didn't even notice the typo.)

Hiccup The Fourth: While our speaker, an OFM Conv. friar priest, brought his own laptop and projector, he only brought one extension cord. He needed two. Oh, Sister Sacristan! Can you help us find another power cord? Thank God, she did.

Hiccup The Fifth: As we were setting up Father's A/V equipment and encountering technical problems (more on that in a sec) the following conversation ensued:

Father: "Well, hey, we might as well tell folks they can start eating breakfast while we're wrestling with this stuff."
Me: "Um, we can't eat now because we're having Mass in a few minutes."
Father: "Oh, we're having Mass? Who's saying Mass?"
Me: ::panicked:: "You are, Father."
Father: ::blank stare:: "Me?" ::lightbulb:: "Oh! Right! I forgot all about that! I didn't bring any vestments. Do they have vestments that I can use?" (Oh, Sister Sacristan!! Yes, they had tons of vestments and he looked smashing.)
We decided to leave off fiddling with the pokey equipment and prepare for Mass. At this point, my sense of time curled up into the fetal position and began sucking its thumb. So, I don't remember if we started Mass on time or not. I think we did. Don't quote me on that.

Hiccup The Sixth: After Mass, we resumed wrestling with Father's hellspawn A/V equipment while everyone else happily nommed doughnuts. No matter what we tried, we couldn't get the projector to display Father's presentation. We checked, rechecked, called another friar priest in Las Vegas who Father thought could help, and checked again the connections, the laptop display settings ... everything.

Finally, I and the only other tech-savvy person in the room (it wasn't Father) could only conclude that the projector, which dated back to the Pleistocene era, was just too old to work with Father's laptop. (He'd never tried to use the two together before.) This meant Father either had to: a) give his talk sans projected slides behind him (he did NOT like that option), or b) we had to magically conjure up another projector.

Oh, Sister Sacristan!! We know when we asked you before Mass if there was a projector here that we could use, you said the only one was locked up in the school. Is there ANYone here who could let us into the school?

Well, normally nobody associated with the school was there on Saturday, but she went to look in the parking lot on the off chance that ... Hey! There's the principal's car! Out she went.

After a few minutes, Sister Sacristan returned with the school principal, who was carrying ... a projector!!

We hurriedly connected it to the laptop, held our collective breath, and ... it worked! A cheer arose from our coffee-swilling brothers and sisters, and I bear-hugged the principal. (I'm praying tonight's Rosary for her -- and Sister Sacristan's -- intentions, I'll have ya know.)

At last, around 10:45 (30 minutes late), we Finally Began The $%^@! Presentation. Thanks to Father's condensing and fast-talking in spots -- and us ditching all breaks save lunch -- we managed to end at 2:15 as originally planned. Woohoo! So, all we had left was to pray Vespers ...

Hiccup De Grâce: Remember the flyer I mentioned earlier? In there, it clearly said, "Bring your copy of the Liturgy of the Hours". Our spiritual assistant got up to lead Vespers and asked, "So, did you all remember to bring your breviaries?"

Everyone: ::blink, blink:: "No, we didn't know we were supposed to bring our breviaries."
Me: (Thinking) Son of a ... ! We frickin' SPELLED THAT OUT IN THE DAMN FLYERS!!
Spiritual Assistant: "Well, we did say to bring your breviaries in the flyers, but no matter, we'll just pray something else."
So we prayed an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, after which Father blessed and dismissed us.

Amen.

- - - - -
Postscript: At The Very End, I thanked folks for bringing stuff for the potluck lunch, and reminded everyone to take home whatever they'd brought ... yeah, I think you can fill in the rest at this point. Anyone need a half-used case of bottled water?

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