During my last years at the Collège des Jésuites de Québec, I had a small job. I was the
receptionist for a few hours a week, in the evenings or during the weekends, at
a time when you had to go through the reception desk to get access to a Jesuit
or a school extension: $1.25/hour, minimum wage. I liked this small salary but
above all the “status” of “collaborator” of the college and the Jesuit community.
And I think I can say that I was aware of being a “first impression” of the
institution for those who called or came to the door. Without having the degree
of holiness of St. Alphonsus - without the holiness that would have allowed me
to see Christ himself in everyone! - I was performing an essential service,
which I believe had a role in preparing me to enter the Society of Jesus, a
role in my vocation.
Alphonsus Rodríguez, quite humbly and without always
being aware of it, helped many people who came to him at the door of the
there, at the door, available... this job of the porter that I have been
meditating on these last few days, made me reflect on the administrative
choices that have been made for years to replace the porters with “computerized
systems.” It also made me think about Andrea and Nicolò, the receptionists at
the Curia. Sometimes I wondered whether it was reasonable, from the point of
view of financial profitability, to pay these men for many hours, without them
having any other task than to welcome visitors. And I chose to pray for them and
their families because they represent a form of gratuity, openness, simplicity
in welcoming, virtues that today’s feast intends to highlight.