Pope Francis And The Blessing of Character Driven Success

How ATX Event Systems Was Directly Blessed by Pope Francis

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Pope Francis stands on a praying platform on the banks of the Rio Grande in Juarez, Mexico. (AP Photo)

On February 17, 2016, thousands of people from El Paso, as well as other parts of the U.S., took a short walk between two countries for an outdoor Mass with 200,000 other Christians. It was the capstone in a visit to Mexico by Francis, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, whose leadership represents an unbroken line dating back to one of the original 12 Apostles, Saint Peter.

To begin the Mass, Pope Francis strode up a specially built platform next to the Rio Grande, which separates the two countries. He made the sign of the cross and blessed a group of about 500 people, including immigrants and refugees, a few yards away on the U.S. side. They cheered enthusiastically when they saw the pope. Many of the immigrants wore t-shirts with pictures of Francis and held religious figurines in their hands.

What these 200,000 attendees did not know, was that 24 hours earlier, the whole thing might not have happened.

The day before the Mass was to begin, rehearsals were being conducted on the U.S. side of the border in the Sun Bowl. At that point, the field was thronged by a 140-person drum line called the Mattachines, who were in the midst of their fourth rehearsal of the day. That’s when we (ATX Event Systems, the producers of the event) suddenly were informed our technicians were halted at the Mexican border. Apparently, their credentials had not arrived from the Mexican media. That was right when someone came up with a great idea – let’s have a simultaneous webcast of the event!

Wha…? Sure, no problem.

No technicians, a simulcast on the web (remember, we are miles from home and this was not planned, so there is no equipment on site) and oh yeah,

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Lumbergh from Office Space

“Guys, the choir is here and there are now 100 singers, we need to do a sound check, okay? And the Associated Press and International Press Corps are really unhappy about the media pit and want a new location. And before I forget, you know that pre-approved site for your broadcast truck? Yeah, that’s no good anymore, so we’re going to need you to move that truck to a new location, okay? Greaaaaaaaat…..”

It was like Lumbergh stepped right out of Office Space to do a number on us.

No way around it, it was time to kick into gear. And it’s a good thing it’s us because that is what we do – respond! We secure our credentials at the border, re-set the broadcast truck for the security team, re-aim the microwaves and satellites, and drop a fiber-optic video system onto the next flight to El Paso. The event goes off without a hitch.

What made it all worthwhile was when Pope Francis blessed our company – twice!

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200,000 Christians gather for Mass with Pope Francis .

Live events can be stressful, especially if you don’t have a reliable, responsive, and seasoned technical production team supporting every step that’s taken. When the chips are down, you need a mobile, agile team with a global footprint to help you anytime, anywhere in the world.

It doesn’t hurt if your team relishes a complex project and considers every crisis an opportunity to demonstrate their character. If you’re looking for a team who lives under the banner of “character driven success,” look no further than ATX Event Systems in Austin, Texas. We can’t wait to hear from you.