Sometimes, we experience miracles – and when we do, they should simply be enjoyed and embraced, rather than questioned. That was the message conveyed by Father Timothy R. Scully, a professor of political science and Kellogg Institute faculty fellow at the University of Notre Dame, during the course of an intimate mass to which he invited me at the hotel in Sao Paulo where I have been staying during my trip here. The mass was in itself a truly meaningful and magical experience for an Italian-American who grew up adoring Notre Dame and, especially, its football team.
My running into Rev. Scully again on this particular visit, in fact, was a minor miracle in itself. I first met him three years ago on a trip to Buenos Aires, and now here I was encountering him again in Sao Paulo, which we just happened to be visiting at the same time, and being given the opportunity to attend this private mass with the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame, whose members had accompanied him.
So I couldn’t help feeling a bit more “blessed” than usual. And the sense that perhaps this particular trip might have some kind of preordained purpose (as presumptuous as that might sound) was amplified that evening when I found myself — quite unexpectedly — at the dinner table with Julio Vasconcellos, the former head of Facebook’s Brazilian operations who last year founded Peixe Urbano, the GroupOn of Brazil (which already has over eight million registered users), and the creators of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and the “Dirt is Good” marketing campaign for Brazil’s Omo Detergent.
Whether these chance encounters might bear fruit at some future time, I won’t even venture a guess. But what I can say is that having a day filled with such magical moments and auspicious meetings has infused my visit here with a renewed sense of mission and purpose — and gotten me refocused on the prospect of launching new and exciting global initiatives. In that sense, its effect on me was nothing short of miraculous.