Blending Faith and technology, Father Robert Ballecer created a Vatican Minecraft server he hopes will help others build relationships with one another.
Jesuit Father Robert R. Ballecer began his career as technology consultant and engineer in Silicon Valley before becoming a priest. What started with a simple tweet poll asking which server he should create in the Vatican for “gamers who want a little less ‘toxic’ and a bit more community” has now become a reality after over 1,000 people voiced their opinion.
Ballecer’s idea was to create an open Minecraft server, where players can enjoy a non-toxic environment to express their creativity and build relationships with one another that potentially translate to the real world.
“I wanted to offer one in particular that could be less toxic. You can invite people who want to be creative, who don’t want to be toxic, and you create an environment in which people can express themselves and build up a relationship. And the relationship thing is the most important part. That’s ultimately what I want to do with the server. It’s not about the technology. It’s not even really about the gaming, it’s about getting people together, who can then maybe move those relationships to the real world.”
Ballecer also hopes the server will help end the common misconception that Faith and an understanding of technology cannot coincide.
“At first, there were a lot of people who are very hesitant, because you see this guy in a collar, talking about the latest offerings from Google, or what how you run fiber optics across the Atlantic, and they didn’t understand this, they said, ‘Wait a minute, these two things don’t go together.’ But after time, people started realizing, ‘Okay, he knows what he’s talking about. He just happens to be a priest.’ And ultimately, that’s that was the ministry I was trying to do.”
The Vatican’s official Minecraft server is currently being tested and expanded by Ballecer before it goes into production. If you have If you have a Minecraft account and would like to join, point your client to minecraft.digitaljesuit.com to play.
Ok… I want to spin up a few servers in the Vatican for gamers who want a little less “toxic” and a bit more community.
What should be my first server?
— Fr. Robert R. Ballecer, SJ (@padresj) August 31, 2019