Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Tri- or Quad-Lingual Mass?

Of course, today is the beginning of the holiest days of the year when the priesthood and Eucharist are instituted and we are given the great mandate to care for one another. The Passion of Jesus begins at the Supper of Deliverance. When he changes the rituals, the events of the Passion begin in earnest.

This entire week I've cautioned people about feeding into the drama that affects their lives. We are best not to react to it because the chaotic spirits swirl around and raise our anxieties. If we respond with patience because we know the events of the week will pass, the drama will pass us over. Some have received this wisdom well. All in all, I've had a great week filled with many consolations as I remained steady for others.

Tonight, I had mild concern for the Tri-Lingual mass at St. Patrick's parish. I ask parishioners questions about the events as I'm new to the parish and I seldom get a response. I find out in the immediacy of the moment.

As I was getting ready for mass, I noticed just how beautiful St. Patrick's church is. It is set in the center of Dudley Square, Roxbury, which is known for being a residential area for minority communities. This status may change in a few years as new developments are encroaching upon the old-time way of life, but many are happy with the influx of beauty to the newly created parks. The church is old, but quite stunning. It was the first time I saw it at night with the lights dimly illuminating the building. Most of the time, i haven't noticed the surroundings because I'm worried about what to pronounce next.

Tonight was trilingual. The longtime pastor is approaching eighty and his priest-in-residence is a blind African-American. The Cape Verdean community has a well-supplied stuff. Several sisters were around and then there is the Spanish community. It is quite a composition.

I had concerns for my ability to speak Spanish correctly, but I pronounced the words with greater fluency. It felt like the Spirit was giving me the grace to preach rather than to read. However, I have no idea if the stuff I write makes any sense to them.

We begin the mass, my favorite of the year, in Latin. Latin. Many of the responses were in Latin because that is the great unifier of the languages. Then, we heard Cape Verdean Portuguese, followed by Spanish, then English, with occasional Latin hymns and responses. It worked! It turned out to be fairly prayerful and it was easy to sing all songs in the different languages. The service that I was most worried about is complete. My fear was that I would have to say something impromptu.

Tomorrow we gather in Roxbury at 1:00 p.m. and I will lead the Stations of the Cross through the town and the Veneration Service follows immediately afterward. Saturday night I baptize and confirm four. Easter Sunday ought to be a breeze. I'm being stretched. I hope it is all for God's Greater Glory.

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