Friday, June 14, 2013

An Average Day

Morning Mass was a bit of a surprise today. Only two Comboni Sisters showed up for Mass so I decided to do as much of it in Italian as possible because they don't understand English well. Halfway through, a Spaniard came into Mass. He was a pleasant chap. He just arrived for an art and architecture tour of the Holy Lands of Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel with colleagues from Columbia University. Every day of his trip is planned with holy Mass.

Afterwards, I had a marriage preparation class for two men who are getting married next month. Not to each other, mind you, but their fiances are in different countries. One of them travelled to Iraq last month to find a bride; the other man's family arranged (on this third attempt) for a bride for him. Though I was skeptical of having pre-Cana classes without the whole couple, these men took it very seriously and participated very well. They did their homework.

I then went to say Mass out in the parish since Friday is the weekend. We treat Friday Masses as Sundays. I just learned that Ascension Thursday is celebrated in Amman.

We did a baptism in Mass. It worked out very well all and was beautiful. The little girl fell asleep right after the pouring of water and the anointing.

However, I scolded the godparents. I have previously met with them to give instruction and most Filipinos say, "yes, Father" to every question. They have an unusual custom of having umpteen or 43 godparents, but I tell them I only want one each. If everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. So, I select one from each gender, that is, male and female. After giving instruction to them, not a single Godparent came up to receive communion. I immediately went down to them and told them I was disappointed in the example they were setting for the young child. And of course, they responded, "yes, Father."

So, then I had lunch with the Arabic-speaking priest. He was asked just last night to say Mass for the Migrant Worker's Day, but the Filipino hosts had nothing prepared for him. He was perplexed by their lack of organization. Their response, "Yes, Father, bring whatever you need." Oi!

I was very pleased that this priest wants to partake of the music education series that I am offering as part of the parish. He wants deacons trained to chant and he wants his choir to understand music fundamentals.

I attended the Migrant Worker's Day activities and I was delighted to see so many people having a great time. They were watching a talent shop put on by the leaders of the group. Some of the skits truly represented more of the Philippine culture. (More on that sometime later.)

I went to the apartment where the choir meets for lunch to say goodbye to a long-time parishioner. She has been in Amman for 12 years. I could not get in the door though. I shouted and blew my whistle, but there was so much noise in the apartment that they could not hear me.

I returned to my office, collected a box of sweets that I delivered to some neighbors. They are the parents of the young man who is getting married in Iraq in three weeks. They speak no English, I no Arabic, but they heard me singing on the street with my barber. We sang a Syrian love-of-country song over the weekend and he remembered it. So, I went upstairs to visit this family and we sang more songs. It was a very pleasant time. When I left the apartment, the barber began to sing with me again. Passersby smiled, turned to listen to us, and were entertained. I think I am gaining a reputation. I can't talk, but music makes people laugh.

Then I came home to reduce my email queue. I'm returning to the States for a brief visit in mid-July so I'm beginning to make some arrangements. Just an average day.


  1. It may be just an average day for you but you make it sound very exciting to some of us. You may not know the language but you are a great communicator. God bless.

  2. What a lovely, happy post!
    The singing priest with the great smile. This sounds wonderful.
    Thank you for bringing songs and joy in my day :-)

    1. Thanks, Claire. Off to Mass then chorus rehearsal.

  3. Would love to read more about your experiences with Filipino parishioners. The many godparents didn't surprise me.
    Singing is just the best experience, isn't it.

    1. I will discreetly do that, Roselli. I want to be sensitive to their confidentiality issues, but I'm sure I can find a way.