Monday, April 20, 2015

A Day of Smiles

Mass yesterday seemed very relaxed for everyone. I have found a way to engage more with the people by planning beforehand. Rather than be taken aback by words I don't quite understand, I write out what I would like to say to them before I get to mass. I feel like I am allowing the fullness of my priestly style to take effect.

As mass began, I welcome visitors to the service and then I asked people to greet one another. They were so happy to do so. Then I told them I bought some language programs to help me with the language and they erupted into applause. I also brought some goodies for the end of mass.

People just seemed happy. Even the guys who seemed distant because I was learning the language fast enough were very social with me. Even the church was decorated in Pentecost furnishings. The Franciscans who reside in the parish suggested to me that they take over the Spanish masses since they are fluent, but both I am the people are reluctant to make a change because we are fond of one another. They certainly would be better homilies if the Franciscans took it over, but I think they are enjoying the spirit of the parish right now. These Franciscans try to live as Francis did - no bed, no shoes (sandals are OK), and very strict adherence to church catechism.

After mass I was told that I had to baptize two children. Surprise! As I did that, one of the church leaders said, "Father, you are the only priest who speaks only in Spanish. Some people here do not know Spanish. Can you insert some English into the homily and baptism?" What a great gift he gave me. I can be free to translate what I mean. It allows me to relax and simply pray at mass.

When I baptized the two young girls, I doused them with the holy water and oils. A couple gasped and then laughed. Then everyone laughed. They said, "Father John likes to get people wet. Remember the sprinkling at Easter?" They laughed more.

So, we laughed and smiled and all was well.

No comments:

Post a Comment