Thursday, March 21, 2013

A big tent, indeed

By John Andrews
Director, Department of Communications

At the spirited, standing-room-only Mass in honor of our new Pope Francis Tuesday night, Bishop Barnes asked those in attendance to recite the Our Father in the language of their choice.

The collective sound was indecipherable – a glorious garble that reflected the diversity of the diocese and of our Mother Church.

The election of Pope Francis sure seems to have invigorated us. We see it in the news coverage of the first days of his papacy. We are feeling it in the faith communities of the diocese, and it was apparent in the spirit of Tuesday’s Mass.

If you listened to the excited conversations among the people, the Holy Father seems to have something for everyone. Many are drawn to his humility, the way he asked for a blessing from the crowd at St. Peter’s Square before giving them one. Others like his renewed emphasis on living modestly and serving the poor, you know, really living Jesus’s call to us in Matthew’s well known Gospel (25). It cannot be missed that the Hispanic people of our diocese are feeling great affirmation and pride in the election of a pope who shares their cultural identity.

I think it goes even beyond that. At the Mass there were Tongan Catholics, Filipino Catholics, Vietnamese Catholics, Korean Catholics, African Catholics, African-American Catholics, Chamorro Catholics, Indonesian Catholics, Mexican and Latin American Catholics as well as those, like myself, who are of European descent. We all brought our own language, dress, song and movement to the Mass. We were so visibly different from one another yet we were still one.

In his homily, Bishop Barnes acknowledged the tensions that we sometimes experience here over our differences while hoping that Francis, the embodiment of so many firsts, can bring us back to what we share. “Sometimes we feel that division even amongst ourselves and we need someone to remind us who we are as a church to bring us to that unity and that respect for each other,” he said.

It certainly appeared that gaps were being bridged Tuesday. As I was preparing to depart I caught a glimpse of Father Ed Molumby in his preferred cultural attire (priest collar and black Stetson hat) engaged in a warm conversation with an Indonesian layman in regal peci (hat) and sash. Old school meets new world. A local reporter who covers the diocese and I have talked recently about the divergent opinions among Catholics on various social issues, borne out in recent national surveys. “You guys are a big tent,” he says. Can’t argue with him but I would say that’s true in more than one sense. We are a tent of many cultures that are equally passionate about the Catholic faith and ready to walk the path that Pope Francis will set for us. Let us walk together.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage dialogue in the spirit of Christian fellowship, however any offensive, hostile or messages that go beyond the scope of the blog topic will be censored.

Alentamos el diálogo en un espíritu de compañerismo cristiano, sin embargo, cualquier ofensiva, hostil o mensajes que van más del tema del blog será censurado.