The multiculturalism of our country is often distained. How sad, given the richness it brings to cities, churches and other establishments. If we could open our eyes and hearts a little more, we’d realize how one-dimensional and stagnant our society would be without the variety of cultures as well as the art, music, history and beauty that each one brings.
I recently celebrated with the diocese of Springfield in Illinois the faith and fellowship of their Hispanic Catholic community. Beginning with a spirited Mass in Spanish, the afternoon continued with a procession of the Rosary and Marian songs which led all to the place of fiesta. Hundreds of beautifully costumed young and old people came together as families to rejoice in who they are as Mexican Americans, Honduran Americans, Peruvian Americans, etc. There was mariachi music—of course!–great food (including tamales in cornhusks, my favorite), singing and dancing. We Religious men and women who were present introduced ourselves (“me llamo Elisa”) and our community charisms, then delighted in getting to know some of the people.
It’s good to take off our own shoes sometimes and “walk in the shoes” of another, to try to communicate in another language and listen to the stories of those whose experience is so different from our own. We really only come to know ourselves when we are confronted with the differences in others. The diversity in our created world, in our church and country, is a richness to be discovered. It’s really a discovery of the family fiesta to which we all belong!