We had such a lovely Pentecost celebration at St Romero's. Rachael really made the day with her flaming peaches at coffee hour! Real tongues of fire! We celebrated part of the Mass in Spanish, in preparation for our first Mass in the migrant camps this Thursday. A man came in during the service who needed our help. At the kiss of peace he told us what was going on with him, and at the end of Mass we gave him a blessing. After Mass, Rachael and Linda helped him find some new clothes, and we all had scrambled eggs (that Linda made) and sausage (that Louie brought and made) and big slabs of pineapple that made me think of El Salvador. He looked a lot better by the time he left, and really I think it was the community, at least as much as the clothes and food, that fed him. I thought of something one of the guests at the Corpus Christi supper program said, many years ago --"If you all stopped serving food, we'd still come. We'd come for the love."
We're living in an age of amazing things, including the ability to communicate across distances, to build relationships via computer. Saturday night when I finished making my "cheat sheet" for saying Mass in Spanish, I sent it off to Olga, a woman priest in Columbia --- whom I have never met, but who helps translate the bulletin into Spanish each week [as does Mary Wilkins] and then posts it on her blog! --- and pretty soon she had sent it back to me with corrections. Isn't that wonderful? I have found myself instant messaging with a friend in El Salvador while having a facebook conversation with someone from my hometown I never expected to see again. Our church is even made possible in part by the internet --- over a hundred people get the English bulletin, another half dozen get it in Spanish, and it doesn't cost us anything. It really is amazing. (And even the translation starts out on the internet!)
So in this age of wondrous forms of communication it is more important than ever to remember to interact one-on-one, to build relationships of caring and trust. You can't touch a person through the internet, can't hold their hand. Tonight in the hospital I sat at the bedside of a woman who could talk but not hear. All the comfort I could offer was with my eyes, and holding her hand. And it was enough. You can't do that in cyberspace. I was called to the bedside of a Spanish-speaking man (imagine being in the hospital and not understanding what is being said around you) - and held his hands and prayed --- again --- there is a lot of wonderful stuff you can do with computers, but nothing replaces the human touch. Nothing replaces being able to look into someone's eyes, to laugh and cry together.
This Thursday we'll be going west of the city to offer that human touch, and leap over language barriers, and hopefully make some new friends. Please pray for us! Life feels rather barren out there. I pray that our Masses might be water in the desert, a source of life.
Sending love to our sister churches, Mary Magdalene and Spiritus Christi - MM celebrated two years on Pentecost, and Spiritus is twelve years old! How great God is, and what a wonderful journey we have been on in this last decade plus two!!
Blessings and love to all, Chava
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620