Continuing my informal series on transcultural Catholicism, this morning I attended my first Polish Mass, with a buddy from back home who was in town, Matt. We pried our eyelids open in time to make it to the 9:30AM at St. Mary of the Angels, in the Bucktown neighborhood, real close to where Dean lives. As usual, it was a nourishing experience. As always, it was a blunt demand for me to shift my focus away from myself. I finally rationalized part of why I enjoy doing this sort of thing: participating in the Mass in another language or within another culture forces me to pay closer attention to what's going on, and what's really happening. I may never have heard these words in Polish before, but if I've habitualized the ritual, I can join in worship with such diverse human beings. I can learn to sort our common ground from our unique paths.
I spent basically all weekend with Dean, Matt, and five of Matt's classmates from a Ph.D. program at Washington University: (spellings will be off) Dave from St. Louis, Kaitlin from South Carolina, Nayak from India, Jake from Serbia, and Alex from China. The foreign guys had never really been anywhere in the U.S. besides St. Louis, and Nayak had never seen snow. :) They all camped out at Dean's place, and I think a good time was had by all. Talk about diversity!
Last week I took Thursday off and spent the night before and that day in Valparaiso at Don's apartment with Joe-John and Theresa. We ate, slept, and breathed Lord of the Rings for 24 hours. We, uh, played a LOTR movies trivia pursuit game both evenings, and, uh, watched the extended versions of all three movies... back to back to back, during the day Thursday. :-o It didn't help that the game came with a replica of the One Ring of Power for me to stroke lovingly and call it "my precious" for the entire day...
(PS- The definition in this post title is the primary definition that dictionary.com provides. I guess, to some extent, I could consider myself liberal after all!)