Classes have begun and interculturalism still impresses me
After being out of the classroom for three years serving as the Vocation Director for the Province, it feels good to be back to teaching. The class is bigger than I expected from the initial roster. There are five taking the class "for mark" (for credit), and six auditing; for a total of eleven. Not only is the class composed of men and women of faith who really want to learn, it is a very intercultural group with a wide age span. There are four Temporarily Professed friars: two for Lithuania, one from England, and one from South Africa. There is one lay woman from Germany and the rest are Sisters: two from Nigeria, one from the Philippines, two from Kenya, and one from Korea. And each person brings his/her personal and professional experiences as well as cultural identity. What rich variety for a Moral Theology class! I expect some good conversations.
I cannot remember ever living is such a diverse setting. Yesterday at the Sunday Eucharist, which included many besides the students and staff of the centre, we very comfortably incorporated African music and dance into our worship. The entire congregation, including the non-centre folks, joined in as though we were singing a more traditional hymn. Even the group of concelebrants represented a mixture of Franciscans, Capuchins, Conventuals, and Diocesan priests from four continents.
My prayer last evening centered on the richness of both the Franciscan movement and the universal Church. What a blessing we Catholics have in belonging to a truly universal Church. And what a blessing to be a Franciscan within that Church. The Body of Christ has many, many varying parts, as does Franciscanism. These are things that I already knew, I guess, but now I am experiencing them much more concretely. I feel very blessed by this opportunity.
To anyone thinking of joining us Franciscans, I can assure you that you will be joining a richly diverse and culturally dynamic community.