Ethiopian Coptic Mass
Today we had a rare treat. An Ethiopian priest from London joined the two Ethiopian Capuchin Friars studying here at the Franciscan International Study Centre to celebrate a Eucharist according to the Coptic Rite. This, I found out, is one of the oldest rites in the Catholic Church. It is very inclusive in the sense that everyone plays a part; priests and laity. The proper celebration is led by two priests and deacon who chant the entire liturgy back and forth with each other and the congregation. While I got lost trying to follow the sequence, since it was in a foreign language, I did find it very soothing to listen to the cadence of the music, smell the heavy incense, and look at the vestments and gestures of the service. Once again, I am impressed with the intercultural aspects of this place of learning.
I have completed my first week of a three week course. I am teaching two hours per day; five days a week. The class is developing very nicely. They seem to want to learn that material and are putting effort into the course. This make for a very enjoyable classroom.
Last evening we had a staff dinner to thank those teaching and working at the Centre this year. I just happened to be here at the right time. I figure that I am reliving the Gospel story about the workers hired at various times of the day. I arrived late, but got to celebrate the appreciation meal right along with those who have labored all year. (Of course, I am offering a full term of classes within the three weeks that I am here.)
The weather report is calling for more rain this weekend, but I do hope to find enough sun so that I can get into Canterbury and take some pictures. Sunday I am to go out with one of the Sisters on staff to see the coast. I'll let you know how that turns out next week.
By the way, I did not take any pictures of the Eucharist today out of respect for the Liturgy. I would have felt rude intruding as though it were a spectacle.