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Saturday, August 04, 2007


It was raining rocks yesterday evening! Well... hailstones, to be exact. :-) But I didn't know it at that time because they were tiny and came down with the rain. It was the first major rainfall after so many months.

Meanwhile, I am preparing myself today for the Sunday's Mass celebration as I shall be the main celebrant and also giving the homily - and all this in Italian! I am in the midst of cracking my head with the translation of my English homily I done up the night before to the Italian version so that it won't sound totally gibberish to the congregation later.

As I reflect on this I am brought to consider a dilemma I am facing - nothing major, but a thought that nibbles at the back of my mind. As a priest celebrating any Mass, doing this in one's own language and culture is certainly an experience that is personal and for the congregation an engaging experience. You can just feel for what is going on and get in touch accordingly with the moment that is at hand - within the settings of the liturgical celebration, of course.

Since arriving here and still struggling with the language, this setting has become a little alien to follow and its flavour strangely abstract. Every morning, when we take turns to celebrate/concelebrate the liturgy, which is all in Italian, the whole celebration becomes somewhat remote and mechanical for me. I do make a point to be with the whole celebration, but whenever I say those prayers in Italian, I can't help but feel very mechanical about it all... :-P My brother priests may be going through that phase too. Most, if not all, of our Masses, are done in a manner that seems to want to get it over with it all. They and I have not acquired the expertise and intricacies of the language yet, to appreciate fully what we are always reminded to experience in a celebration such as this. *sigh*


Anonymous said...

Hi Fr Aloysius
DOn;t worry too much about the language ... you will get by as days pass... when I was a postulant in Rome, I too was going thru what you are going thru ... waitinf to get over my prayers and even recreation. Now in the Philippines; the same thing happens.... part of life... praying for you .... at least you have something to offer to Jesus .....
Sr Claire

Petey said...

Wow... it never occured to me how it would feel like celebrating Mass in a language foreign to you. I've always enjoyed attending Mass in a different language... (yes, even Mandarin) but I'm only beginning to realise how different it is to celebrate Mass.

Hang in there, Father... =)

Fr Luke Fong said...

Hey Aloy! Been there, done that and ... C R A S H E D! But the first three months in Terni aren't really that bad. Just try the Sunday Mass at the Italian Cemetary just round the corner from the GS Hypermarket. I had to do that one last year. Gave me the heebeejeebies. Not because it was at the Cemetary Chapel, but I was the ONLY Chinese there and the entire congregation was Italian, and parlano niente Inglese. Oh! The very thought still gives me the shudders.

You have a different set of teachers from the ones I had. But is Roberta the dragon lady of Villa Spirito Santo still there, with the ever-smoking Daniella?

Hand in there - just about two months to go.


Con preghiere

Unknown said...

Si, Luca, loro sono sempre ancora qui! But they have been ever so kind to us this time round! :-D

Yup, the teachers are different from yours this year too!

Thanks for your concern and will hang in there! What else is there to do, anyway? :-P

As for the rest, thank you all for your sympathies. Will continue to pray for each other! :-)

Lawrence Lew OP said...

Perhaps that's why the Latin rite used to use a universal language, rather than a vernacular?

Unknown said...

Latin - that is another complicated matter altogether... :-)


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