All posts tagged: inculturation

“That All May Be One”: Cultural Unity in Shared Parishes

The Catholic Church of the United States has always been diverse. Ever since the conception of this country people from many different lands and cultures have come here to begin a new life. America became known as the breeding ground for an encounter of cultures because never before in human history had so many different people come into contact with each other in one country. Certainly, this diversity spread into the Catholic Church. The Church, too, became the grounds of cultural encounter, and it was the work of the Church that helped these encounters take place. We find ourselves in no different of a situation today in our country. With the influx of Latinos all throughout the U.S., parishes once again are the places of interaction between two cultures and the Church will have to wrestle with how to allow this interaction to happen. The following is my attempt to offer some suggestions to help think about how Latinos and Anglos can better interact together and form a better unity in the U.S. Church, a …

The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Season of Advent

For several Christian people throughout the world, especially Mexican and Mexican-American Christians, December 12, of course, is the celebration of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. The feast commemorates her December 9–12, 1531 appearances to St. Juan Diego, the Náhuatl-Aztec who had recently converted to Christianity, whose own tilma or cloak bore—and continues to bear—the miraculous imprint of her image from when “the desert rejoiced and blossomed” (Is 35:1) at Mt. Tepeyac with Castillian roses blooming in December: the image of the Brown Virgin (La Morenita), the indigenous mestiza clothed with the sun and wearing the cinta, the band of pregnancy, standing on the moon, head bowed and hands folded in prayer, and born aloft by an angel of the Lord. I would like to suggest that the Virgin of Guadalupe belongs in a particular way to our Advent preparations because, like Mary herself in her great New Testament hymn of God’s praise, the Magnificat, she proclaims to us the Gospel, the Good News of our salvation in Christ, the Good News of God who scatters the proud, exalts the lowly, …

Uninhabitable Land, Landless Peoples

To take a plane from Santiago de Chile to Cochabamba, Bolivia, you must touch down in northern Chile before changing for the next flight. The stops on this leg are rather isolated cities like Antofagasta, Iquique, and Arica. In these areas the view of an unadulterated cordillera, or mountain range, is sublime and haunting. Leaving Arica at Chile’s northernmost tip, for example, one gazes at a speck of an airport and nothing else. The burnt sand of the Atacama desert with its infinite and perpetually changing hues has very few roads, homes, or city lights. It is no wonder that the best astronomical observatories in the world can also be found in this region. The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda configured the vastness of the desert in northern Chile as the infernal counterpart (“an empty theater,” “an eternal night”) to the fecund sea just outside his seaside perch (known as La Serena) in the coastal resort of Valparaiso.[1] This is not poetic license. It feels that empty! Bolivia, my destination on this trip, offered relief but …