Thursday, December 27, 2012

Foreigners in America

Foreigners in America

America is a nation of immigrants and legal immigration is welcome by all.  New immigrants to the USA are asked to assimilate and become part of the American experience, the great American melting pot.

Not all who are fortunate to immigrate to the USA fully embrace the assimilation aspect.  A few attempt to convert Americans to resemble the hovels they slid out of.

The Roman Catholic Church I belong to has a congregation of about 3,000 people, many of whom are immigrants to the USA.  They come from Mexico, Africa, Asia, and two with an Italian heritage (that’s me kids). 

A few years ago the church announced they will hold classes to teach people how to speak Spanish (the church is in Texas).  When I questioned when they will hold classes to teach English to those who do not speak English, I was looked at as if I was from Mars. 

Confessions (reconciliation) is held weekly, however twice a year a huge confession service is held with about 8 to 16 priest in attendance.  This is done before Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.  I along with fellow members of the Knights of Columbus volunteer to usher and keep the crowds and lines orderly.  One year two ladies from Africa come to the front of the line.  One lady points to the other lady stating she needed to be in front of the line because she only spoke French.  Huh? Whether she was first in line or last her language abilities or lack of had no relevance.  However because of the French only they felt she deserved special consideration.  Nonsense.   

During on such reconciliation service a person from Vietnam to complain about the crosses embedded on the ground in the floor tiles.  These are used as markers for the Eucharistic ministers where to stand during the distribution of the Holy Eucharist and wine.  His objection was when they stand on the cross it offends his sensibilities.  He stated that “in my country” (Vietnam) the communist for force people to stomp on the cross or face severe retribution.

I reminded the Vietnamese gentleman we were not in Vietnam and we do not harbor such sensibilities suggesting perhaps the horrors he faced in Vietnam be left there so he can enjoy his new life in America.

Weekday morning church services are not held in the main sanctuary but in a smaller chapel to the side of the main church.  Before weekday services those of us who help set up before mass engage in conversation.  Once mass begins the conversations end.  After once service while I was in the parking lot talking with friends a man who emigrated from Nigeria approached me.  He started with “In my country we do not talk at all in church.”  Once again I had to remind him we are not in his country and in the USA, especially in Texas we engag friendly dialog before mass and are quiet during the service. 

Link to Texas Daddy store:

1 comment:

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