A Stranger in His Own Land

We found Fr. Bruce in his parish in Stratford, CN. After the afternoon mass we all went out for dinner. That?s Fr. Bruce in the center and Fr. Lou, a neighboring parish priest, at the right.

More musings from a ?stranger in his own land.?? Sometimes I feel like an anthropologist recording unusual customs in a foreign land, just as I did when I first came to the islands many years ago.

……………

America has become the land of hand sanitizers, the bottles that squirt the moisture used to wipe hands and avoid spreading germs. They?re found everywhere.? I come across them in hospitals at every turn in the corridors, sometimes in supermarkets, and even in church.? We have one on the small table back of the altar in our parish.? The eucharistic ministers who come up to distribute the hosts and the cup always apply some before they give out communion. (I myself haven?t take up the custom yet).? It reminds me of the time a few years ago that I knocked on the door of a man who had promised to give us old photos of the islands for copying.? The door opened a crack and an arm was extended holding the box of slides, as a voice declared that he had a cold and didn?t want any of us to catch it. I reached in, took the slides and made off for our next destination without ever seeing his face.? I appreciated the concern… but really!

……………

A week ago I attended an ecumenical service at a Jewish synagogue in Oceanside.? Many of the Jews wore the yarmulke, that little skullcap used at services by the orthodox.? There were one or two men dressed in saffron robes?monks, I presume.? We Catholic priests came in our clerical shirts and collars.? But we weren?t the only ones.? The Lutheran minister who gave the sermon that evening was also decked out very much like us?but the minister was a woman.? A Japanese woman, in fact, who had come to the US to take up her ministry 20 years ago.? There was another minister (also female) who turned up in clerical shirt and collar, but we Jesuit males still won the clerical tally, 3-2.

Got Something to Say? Go For It!

About the author

Francis X. Hezel, SJ
Francis X. Hezel, SJ

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, is a Jesuit priest who has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963. At different times he has served as high school teacher, school administrator, pastor, and regional superior to the Jesuits of Micronesia. He spent thirty years directing the Micronesian Seminar, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Pohnpei, Micronesia. He has written and spoken widely about social change and its impact on island societies. He has also written several books on Micronesian history, including The First Taint of Civilization, Strangers in Their Own Land, and The New Shape of Old Island Cultures. His most recent book, Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture, is available through University of Hawaii Press.

Copyright © 2014. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.