|Blessing by Bishop John Kudrick, 4/14/2014|
(I'm bowing on the left!!)
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts (aka a Byzantine communion service the same length as Divine Liturgy) celebrated by the Eparch of Parma, Bishop John Kudrick. The event was particularly noteworthy because it’s been a couple of years since the Bishop has visited the Byzantine Catholic Mission of St. Louis. While I’ve attended Divine Liturgy on and off since college, Friday evening was the first time I’ve met an Eastern Rite bishop and the first Pre-Sanctified Liturgy I’ve ever experienced (the sub-text being that I was lost more often than I care to admit!). The evening got me thinking about an idea I’d heard earlier this week.
|Rev. Anthony Gittins, CSSp|
Rev. Anthony Gittins, CSSp gave the ICN a thought provoking presentation on intercultural living and discipleship. One of the ideas he raised was the differences between being multicultural and intercultural. Multiculturalism can be defined as living among people and blending or tolerating differences, but maintaining a clear distinction between one’s own culture and the “other” culture. Living in this way allows one to enter and exit the “other” culture at one’s own control, always remaining in the liminal space. Intercultural living is a way of intentional living where all participants learn and respect the cultures of the “other,” then together, form a new culture.
|April Fools blowing bubbles, 4/01/2014|
This paradigm is a fantastic tool to examine community living. As our year progresses, I am learning more about my expectations for community life and the qualities of a community in which I want to be living. A blessing of the Collaborative Novitiate is that we are all forced to live interculturally from the beginning. We come with our own cultural context (ethnic, familial and congregational) and build a community from the ground up. I look back on this year and think of the common experiences we’ve shared (at ICN, house meetings and retreats), the long road trips we’ve taken (to Kentucky, Springfield, and New Orleans), the new lingo we created, and the practical jokes we played on one other (April Fool’s Day included a very pink bathroom, sisters whose names are actually road signs on 55 South, mismatching silverware and LOTS of bubbles). We have created our own distinct culture - different from the CDN in years past or years to come. We were not assimilated into a larger, preexisting culture. We belong to the cultures from which we came and the new culture which we created.
| (from http://ruthannereid.com/iamawriter/wp-content/|
This poses new discernment questions as we think of ourselves in a larger context. How will we practice intercultural living when we return to our home congregations? How can we move from being multicultural to intercultural disciples in our ministries and regional communities? How can we help the Church to become more intercultural, reaching out to those who feel like “the other”? What is God inviting us to do as we face these questions?