Saturday, January 13, 2007


Clifton Diocese has some new posters to welcome Poles to the Diocese, alongside their new Polish Directory. I think it's a brilliant initiative. In the parish I was in most recently, we used to get large numbers of parishioners from Poland and other countries in the former Eastern block who spoke little or no English. How do we welcome them? I was very struck by one man who asked me to teach him how to say "Praised be Jesus and for ever!" in English. He'd learnt the German equivalent when he was working in Germany. I actually did the same thing when I had a couple of months placement in a couple of parishes in Kenya. I'd learnt enough Swahili to have a very basic conversation, but learning "Tumsifu Yesu Kristu, milele ne milele!" brought a different dimension. We could communicate the the joy and excitement we had in our shared faith.

The thing I always find frustrating when I'm going to Mass overseas is not understanding the readings (unless I've brought my missal) and homily. I discovered that the Vienna International Religious Centre provide the Sunday readings in a variety of different languages on their website and made these available in the parish, where they were used by quite a number of people. I've since been to one or two other parishes which do the same thing. Do you have any other ideas?


Mac McLernon said...

Ooh... let's be controversial. How about we all stick to one universal language... like Latin?

Gildas said...

When my grandfather first came to England, he didn't speak any English so he asked someone for directions to Paddington Station in Latin. Astonishingly, it worked.

Today, alas, it probably wouldn't. I was in the last year at my school that was given the opportunity to take Latin for GCSE.