Dr. Paul Barker | Good Counsel President
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
It's a small world.
Who hasn't heard that expression? We are surprised when we find an unexpected link with someone or discover a shared acquaintance or location. Acknowledging the smallness of our world expresses some level of shared identity. It feels good. And it's not new. The world was small long before the Facebook, LinkedIn and the like were around as constant reminders of how few levels of separation there are with people across the globe.
I write less than 48 hours after returning from a trip to see my parents in New Zealand. I attended Easter Sunday Mass at the parish church I grew up in, Sts. Peter and Paul in Lower Hutt. The church structure has been modified in recent years, strengthened in response to earthquake activity (three tremors during my visit), but in most respects it is the same church where I was an altar server almost 50 years ago.
I had an "it's a small world" moment. In 1968, the parish population was relatively homogenous, white families of European descent – the Irish, Poles, Dutch, Italians, and so on. Almost half a century on, as I looked around I could have imagined myself 10,000 miles away back in Maryland with my fellow parishioners at St. John the Baptist on New Hampshire Avenue. The Church has changed in Lower Hutt, just as it has in Silver Spring. In both settings, today's community looks like the world, with families descended from Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Europe.
The powerful sense of the catholicity of today's Catholic Church was further emphasized by a celebrant from India assisted by a deacon from the Philippines, elements of Samoan culture in the vestments, and Maori culture in the sacred vessels. The priest used the long Eucharistic Prayer, the one that includes a litany of saints and martyrs. Easter 2017 offered a deeply satisfying sense of belonging to a community of believers, having a shared faith heritage, and coming together on the biggest feast day of the Church year to celebrate the mystery and triumph of the Resurrection.
This Easter season my wish is that we might all have more "moments" that lead to a deeper appreciation of the threads we each contribute to form the beautiful tapestry of the community of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School.
It's a small world. It's a universal Church. Hallelujah!