Shaddup Already!


Ritual, terminology and weird observations--not necessarily in that order

So today was my oldest nephew's first communion. It took place at a very lovely church that I hadn't stepped foot in since my youngest nephew's baptism five years ago.

Imagine my surprise when I saw who was presiding over the ceremony.

Seriously, the resemblance was uncanny. Not so much the way he looked, but definitely the way he sounded. So much so that when I mentioned it to my sister after the mass, she burst out laughing and told her husband, who also laughed and agreed totally with me.

So as I was sitting there listening to Father Hitchcock and stifling my giggles, something else struck me as awfully funny. The kids all had to stand when their names were called and answer with "Here I am, Lord," offering themselves to Jesus for the first formal time since their baptisms.

So I'm listening to this and thinking, "this is like a huge game of Marco Polo." I had to promptly bite my lip and make sure, as the representative heathen, I didn't embarass my family.

I used to want to be Catholic. I was raised Presbyterian, but my step-grandmother is a devout Catholic. I was enthralled by all the ceremony surrounding the mass. I was struck with this today.

A Catholic mass really is a well-choreographed dance. It is not unlike the ceremonies of many Pagan belief systems. Not to mention that the church, stained glass, pipe organ and priest robes are just beautiful. But I did become bored within the first 10 minutes of the mass. So I started wondering what people were thinking and how they feel their beliefs. I really got to thinking about the altar boy with the pierced ears, brow and lip.

I've been doing a civil rights unit with my students since I took back over for my intern. I've spent a lot of time and energy making sure my kids know how far we've come as a country. I think that's why the racial slur of early last week disturbed me so much. No, she's not a student of mine, but she is on my team and certainly knows what is going on to some degree.

Anyway, we were discussing school integration when my 7th period class started asking questions:

S: Why do we say black and white? Why don't we say caucasian and African American?

Me: Well, it's easier to say black and white. Personally, as a white person, I would prefer to be called white because caucasian sounds. . .it just sounds. . .

D: like rice

Me: You know, it really does, but I was going to say it sounded to snobbish to me. But sounding like rice is a good reason to not want to use it.

I shall never look at the word caucasian the same again.

Help end world hunger