Saturday, June 27, 2015

Experiencing the universal nature of the Church

by Autumn Reagor 
While this is my first international travel experience, I am no stranger to stateside trips. I love going to new parts of the country and exploring the local cuisine, customs and Catholic churches. Yes, I just admitted to being a Church fan girl.

A beautiful element of being Catholic is the universal nature of the mass; no matter where I go there will be the same readings and the familiar structure honed during the past 2,000 years. I love the tradition, whether it’s a grandiose church nestled between skyscrapers in Chicago, a cathedral overlooking Puget Sound in Seattle, or my own special parish back home.

My Cagli apartment is a stone’s throw from the duomo. I can see it from my bedroom window each night before bed, and I walk past it at least three times a day. Stepping inside for the first time is breathtaking. Even in a small town, the Italians have created a building meant to showcase the wonder of our Creator.

Because my Italian is rough (and I’m being generous in that description), I knew I wouldn’t understand many of the words at my first Cagli mass. From the beginning bars of the first hymn to the closing prayer, I likely picked up 1% of what was said. But my heart and spirit understood 100% the message.

I celebrated my second Cagli mass this morning. Aided by a helpful bulletin with the readings and responses spelled out, I understood even more of the words. The first mass was incredible, but the second was even more moving as I could more fully participate in it. And that’s the underlying theme for my Cagli time so far – it’s an amazing experience that gets sweeter with each meaningful interaction.