You’re continually reminded of the wider world living in the nation’s Capitol — and probably any big city, for that matter.
There are all the languages and manners of dress on the subway and busses, of course. My favorite so far was a beautifull all-white dress and head wrapping that a woman at church yesterday was wearing in the pew in front of me. Just beautiful.
The past two Sundays I stopped at different Seven Elevens to pick up the Washington Post. At each place there were lots of Spanish-speaking guys hanging around both inside and outside the store. One guy looked like he came straight from a ranch, with a dressy cowboy shirt and hat. I guessed that they were day laborers waiting around in hopes of being picked up for a job. I learned later that I was partly correct, but that you could also find “anything and everything” there and they’re spots to stay away from as a Franciscan priest had been robbed and roughed up pretty badly at one of the stores. (I changed my bus route to get home from a meeting tonight; I would have had to walk through that area after dark and realized it would be better to avoid that.)
When I go to Mass, there are people of all hues and langauges in the pews, which makes a wonderful tapestry of our global church. The parish I went to today, Our Lady of Sorrows in Takoma Park, has a long list of weekend Masses to accommodate all the language groups: English, Spanish, Haitian and Ghanian. St. Camillus, the favorite of progressive Catholics in the area, has a multicultural Mass each Sunday that features prayers and songs in several languages. Both parishes have a variety of services to the community, including English-language classes and legal service for immigrants.
I hope to get more involved in this multicultural world, with a Spanish-speaking club I found on line that meets a couple of times a month for conversation and maybe some volunteering with immigrants and/or refugees. I also learned that some of the embassies have cultural programs open to the public, to promote their languges and arts to Americans.